Welcome to the UCL European Institute, UCL's hub for research, collaboration and information on Europe and the European Union.

UCL European Institute



Why we post: a global perspective on social media

How do people use social media in different parts of the world, and what are the implications? Professor Daniel Miller explains what a team of anthropologists found by sending 15 months each in nine small towns all over the world, comparing social media use. You can engage with their research through a variety of free online resources including UCL’s first massive open online course (MOOC) starting on 29th February, a series of open access books published by UCL Press, and a short video.
25 November 2015
Daniel Miller  More...

Starts: Nov 25, 2015 12:00:00 AM

Cameron - Banning Milk and Cheese

Pablo Echenique is one of the five Podemos members elected to the European Parliament in 2014, and currently running for parliament in the upcoming Spanish general election. On Monday 26 October, he was scheduled to talk at the UCL European Institute, however the event had to be cancelled when he ran into difficulties at the UK Border. Here, he explains the full story…
2 November 2015
Pablo Echenique

Starts: Nov 1, 2015 12:00:00 AM

Flights from Freedom

Eva Hoffman, former editor of The New York Times and Visiting Professor at the UCL European Institute, asks what propels individuals to turn to extremist movements and argues that we need to build a ‘culture of democracy’ with shared norms and ethics.
22 October 2015
Eva Hoffman More...

Starts: Oct 22, 2015 12:00:00 AM

EU Referendum

UCL European Institute

This section provides background material and references on the implications of the UK's European Union Act 2011, and specifically its referendum 'lock' provisions.



The brief discusses the changes brought about by the EU Act 2011, in relation to Britain’s position in and attitude towards, the European Union. It considers the referendum provisions of the EUA; referenda and UK constitutional law; and the role of referenda in democratic deliberation.



I. Legislation

European Union Act 2011
See in particular the following provisions:

  • Section 2: Treaties amending or replacing TEU or TFEU
  • Section 3: Amendment of TFEU under simplified revision procedure 
  • Section 4: Cases where treaty or Article 48(6) decision attracts a referendum 
  • Section 6: Decisions requiring approval by Act and by referendum 
  • Section 18: Status of EU law dependent on continuing statutory basis

European Communities Act 1972

II. Explanatory Documents
III. Case Law
  • R. v Secretary of State for Transport Ex p. Factortame (No.2) [1990] 3 W.L.R. 818.
  • HL and R. v Secretary of State for Employment Ex p. Equal Opportunities Commission [1995] 1 A.C. 1 HL
  • Thoburn v Sunderland City Council [2002] EWHC 195 (Admin); [2003] Q.B. 151.
  • R. (on the application of Jackson) v Attorney General [2005] UKHL 56; [2006] 1 A.C. 262.
IV. Literature

European Union Act 2011

  • S Peers, ‘European Integration and the European Union Act 2011: An Irresistible Force Meets an Immovable Object?’ (2013) Public Law 119.
  • MJ Gordon and M Dougan. ‘The United Kingdom’s European Union Act 2011: “Who Won the Bloody War Anyway?” (2012) 37:1 European Law Review 3.
  • P P Craig, 'The European Union Act 2011: Locks, Limits and Legality' (2011) 48 Common Market Law Review 1881.
  • S Peers, ‘The UK’s European Union Bill’ (November 2010), available at Statewatch.org, Annexes I and II.

Referenda and UK Law

  • S Tierney Constitutional Referendums: The Theory and Practice of Republican Deliberation (Oxford University Press, 2012)
  • S Tierney 'Constitutional Referendums: A Theoretical Enquiry' (2009) Modern Law Review 72(3) 360.
  • P Norton, “The United Kingdom: Political Conflict, Parliamentary Scrutiny” in P. Norton (ed.), National Parliaments and the European Union (London: Frank Cass, 1996).

Referenda and the EU

  • FA Cheneval, ‘“Caminante, no Hay Camino, se Hace Camino al Andar”: EU Citizenship, Direct Democracy and Treaty Ratification’ (2007) 13 European Law Journal 647.
  • M Shu, ‘Referendums and the Political Constitutionalisation of the EU’ (2008) 14 European Law Journal 423.
  •  G Barrett, ‘Building a Swiss Chalet in an Irish Legal Landscape? Referendums on European  Union Treaties in Ireland and the Impact of Supreme Court Jurisprudence’ (2009) 5 European Constitutional Law Review 32.