Legal order - General Information
Rules of law of different origins and values
In each Member State, different authorities are empowered to adopt rules of law.
The rules themselves can be expressed through different instruments, known as sources of law
. These instruments are at the origin or, as some may prefer to say, at the source of the law applicable in the relevant State.
Most of the sources of law are written instruments such as international treaties, statutes, regulations, orders and so on.
But there are other sources of law such the decisions of the courts, customs and general principles.
Since the establishment of the European Communities, Community law has also been a source of law in the Member States.
In the Member States, the different sources of law do not all have the same status.
It may be that one of them has to be applied in preference to another where they are in conflict. In terms of status there is, therefore, a hierarchy.
For example, Community law prevails over domestic rules. The same may also apply to international law in certain circumstances.
By clicking on the flags of the Member States you will find useful information on their legal systems.
You can also find information on the Community and international legal systems by clicking on the Community law and International law icons.