EU Law Classics in the Making Methodological Notes on Grands Arrêts at the European Court of Justice
To be published in Billy Davies, Fernanda Nicola (eds.), EU Law Stories. Contextual and Critical Histories of EU Jurisprudence, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2016, Forthcoming
iCourts Working Paper Series, No. 50, 2016
15 Pages Posted: 21 Mar 2016 Last revised: 12 Apr 2017
Date Written: March 21, 2016
To a large extent, EU law is a history made of many judicial stories. And yet, after decades of exegesis, we still know surprisingly little about these grands arrêts that “shaped” EU law as we know it. As a result of the continuous efforts to aggregate and index them, Europe’s founding decisions have turned into a rather simplified set of principles: Van Gend en Loos equals “direct effect”, Costa means “supremacy”, Defrennes is “non-discrimination”, etc. This paper suggests that it is time to retrieve these landmark cases as historically and socially complex “moments” that cannot be reduced to mere steps in a developmentalist narrative, and provide a thick description of the social fabric through which they were elevated into turning points of Europe’s legal, economic and political integration.
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