‘It seems likely that plans to create a Constitution

‘It seems likely that plans to make a Fundamental law for the European Union have failed. This is good intelligence, since a formal Fundamental law would hold taken us closer than of all time to going portion of a European Super-State and to the concluding loss of the UK ‘s staying autonomous powers ‘ . Using primary and secondary beginning stuff, critically measure the above statement.

The Treaty Establishing a Fundamental law for Europe was developed on the footing that the European Union ( “EU” ) required ‘a re-foundation and renovation’ . The Treaty was signed on 29 October 2004 by the Heads of State or Government of the 25 Member States together with the 3 campaigner states [ 1 ] , following its consentaneous acceptance by them on 18 June of the same twelvemonth [ 2 ] . However, the Treaty can non come into force until it has been adopted, or ‘ratified’ , by each of the signer states by their ain constitutional processs.

It was planned that the Treaty, one time ratified, would come into force on 1st November 2006. However, France and the Netherlands rejected the text of the proposed Constitution, on 29 May and 1 June severally and, as a consequence, the day of the month planned was considered indefensible. A “period of contemplation, account and discussion” is said to be under manner in all states, whether or non they have ratified the proposed Constitution [ 3 ] .

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The UK already has a fundamental law ; this may be described as “unwritten or uncodified, as opposed to written or codified” ; and “flexible, as opposed to rigid” [ 4 ] . The sovereignty of parliament is an indispensable component of the UK’s fundamental law ; but its rank of the EU, and the debut of the Human Rights Act 1998, placed the rule of sovereignty under argument and examination. It is argued that the debut of a Fundamental law for Europe farther alters the UK’s current constitutional agreements [ 5 ] .

The UK has already, in some respects, limited its sovereignty by presenting the European Communities Act 1972 ( “ECA1972” ) , which gives authorization to the establishments of the EU ; and in peculiar to the European Court of Justice ( “ECJ” ) which asserts the power to exert judicial reappraisal over UK jurisprudence [ 6 ] . Where the tribunals find that a UK jurisprudence is inconsistent with the EC Treaties, the tribunals must either try to interpret the legislative act to give consequence to community jurisprudence [ 7 ] , or suspend the application of the legislative act ( although this does non really impact the cogency of the statute law ; it confers a power on the relevant curate to amend it by remedial order ) and use the commissariats of EC Law, even if this means curtailing the power of the Crown in order to forestall a person’s rights being breached, in making so [ 8 ] . The exclusion to this is if Parliament should of all time abrogate such rights and duties deliberately and expressly [ 9 ] .

However, since the philosophy of domination allows Parliament to revoke any act they choose, the UK’s rank of the EU and its determination to render to the Torahs and control of the Union is besides, arguably, repealable ; and in that respect the philosophy remains integral. Further, the deputation of a limited sum of power to the Union is non a negative thing: it has been argued that instead than doing the UK ‘less sovereign’ , the remotion of nucleus countries of ‘high political relations ‘ from the provinces ‘ sole sphere of legal power additions their capacity to execute their primary maps as suppliers of protection and public assistance maximisers [ 10 ] . The inquiry of relevancy is, so, to what extent the proposed Constitution would change the current state of affairs ; of note, there is no expressed reference in the proposed Fundamental law of how the national sovereignty of Member States is affected.

It is estimated that the EU already makes over 60 % of the Torahs of the UK [ 11 ] and it is necessary to see, to what extent this per centum would increase under the Constitution, and who would hold the power to increase it. There are two point of views on this: one is that since the UK has already, by pick, accepted the EU as a jurisprudence shaper, the proposed fundamental law simply “codifies the position quo, catching the legislative world up with the de facto political reality” [ 12 ] . In fact, in some respects, because certain rules such as “ subordinateness ” and “ proportionality ” could be enshrined into the proposed Fundamental law, this may in fact lead to the scaling back of the authorization of European jurisprudence, as these rules are elevated from what is soon merely an occasional trial of whether a Union jurisprudence violates them [ 13 ] . The alternate position is that the proposed Constitution gives excessively much power to a ‘super state’ Europe ; and the construct of a ace province flickers frights that, for illustration, “dozens of British Torahs could be scrapped by unelected European judges’” and “thousands of bogus refuge searchers [ will be ] given the green visible radiation to come in Britain [ 14 ] .

Under the proposed commissariats of Articles 1-10, the proposed Constitution and jurisprudence adopted by the Union ‘s Institutions in exerting competencies conferred on it, would hold primacy over the jurisprudence of the Member States, and those States would necessitate to take “ all appropriate steps, general or peculiar ” [ 15 ] to guarantee that the duties fluxing from the Constitution are fulfilled. This gives the Constitution both legal authorization and primacy [ 16 ] ; arguably in struggle with the UK rule of parliamentary sovereignty, which says that the UK Parliament has absolute sovereignty, in that it is supreme to all other establishments [ 17 ] .

The proposed Fundamental law does, nevertheless, make it clear that ‘competences non conferred upon the Union in the Constitution remain with the Member States’ [ 18 ] . This suggests that the Union may merely pass in the countries that Member States have given them competency in ; a place non dissimilar to the present state of affairs under the ECA1972. However, other commissariats are more equivocal – for illustration, that in countries which do non fall within its sole competency, the Union can move where “ the aims of the intended action can non be sufficiently achieved by the member provinces but can instead… be better achieved at Union degree. ” [ 19 ] This obscure statement suggests that the Union might pass, even if it has non been given power to make so by Member States, and it is ill-defined from the Constitution precisely who would do this determination. This can be contrasted with the present state of affairs: although the European Court has asserted a power of Kompetenz-Kompetenz ( intending that they have authorization to make up one’s mind where the boundary lines of EU authorization terminal ) , no national high tribunal has accepted this place. The proposed fundamental law could specify clearer divisions of competency, giving both the ECJ and national tribunals a papers that clearly states whether a given power lies within one or the other sphere [ 20 ] . Clearly this is an advantage, if the bounds of such power can be agreed on, and there is a reasonable expression for finding if and how the power can be expanded in such a manner as to keep the sovereignty of single provinces so that powers are merely conferred by Member States’ authorization.

The powers given to the Union by the proposed Fundamental law in its present signifier are excessively broad and far-reaching. It is positive that those commissariats have non been accepted by all Member States at this clip as, in their present province, they do propose that what might be achieved is a “European Super-State” which encroaches to a far greater extent than the present system under the ECA1972 on the UK’s sovereignty. However, there are clearly benefits that could result from the debut of a fundamental law for Europe and, with some redrafting, the commissariats could in fact reinforce the rules of sovereignty by restricting the Union’s power, restricting how that power can be expanded, and guaranting that rules such as “ subordinateness ” and “ proportionality ” are given more than a ephemeral consideration.


  • Alter, K J ( 26 November 2003 ) , Select Committee on European Union Memoranda, available online at hypertext transfer protocol: //www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld200304/ldselect/ldeucom/47/47we02.htm
  • Nathan birnbaums, S ( 12 May 2006 ) Tiping the balance New Law Journal 156 NLJ 787
  • Cash, B ( 8 October 2003 ) The European Constitution A Political Timebomb, available online at hypertext transfer protocol: //www.europeanfoundation.org/docs/euconpam.pdf
  • Europa Website: hypertext transfer protocol: //europa.eu/constitution/referendum_en.htm
  • Hill and Redman ‘s Law of Landlord and Tenant, Division A General Law: Chapter 16 Value added revenue enhancement B The European Dimension 2 The philosophies of domination, direct consequence and indirect consequence, HR A [ 10087 ] – HR A [ 10106 ] ( accessed via LexisNexis )
  • Kostakopoulou & lt ; D ( 1 March 2002 ) Floating Sovereignty: A Pathology or a Necessary Means of State Evolution? Oxford Journal of Legal Studies OJLS 2002 22 ( 135 )
  • LexisNexis Butterworths: www.lexisnexis.com/uk/legal
  • LexisNexis Executive: hypertext transfer protocol: //web.lexis-nexis.com/executive/
  • MacCallum, V ( 19 October 2000 ) Press Round-Up, Law Society Gazette LS Gaz, 19 Oct, 10
  • McEldowney, J ( 2003 ) Select Committee on Constitution Ninth Report, University of Warwick ( available online at hypertext transfer protocol: //www.parliament.the-stationery-office.co.uk/pa/ld200203/ldselect/ldconst/168/16809.htm # note92 )
  • Treaty Establishing a Fundamental law for Europe – available online at hypertext transfer protocol: //news.bbc.co.uk/1/shared/bsp/hi/pdfs/09_01_05_constitution.pdf
  • Universidad De Zaragoza – The European Union fundamental law hypertext transfer protocol: //www.unizar.es/euroconstitucion/Treaties/Treaty_Const.htm

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