“Conclusion. The withdrawal of the UK from the EU is a legal enterprise of unprecedented complexity, involving the exercise of legal powers under three legal systems. The Rule of Law, as a fundamental principle of liberal democracy, means that the legality of the exercise of those powers may be determined by the laws and the courts of those legal systems.”
The exceptional complexity of the legal aspects of UK withdrawal from the EU is due to the fact that it involves the interaction of three legal systems – international law, EU law and national law. The constitution of the EU is contained in treaties, taking effect under international law. EU law is made and administered by three classic organs of a constitution – legislative, executive and judicial. EU law is an external source of law integrated into the national legal systems of the member states. It can override national law in case of conflict.
It follows that the legal aspect of each stage of constructing a new legal relationship between the UK and the EU must be examined separately, in the light of law coming from the three interacting legal systems.
1. Conservative Party General Election Manifesto, May 2015, page 72
‘It will be a fundamental principle of a…
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