By: Victoria L
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For the moment the UK is a member of the European Union, European law has become more important as we are part of that union. This will all change once Brexit is here, and the laws will have to be rewritten as we will no longer be part of the EU. At the moment If UK law says one thing and European law says another, European law takes priority. For example, the Working Time Regulations under the European Working Time Directive sets out the rules about how long an employee can be expected to work during the average working week. When the Directive first came into effect, the UK was allowed to opt-out of implementing the rules for a while for certain workers. It has now had to fall into line with the other European Union countries.
Businesses in the UK often complain about the red tape imposed on them by Europe, but the UK Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) have the chance to debate new legislation before it becomes law. It’s up to the UK Government to interpret that legislation and put it into practice.
The European Commission comes up with the new laws. The European Parliament consists of all the Members in the European Parliament and advises on those proposals. The Council of Ministers represents all the governments of the 25 member countries and has the final say on what becomes law. The European Courts of Justice interpret the law in the same way that UK judges interpret UK laws.
Europe can pass a range of different laws. Regulations have to be followed to the letter by all member countries. Directives have to be achieved, but it’s up to each country how they’re implemented. The decisions of the Courts of Justice affect how the law is put into practice.