The Role of Comparative Law in EU Legal Method

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Abstract

This article explores the way comparative law is used in connection with the development of European Union law.
In the years before the founding of the European Union (originally as the European Economic Community) in the middle of the 20th century comparative law studies in Europe were usually carried out in relation to national legal systems and consisted in cross-national comparisons. The purpose of such studies could be different. Sometimes it was a means to get a deeper understanding of problems arising in the author’s own national law and thus used as a help to give a correct answer to questions about what was already valid law in that system. Very often comparative studies were carried out in connection with proposals for legal reform, i.e. as an instrument to support de lege ferenda argumentation.
As a helping aid in developing EU law comparative legal studies may still be cross-national and designed to assist legal reform. In a present day (2015) EU context comparative law studies are, however, often cross-level studies carried out to assess what is the law already in force or comparisons between the EU fundamental rights regime and the ECHR human rights regime.
The article is structured in the following way: the role of comparison as an instrument of unification of internal market law is discussed in section two. Section three looks at comparison of different language versions of EU law. The role of comparative law in the legal method applied in the integrated system made up of Union law and national law of the EU Member States within the scope of EU law is dealt with in section 4. Section 5 analyses comparison as a means to develop European human rights law. Section 6 contains the conclusion of the article.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationComparative Law
EditorsPeter Wahlgren
Number of pages16
Place of PublicationStockholm
PublisherStockholm Institute for Scandinavian Law
Publication dateAug 2015
Pages71-86
ISBN (Print)9789185142750
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2015
SeriesScandinavian Studies in Law
Volume61
ISSN0085-5944

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