Ministerial powers to implement EU directives [Archived]
Produced in partnership with Adam Cygan of University of Leicester

The following Public Law practice note produced in partnership with Adam Cygan of University of Leicester provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Ministerial powers to implement EU directives [Archived]
  • The use of statutory instruments to implement subordinate legislation
  • The powers under ECA 1972, s 2
  • Duty to inform parliament of amendments to Acts
  • Procedures for the making of statutory instruments
  • Parliamentary control of EU implementing legislation
  • The scrutiny of secondary legislation
  • Consequences of a failure to implement directives

Ministerial powers to implement EU directives [Archived]

ARCHIVED: This Practice Note has been archived and is not maintained.

EU legislation which is not directly applicable (eg Directives and Decisions) can be enacted either by primary or secondary legislation in the UK. The vast majority of EU legislation is enacted by Statutory Instrument (SI) under section 2(2) of the European Communities Act 1972 (ECA 1972). This section confers authority on ministers, government departments or Her Majesty in Council to make, with certain exceptions contained in Schedule 2 of the Act, subordinate legislation.

Subordinate legislation made under this section can repeal or amend existing legislation if this is incompatible with EU law, including, subject to certain conditions, Acts of Parliament.

The use of statutory instruments to implement subordinate legislation

SIs implementing EU law are made under the powers in s1(1) and s 1(2) of the Statutory Instruments Act 1946 (SIA 1946).

In the context of the EU, where any such subordinate legislation includes provisions addressing technical standards then under Directive 83/189/EEC (as amended by Directive 88/182/EEC) any such technical regulations are required to be notified to the European Commission in draft and prior to formal enactment. This is to ensure that they are compatible with the provisions and objectives of the Directives that they are intended to implement.

The powers under ECA 1972, s 2

Directives only apply in those member states to which

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