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  • Print publication year: 2011
  • Online publication date: June 2012

4 - The legal dimension in EU integration

from Part I - EU history, institutions and legal dimension



This chapter sets out to describe the normative and functional nature of European Union (EU) law, with particular focus on the role of the European Court of Justice (ECJ). In doing so, it aims to shed light on how and to what extent law is an essential part of the European project, and to show how the ECJ, through its constitutionalizing role, has defined the EU as a new legal order.

Section 4.2 provides a general background, setting the scene. Section 4.3 discusses how the rule of law lies at the heart of the EU legal order. Section 4.4 describes the ECJ institutionally and in terms of its jurisdiction. The following sections then examine the framing function of EU law (Section 4.5); rule-making (Section 4.6); the implementation and enforcement of EU law (Section 4.7); and interpretation and dispute resolution (Section 4.8). The final section (4.9) is a conclusion on the nature of EU law.

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Further Reading
Alter, K. 2001 Establishing the Supremacy of European Law: The Making of an International Rule of Law in Europe Oxford University Press
Chalmers, D. Davies, G. Monti, G. 2010 European Union Law Cambridge University Press
Craig, P. de Búrca, G. 2011 The Evolution of EU Law Oxford University Press