It would seem that studying EU law is becoming less and less of a priority nowadays, what with rumors of UK being on the brink of retreat from the Union, Greece considering doing the same and the power play between the newly elected Eurosceptic MEPs and the “old guard” members in the European Parliament. For those who are struggling to comprehend the manifold aspects of EU law, the thought of it disappearing from law syllabus might seem positive.
There aren’t many experts, including law students, that have a complete understanding of EU law. The fact that it is so much different from the UKs own laws and systems is definitely not helping.
But let’s put the aforementioned concerns to rest first. The UK is more likely to retain its terms or choose to renegotiate its membership status. Greece has proven that it can be stabilized and there is no solution but the EU and the new Eurosceptics make up only 1/3 of the European parliament, which isn’t enough to block on a systematic basis new regulation. With these points in mind, law students will have no option but to hit the books on a subject that has been widely developed since the 1970s.
EU law isn’t a one-off assignment that you complete in a week. There’s lots of reading to do and many long-word terms to memorize. But as EU law continues to develop, studying it is becoming an increasingly high priority seeing how EU law influences a broad spectrum of current UK laws, in both the public and private sector.
One point to keep in mind is that domestic law has few if any common ground with EU law, regardless if it’s about tax or social welfare. If you plan on being a purely domestic law lawyer then you can sigh in relief — EU law won’t do much to improve your chosen profession.
Law students often don’t put in enough study time when it comes to understanding the general working of EU court systems. This results in confusion and a looser grasp on knowledge down the road. Spend some time and get to know all the institutions and how they function. Getting to the practical core of the subject will prove beneficial in the long run. Learn how the division of power works, how decisions are made and how a case is handled.
A common misunderstanding of law students is that individuals bring their case directly before European courts. The truth is that there are more suitable venues to do so and it is through a national court.
If you’re an aspiring lawyer, the EU should be looked as an opportunity, not as extra baggage that you won’t use. Look at it from a business perspective. The EU is one of the biggest world powers with a population of around 500 million people, exports of €268 billion and a 4.2 million jobs for the UK alone. This leads to tremendous opportunities and limiting yourself to only one country can be a downfall later on.
The power play of the EU member states that range from economic policies to political and social values are the perfect platform for debate. EU lawyers have a wide range of hot topics to choose from such as privacy, security and justice that involve re-conciliating policies on crime, asylum and immigration and raises human rights issues.
As technology keeps developing and empowering people to become more mobile, having the skills to handle European legislation is important.
UK law firms have a huge benefit as they work with a system that allows its lawyers to work in other member states on relatively easy terms. If you’re seeking to work abroad and gain more experience, you can apply at a law firm that temporary or permanent positions in branches across EU member states.
Hopefully, you can now see the advantages of studying EU law. So if that EU law exam seems like a nuisance at the moment, think about a future where having knowledge of EU law empowers you.