Document Type


Publication Date

January 2016


By virtue of its peculiar position as the world’s first supranational court, the comparative legal method and the use of foreign law hold a particular significance for the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU, or “the Court”). This supranational characteristic, however, places the Court under an intense and unique set of judicial and political pressures. The Court must ensure the autonomy, exclusivity, and functioning of the EU’s legal order, while remaining sensitive to the fact that it is positioned as a central node in a network of national, international, and foreign courts that are profoundly affected by its decisions—and whose decisions, in turn, may also affect the Court. Understanding the political and judicial dynamics at play on the Court is not just a compelling intellectual conundrum. The increasing significance of the EU’s economy, trade, and political well-being places the CJEU under global judicial and political scrutiny. How it uses—or chooses not to use—foreign legal norms is of worldwide significance.