European Law

(The Merchant Shipping Act 1988) went overboard because by some strange device the court said that Community law overrode it. That court (the European Court of Justice) does not have constitutional checks and balances to temper its power. What was tolerable in a few cases is not bearable on the scale it is happening now, and it will accelerate ….” – Baroness Thatcher, House of Lords Debates, June 1993.
Inter Alia, she also expressed her doubts regarding the competency and bona fides of the decisions taken by the ECJ. Her contention was that the ECJ pursues its single-minded objective of implementing a unitary European state without any respite or consideration for the interests of the member states1.
As an example, she cited the example of the overruling of the Merchant Shipping Act 1988, which was promulgated in order to restrain Spanish fishing vessels from appropriating a portion of the UK’s fishing quota under the common fisheries policy. Further, she stated that “That Act went overboard because by the same strange device the court said that Community law overrode it. Even though it was recent, we did not prevail. The court has also reinterpreted the derivative rights directive. It is busy reinterpreting so many things to give itself and the Community more powers at our expense2.”
Furthermore, she opined that the ECJ does not have any constitutional restrictions to control its power. The result has been that the ECJ is interfering with national laws in a major way. Further, the Maastricht Treaty has empowered in a major fashion.&nbsp.