EU talkin’ to me?

Coming with all the disclaimers that my most recent piece came with ( this is simply an attempt to if not to eliminate, at least to mollify the angst of any students due to face the LLB EU Law exam this coming October 2018.

I have to say I didn’t find the subject at all easy; and from the relative lack of inactivity we saw on the Facebook page (in contrast to say the Equity and Trusts page) it seems that other students in my/our cohort also found engaging with the subject to a degree challenging. There is always (particularly in the shadow of Brexit) the ‘relevance’ argument, but I might suggest some other reasons. It definitely lacks the historical angle of many of the other common law modules, but is nonetheless (given its relative recency) vast, even giving Tort a good run for its money; and is very dense as regards case law.

I think in this light, whilst acknowledging that for any self-study student there is a grave danger of just getting lost in its bulkiness, it has to be said I think the examiners are practically bending over backwards to get us through this module; just what does that translate into in terms of useful advice.

i. though the ‘integration’ (essentially sovereignty) argument is where a great deal of the subject’s interest lies, it is not (other than when we consider Da costa and EU supremacy etc.) heavily emphasised in the exam. Topics such as the Commission’s legitimacy etc. seemed to have slipped somewhat to the back burner with an heavy emphasis on substantive law and the four freedoms; so if you’re pushed for time start your revision from Chapter 5 onwards.

ii. don’t whatever you do neglect the three following topics:

a. ‘direct effect’ – Van Gend en Loos etc.

b. supremacy (Da Costa etc.)

c. directives – the thorny topic of horizontal direct effect

iii. be sure to master the four freedoms… and of these I would suggest the free movement of ‘goods’ and ‘services/establishment’ reign supreme… capital being less frequently examined it would seem; if you have time Catherine Barnard’s  The Substantive Law of the EU: The Four Freedoms (ISBN – 10 0198749953) is very helpful in this endeavour.

iv. and last but not least; do not neglect a thorough understanding of  ‘justification’ and ‘proportionality’ (on this see Trailers [2009] and Scotch Whisky Association [2017])… this has been the modern emphasis within four freedom judgments… establish the relevant Article/s, consider if there is/is not a degree of ‘restriction’, look to see if the Member State can  justify said restriction, and ultimately can it be said to be a ‘proportional’ measure or should other potentially less restrictive measures be considered.

Happy Studies




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