Bridging the Channel
Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge
Louisiana Law Review, Vol. 41, pp. 69-80, 1980
What we shall do if we are forced into the Common Market and have to deal with Continental legislation and decisions, I just do not know. We shall have to learn a lot about not only European law but more important about the habits of mind of European lawyers which I suspect are more theoretical and less practical than our own.”
Soon after Lord Reid had left this question partially unanswered, Great Britain became a member of the European Economic Community, brought, at last, to the shores of the continent. The limelight which, until then, was mainly focused on the economic and political problems of European integration now had to include within its coverage a third major component part of integration: law. The additional dimensional problem of British membership in the EEC raised the very sensitive issue which centuries of hostility and rapprochement, indifference and mutual concern, had not yet had to face-that is, whether, the civil law and the common law systems could find a modus vivendi under economic and political constraints. Indeed, European community law is more than a few treaties, it is more than a series of regulations or directives, it is more than judicial decisions from a European court; it is a system of law. Moreover, it is a civil law system identified by its particular style of drafting legislation and its methodology of legal reasoning.
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Date posted: December 18, 2009 ; Last revised: April 10, 2010
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