Warning: nobody knows how many UK laws are 'European'

Warning: nobody knows how many UK laws are 'European'

What percentage of UK laws come from Europe?

Now there's a question that has challenged the biggest legal brains. Surprisingly, it is almost impossible to answer.

Counting laws is like grabbing a pile of sand on a beach. As you count each grain (good luck with that), hundreds and thousands of grains slowly escape through your fingers.

We don’t, for example, know how many criminal offences there are in the UK. As we reported in this blog in November 2013, estimates of the amounts of offences vary between about 7,000 offences to well over 10,000 offences.

So if we are struggling to work out how many UK laws there are in a particular area–the criminal law–what hope do we have to work out how much of UK law is from Europe?

Not much, if truth be told–at least as far as a specific figure is concerned.

But this does matter. The EU is at the centre of the political debate and arguably that debate cannot be properly informed if people do not understand what the impact of EU law is.

It is clear that, whatever figures are quoted, they are highly politicised.

Both Viviane Reding (europhile–European C

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