Commentary

V1.235 Direct applicability/effect of EU legislation

Part V1 General principles and rates of tax

V1.235 Direct applicability/effect of EU legislation

V1.235 Direct applicability/effect of EU legislation

Community legislation1, depending on the form which it takes, may or may not be “directly applicable”. If it is not directly applicable, it may nevertheless have “direct effect”. The meaning of these terms is discussed below. These concepts are given statutory authority in the UK by European Communities Act 1972 s 2(1), which provides that—

“All such rights, powers, liabilities, obligations and restrictions from time to time created or arising by or under the Treaties, and all such remedies and procedures from time to time provided for by or under the Treaties, as in accordance with the Treaties are without further enactment to be given legal effect or used in the UK shall be recognised and available in law, and be enforced, allowed and followed accordingly ….”

Direct applicability

Article 2882 of the EU Treaty states that a regulation “shall be … directly applicable in all Member States”. This means that the rights and obligations arising from a regulation form part of the legal systems of member states without being re-enacted by national legislatures. In general terms, European legislation relating to VAT generally takes the form of directives; since these are not directly applicable3, national legislation4 must be enacted to give them effect. A provision5, however, allows the Council, acting unanimously on a proposal from the Commission, to adopt measures necessary to implement Directive 2006/112/EC.

Insofar as it is relevant, and unless a contrary intention appears, EU legislation for the time being having effect in relation to

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