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  • Dr Dimitrios Giannoulopoulos

Europe In or Out? A legal perspective

'Britain in Europe' member David Rosen provides a general overview of matters before and after England and Wales became EU members. It is but a snippet, highlighting some of the areas of law which have in general, progressed well.

Once upon a time, we sued people in the High Court. The loser appealed to the Court of Appeal, and then the House of Lords, and the decision went nowhere further to be considered.

Our employment laws were in the dark ages; human rights were ambiguous on Judges’ sense of fair play, but fondly recalled in a document as the foundation stone of human rights: the Magna Carta. By the way, has anyone ever read the Magna Carta? It speaks of feudal lords having equal access to justice amongst other things…not the rights of all people from any walk or status in life.

Competition law, cartels, monopolies were regulated by quasi-Government bodies, but not ingrained in our laws necessarily.

Our understanding of British Standards for products and public safety, were limited.

Footballers could not transfer inter-country, and inter-club so easily.

Intellectual property (‘IP’) rights were limited and out of touch, compared with the rest of Europe.

Suing someone in Europe was a painful exercise of bureaucracy to overcome.

Then we became members of the EU, and then joy of joys; a new place to appeal. Control of our laws were potentially undermined; human rights imposed upon us and most certainly developed by EU law; regulations as to working hours, improvement at work, health and safety updates, fishing rights defined, and then far better safety concerns imposed upon us for the greater good.

How about a recent case where tax havens and tax avoidance schemes considered legal at the time, could be challenged retrospectively, going back decades?

Greater control and enforcement is enjoyed over anyone with IP rights across the EU, since being EU members.

Yes. There have been some shocking laws created by EC regulations, but let it be known, that taking into account all the madness of the EU, we as consumers and citizens of Europe, have come out smelling of English roses, with a scent of Europe about us, making us better off as to quality of legal rights enjoyed, and better quality of products as a result.

Our rights as consumers are forever changed for the better, by EU legislation. We can work as EU citizens, anywhere within the EU, without visas and work permits. Without access to immigration for skilled and academic labour, we would not have developed as a country in the way that we have.

We have been catapulted, sometimes screaming and kicking…and delaying…but nevertheless accepting EU legislation.

England is one of the strongest economies in the World, BECAUSE we are part of the EU; BECAUSE our law developed, taking into account other legal processes and legal logic outside of our case law and statutes.

Yes, there are issues with out-of-control immigration flows which need to be better controlled, and people taking advantage of various rights they have, which they never knew they had (remember the convicted terrorist who could not appear in court because his shoes didn’t fit him properly, and it was an abuse of his human rights and dignity?)

And so…having been utterly confused by the reports in the media, and our delusions of grandeur that we are a dominant power in the World, if not the Universe….The British Empire is not what it was, and taking into account that some of the former inhabitants whose ancestors lived during colonialism whose natural resources were proverbially raped and pillaged to make our nation great, have come home to roost…I take the view, that I am in favour of remaining in the EU.

For all the moaning that I hear, we are better off in, than out.

The views in this blogpost are my own, and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of this firm, or indeed the Senior Courts of England and Wales…but I bet I am not alone in recollecting all the good that has come from the EU, ashamed as we are to admit, that the jurisprudence of common law and Roman law, assisted us in developing quicker than we ordinarily would have done within the English Legal System.

David Rosen is a Solicitor-Advocate with higher rights of audience in civil and criminal courts. He is partner and head of litigation at Darlingtons Solicitors LLP. He has memberships with the Society of Legal Scholars, the Royal United Services Institute, and the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, and is a visiting professor of law at Brunel University where he regularly lectures on a weekly basis in advocacy, and fraud amongst other subjects.

This blog post was originally published at the Darlingtons Solicitors blog:

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