European Union law is supreme over domestic legislation.

So European Union regulations and directives take precedence over domestic legislation.

But does this also mean the law contained within EU treaties (TEU, TFEU) is supreme over domestic legislation (eg. acts of parliament)?

In the Costa judgement this appears relevant:

It follows from all these observations that the law stemming from the treaty, an independent source of law, could not, because of its special and original nature, be overridden by domestic legal provisions, however framed, without being deprived of its character as community law and without the legal basis of the community itself being called into question

This implies EU treaty law is supreme?

  • Yes and no. It's complicated. There is a Spanish case establishing supremacy, but it is mitigated by the fact that lots of EU law is not self-executing and that there is a process for compelling nations to adopt EU directive compliant domestic law. Some EU legal instruments are self-executing and they are supreme, some are not. – ohwilleke Oct 8 at 21:18
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    @ohwilleke this is further complicated by the situation arising when an EU member fails to meet its obligation to implement a (non-self-executing) directive by the deadline; in some cases, apparently, courts have ruled that the rights defined in the directive pertain nonetheless. Furthermore, the existence of both a directive and implementing national legislation can lead to conflicts, and the text of the directive (along with judicial precedent) will generally control the court's decision. – phoog Oct 8 at 22:03
  • @ohwilleke that looks like an answer. Please answer in answers, not comments. – Dale M Oct 8 at 22:55
  • @phoog that looks like an answer. Please answer in answers, not comments – Dale M Oct 8 at 22:55
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    @DaleM it's a response to ohwilleke's comment. I am not well enough versed in the theory to write an answer; I only know what I've seen from following EU free movement law (a directive), especially as implemented in the UK. If nobody answers in a couple of days I'll try to do some research and write a proper answer. – phoog Oct 8 at 23:13

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