Language and Law in the European Union: The Multilingual Jurisprudence of the ECJ
Solan L,Tiersma P (eds) The Oxford Handbook of Language and Law, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012
Posted: 30 Jan 2013
The relationship between language and law has interested scholars for centuries. The use of language is crucial to any modern legal system since, in the most fundamental sense, law is language (insofar as, in most legal orders, language is used to make the law – whether in legislation or court decisions; and the use of law relies on language – in communicating, writing, persuading etc.). On the one hand, it is true that legal theory and the notion of ‘the law’ involve more than just language – as Endicott states: “…law is not necessarily made by the use of language, and every legal system requires norms that are not made by the use of language” (See Endicott 2002). On the other hand, however, it cannot be denied that any modern social reality, including law, is rooted in language. ‘The law’, certainly in the context of the present volume, is an overwhelmingly linguistic institution: it is coded in language, and the concepts that are used to construct that law are accessible only through language. This particular relationship between law and language becomes all the more evident in legal orders where law is produced in more than one language. The present chapter considers the production of multilingual law in the European Union, and in particular the multilingual jurisprudence produced by the Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ).
Keywords: European Court of Justice, CJEU, ECJ, language and law, translators, legal translation, multilingual law
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