Taking Values Seriously: Towards a Philosophy of EU Law

Posted: 31 Aug 2009

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: Autumn 2009


This article argues that the existing philosophy of EU law, such as it may be perceived, is flawed. Through a series of propositions it claims that EU law is infected by an underlying indeterminacy of ideal that has deeply affected the appreciation and realization of stated values. These values, the most fundamental of which appear in Article 6(1) of the Treaty of European Union, have been applied in a haphazard fashion and without an understanding of normative content. The European Court of Justice has instead adopted a largely pragmatic approach that has focused on principles or virtues of governance rather than attempting to offer a way of satisfactorily defining values or ensuring their realization. The underlying philosophy thus appears to be based on a theory of interpretation (of original political will) rather than a theory of justice. The recent decision in Kadi paradoxically offers not only confirmation of the argument presented but also a judicial appreciation that a new direction may be desirable, one inspired by a law based on the predominance of fundamental values with particular emphasis on respect for fundamental rights.

Suggested Citation

Williams, Andrew Trevor, Taking Values Seriously: Towards a Philosophy of EU Law (Autumn 2009). Oxford Journal of Legal Studies, Vol. 29, Issue 3, pp. 549-577, 2009, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1463203 or http://dx.doi.org/gqp017

Andrew Trevor Williams (Contact Author)

University of Warwick - School of Law ( email )

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HOME PAGE: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/law/staff/academic/williams

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