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Introduction to EU Law & the European Legal Order

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Presentation on theme: "Introduction to EU Law & the European Legal Order"— Presentation transcript:

1 Introduction to EU Law & the European Legal Order
EU Law & Homelessness Lewisham Homelessness Forum Training 5th February 2014 Rebecca Collins, Project Manager

2 Topics We Will Cover Europe: an overview European Legal Order EU Law
Who does EU law apply to? Enforcement of EU rights

3 1. Europe: An Overview

4 EU Institutions NOTE! The Council of Europe which governs the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) and upholds the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR) is SEPARATE to the European Union

5 Europe Explained European Union Council of Europe
European Economic Area (EEA) Eurozone Schengen Area European Fair Trade Agreement Euro Customs Union

6 Europe in a Diagram

7 European Union 28 Member States (year of entry)
Austria (1995) Hungary (2004) Slovenia (2004) Belgium (1952) Ireland (1973) Spain (1986) Bulgaria (2007) Italy (1952) Sweden (1995) Croatia (2013) Latvia (2004) United Kingdom (1973) Cyprus (2004) Lithuania (2004) Czech Republic (2004) Luxembourg (1952) Denmark (1973) Malta (2004) Estonia (2004) Netherlands (1952) Finland (1995) Poland (2004) France (1952) Portugal (1986) Germany (1952) Romania (2007) Greece (1981) Slovakia (2004) European Parliament – Legislative body consisting of directly elected MEPs European Council consists of heads of State or Government in each of the Member States and determines the general political direction and priorities of the EU European Commission – Drafts proposals for EU laws and manages implementation of EU policies Court of Justice – interprets EU law and settles disputes between EU governments, EU institutions and individuals.

8 2. The European Legal Order

The Sources of EU Law There is a hierarchy of law in the EU, when making a case you always want to cite the strongest sources of law. Here is an overview of the hierarchy: Note that EU law is supreme in domestic legal systems. In the UK, the European Communities Act 1972 established this. TREATIES REGULATIONS & DIRECTIVES CASELAW

10 The Lisbon Treaty At the top of the hierarchy of EU law there are three treaties (known together as the Lisbon Treaty): Treaty on European Union (TEU) – broad principles and institutional framework Treaty on the Functioning of the EU (TFEU or TOFU) – nuts and bolts of competence and lawmaking Charter of Fundamental Rights – contains rights and principles of a justiciable character (but there is a Protocol limiting this for the UK, currently at issue in litigation before the Court of Justice of the European Union)

11 Application of the Charter
Article 51 Scope 1. The provisions of this Charter are addressed to the institutions and bodies of the Union with due regard for the principle of subsidiarity and to the Member States only when they are implementing Union law. They shall therefore respect the rights, observe the principles and promote the application thereof in accordance with their respective powers. 2. This Charter does not establish any new power or task for the Community or the Union, or modify powers and tasks defined by the Treaties. This means that the Charter can only be used when the UK is applying existing European Union law. The Court of Justice recently took a very restrictive view on what this means. Case C-87/12 Ymerga, paras

12 Direct Effect of Treaty Articles
It is possible for Treaty articles to have direct effect, that is, to create legally binding obligations. The article must be clear, precise, unconditional, and capable of giving rights (Van Gend, C-23/62). Some key terms: Vertical direct effect: creates obligations on the states vis-à-vis individuals. Horizontal direct effect: creates obligations between individuals.

13 Do Directives Have Direct Effect?
A provision of a Directive can have direct effect if the provision is clear and precise, unconditional, and the deadline for implementation has passed. In that case, the Directive has direct effect vis-à-vis the Member State or an emanation of the Member State. For more about these, see Grad (C-9/70), Ratti (C-148/78), and Marshall (C-152/84). The important point is that direct effect is only vertical: you cannot rely on a Directive alone to enforce obligations against individuals.

14 3. Who does EU law apply to?

15 Who does EU law apply to?

16 Who Are EEA Nationals? Nationals of these countries:
Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland The UK is not included!* A8 countries are underlined A2 countries are hyphen-underlined *There are exceptions, but these are very specific and don’t apply in general circumstances

17 A8 & A2 Nationals A8 – Joined in 2004 Czech Republic Lithuania Poland
Estonia Slovakia Hungary Slovenia Latvia A2 – Joined in 2007 Romania Bulgaria

18 Basic Residence Rights
Any EEA national has the right to move to and reside in the UK for up to three months At the end of three months – in order to live here legally – EEA nationals must exercise “treaty rights” Includes part-time work (as little as 10 hours a week) EG. full-time or part-time work with a contract of employment WORKING Working for yourself (even part-time) EG. Starting your own cleaning business SELF-EMPLOYED Being so rich you don’t need to work EG. millionaires and their families SELF-SUFFICIENT Enrolled in full-time or part-time studies that require location in UK STUDYING TREATY RIGHTS After five years of legally living in the UK whilst exercising treaty rights (with some exceptions), EEA nationals can apply for permanent residence

19 4. Enforcing EU Law

20 Three Ways Litigation in UK Courts and Tribunals
References to the Court of Justice for the European Union Infringement proceedings

21 Litigation in UK Courts and Tribunals
EU law can be relied upon and enforced in domestic courts and tribunals. Rights under Treaties, Regulations and provisions of Directives with direct affect can be directly sought and applied. Directive provisions with indirect affect can be used to argue for an interpretation consistent with the Directive.

22 References to the CJEU Article 267 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union: The Court of Justice of the European Union shall have jurisdiction to give preliminary rulings concerning: (a) the interpretation of the Treaties; (b) the validity and interpretation of acts of the institutions, bodies, offices or agencies of the Union; Where such a question is raised before any court or tribunal of a Member State, that court or tribunal may, if it considers that a decision on the question is necessary to enable it to give judgment, request the Court to give a ruling thereon. Where any such question is raised in a case pending before a court or tribunal of a Member State against whose decisions there is no judicial remedy under national law, that court or tribunal shall bring the matter before the Court.

23 Process for a Reference
Referral can be requested by one of the parties in the case, however decision to refer remains with the Court or Tribunal (other than Court from which there is no appeal) CJEU only rules on the questions that are referred – the national court remains competent in the original cases. Decision of the CJEU is binding not only on the referring national court but on all national courts.

24 Infringement Proceedings
Article 258 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU: If the Commission considers that a Member State has failed to fulfil an obligation under the Treaties, it shall deliver a reasoned opinion on the matter after giving the State concerned the opportunity to submit its observations. If the State concerned does not comply with the opinion within the period laid down by the Commission, the latter may bring the matter before the Court of Justice of the European Union

25 Infringement Proceedings Process
Very long process Begins with a complaint to the European Commission. If Commission agrees with complaint, State given formal notice and opportunity to submit observations. European Commission gives a “reasoned opinion” If State fails to comply, may be brought before the CJEU

26 ? Any Questions?

27 EU Law Quiz What countries make up the A8 states?
How is the Council of Europe different from the EU? Can the Commission investigate the way Belarus implements law? What are the four ways you can exercise “treaty rights?” Name two differences between Regulations & Directives Which EU Institution investigates whether states infringed the rights of citizens by failing in their treaty obligations?

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