Court of Justice of the European Union as a Rhetorical Figure

M-EPLI Working Paper No. 2011/32

41 Pages Posted: 30 Sep 2011

See all articles by Mirjami Paso

Mirjami Paso

University of Eastern Finland

Date Written: September 30, 2011


The aim of this article is to discuss the nature of power the Court of Justice of the European Union exercises. It has been argued that the Court of Justice of the European Union is a political actor. If it is, then it would make perfectly sense to assume that also the language used in the Court of Justice would resemble the language used on political forums. The aim of present article is to examine whether the rhetoric the Court of Justice uses includes elements of political rhetoric. The author’s first argument is that the rhetoric of the Court of Justice does have similar features as the rhetoric used in political speeches. The second argument is that a reasoning having a political flavour or a purely persuasive effect cannot be simply treated as bad and unacceptable. The legal decision is not merely legal but also a decision to solve a given problem of everyday life. Additionally, courts are social institutions having discretionary power. Legal decisions cannot therefore be void of emotional references.

Keywords: rhetoric, Court of Justice of the European Union, legal argumentation, judgement, legal linguistics, Winner Wetten

Suggested Citation

Paso, Mirjami, Court of Justice of the European Union as a Rhetorical Figure (September 30, 2011). M-EPLI Working Paper No. 2011/32. Available at SSRN: or

Mirjami Paso (Contact Author)

University of Eastern Finland ( email )

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