Taking Values Seriously: Towards a Philosophy of EU Law

Warwick School of Law Research

Oxford Journal of Legal Studies, Vol. 29, No. 3, 2009

24 Pages Posted: 14 Nov 2009

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: November 11, 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 realisation 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 realisation. 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 both 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 (November 11, 2009). Warwick School of Law Research, Oxford Journal of Legal Studies, Vol. 29, No. 3, 2009, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1504067

Andrew Trevor Williams (Contact Author)

University of Warwick - School of Law ( email )

Gibbet Hill Road
Coventry CV4 7AL, CV4 7AL
United Kingdom
02476 524996 (Phone)
02476 524105 (Fax)

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

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