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How are laws made in the UK

The predominant sources of law in the United Kingdom are:

· primary legislation, known as Acts of Parliament, which begin life as drafts called Bills;

· secondary or delegated legislation, such as statutory instruments, bye-laws, and professional regulations.

A new Act is passed in order to:

· update or amend existing legislation;

· legislate for new circumstances and enforce government policies;

· ensure UK compliance with International or European Union (EU) Law;

· consolidate laws by bringing together into one statute all the existing statutes on one topic;

· codify rules by bringing together all the case law and statutes on a particular subject where the principles are established.

Parliament can enact any law it chooses or repeal obsolete laws which are no longer relevant, and the courts must enforce it. The exception to this is EU law.



Sources of English Law

1 Case Law 2 Statute 3 European Union
Common Law Equity Primary Secondary Primary Secondary
- Based on strict legal rights - Based on fairness - Acts of Parliament - Delegated legislation: Statutory instruments (e.g. regulations or orders in council) and bye-laws (Local Authorities) - The Treaties - Regulations  
- Applies automatically - Discretionary       - Directives
  - Equity is a supplement to the common law and prevails if there is a conflict       - Decisions


2. Speaking Look through the chart and say what institutions there are in the EU.

3. Read the text carefully and report on the bodies and their legislation

European Union Law

The EU
Institutions:   Legislation:
Council of Ministers Made up of ministers from member states responsive for the adoption of legislation     Formulate and legislate → Treaties: Treaty of Rome Regulations: Directly applicable. Binding and enforceable from time of their creation  
The Commission Made up of Commissioners from member states. They prepare legislation.   Directives: Not directly applicable. Set out aims for member states to achieve by national law within a specified period.
The European Parliament Made up of elected members from member states. Primarily a debating and advisory body   Decisions: On operation of European law and policies. Binding only on the recipients
European Court of Justice The final authority on European law   Judgments: Rulings and interpretation on points of EU law. Final appeal court where European issues are resolved.


4. Home assignment. Study the following information. Make reports on Case Law, Equity and Statute.

Case Law

Common Law


1. (a) Pre-Roman conquest: no unified legal system. Justice dispensed in local courts.

(b) Post-Norman conquest: the king’s judges sent on circuit to resolve civil and criminal disputes in local courts.

(c) The law applied an amalgam of indigenous, largely Anglo-Saxon and Norman, law.

(d) Development of principles that rules of law laid down by a judge should be followed by other judges sitting in like cases.


2. (a) The writ system.

(b) Inadequate remedies.

(c) Failure to recognize rights arising under trusts.


3. (a) Judge-made, i.e. not created by parliament.

(b) Common to the nation, i.e. not of merely local application.

(c) A case law system which may distinguished from equity.




1. (a) Developed as a response to the defects in the common law.

(b) Dissatisfied litigants petitioned the king.

(c) In time, king delegated responsibility to the Lord Chancellor.

(d) Successive Chancellors developed a system of Chancery courts parallel to the common law court to dispense equity.

(e) Initially cases in equity decided on broad principles of fairness. By the 15th century cases decided according to precedent.


2. (a) Created new remedies, e.g. injunction and specific performance.

(b) No writ system.

(c) Recognised trusts.

Relationship to the common law

3. (a) A gloss or supplement to the law.

(b) Earl of Oxford’s case 1615 – if law and equity conflict, equity was to prevail.

(c) The Judicature Acts 1973-75:

(i) fused the administration of law and equity

(ii) abolished the old Court of Chancery

(iii) set up the High Court in its modern form

(iv) confirmed the Earle of Oxford case.


4. (a) ‘He who comes to equity come with clean hands.’

(b) ‘Equity is equality.’

(c) ‘Equity does not suffer a wrong to be without a remedy.’


Date: 2015-01-29; view: 1341

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