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Joint CSECL & LJXB conference “The Politics of Method in EU law”, 20 & 21 June, Amsterdam

On 20 and 21 June, CSECL’s annual conference “The Politics of Method in EU Law”, jointly hosted by the Centre for the Study of European Contract Law (CSECL) and Law and Justice Across Borders (LJXB) took place in Amsterdam. The conference discussed various interdisciplinary methodologies and approaches that have been gaining ground in the study of EU law with the aim to shed light on “the politics” that are underlying those.  

Betül Kas – post-doctoral researcher of the ‘Judges in Utopia’-project – was invited to give a presentation. In her presentation entitled “Researching the CJEU: The missing societal dimension of litigation”, Betül claimed for a greater emphasis on socio-legal research methods to approach the case law of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU). Her presentation concerned in particular the judgments rendered by the CJEU in the context of the preliminary reference procedure in Article 267 TFEU – being the “institutional backbone” of the European integration process. 

The starting point of her argument is that the traditional methodologies of the legal scholar and the political scientist fail to take the distinctive features of the preliminary reference procedure sufficiently into account. Her claim for advancing the socio-legal reconstruction of the case law is based on the special position that the preliminary reference procedure has within the EU’s multi-level legal order – it directly connects the national with the European level, not only on an institutional level – i.e. national courts and European court – but also the CJEU with national societies. Those features of the procedure are seldomly captured in academic accounts that address the role of the CJEU in the process of European integration. The socio-legal reconstruction of the case law promises to give a more complete picture of the CJEU and the role of litigation for Europe-building.

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