European law, or EU law, comprises of a complex set of laws which governs the European Community, which consists of 28 members. It is unique in the way it works, which is alongside the individual laws of its member states. However, the EU law can overrule each nation’s law if a dispute between the two arises.
Created to ensure fair treatment across Europe, there are approximately 500 million people who are subject to EU law. Trading is the main aspect that the EU wants to govern, in order to help protect the economy and society across Europe.
European law is structured around three pillar laws. The first is the law which concerns economic and social rights. The second concerns the EU’s foreign and security policies, and the third concerns justice and home affairs. The first pillar is generally called EC law, whilst the other two pillars are called EU law.
There are various different organisations and associations which are responsible for different areas of the law. European law is based on several key principles, including subsidiarity, proportionality, the principle of conferral and the precautionary principle. It is also based on the free movement of goods, services, labour and capital between members.
European law is generally divided into three types – treaties (primary legislation), institutional acts (secondary legislation) and case law. Procedures in EU law include Co-decision procedure, Assent procedure and Consultation procedure.