Skip to main content
European Commission logo print header

Where does European law draw its authority from? Putting the European legal field back in

Final Activity Report Summary - EUROLAWFIELD (Where Does European Law Draw its Authority From ? Putting the European Legal Field back in)

The essential objective of this project was to re-open the debate on the role lawyers and law play in EU polity. While there is a general agreement on the critical role of EC law in the process of European political integration, paradoxically, jurists frequently appear in this literature as purely legal animals. By considering them from the sole angle of the purely legal objectives which lawyers themselves attach to their practice, research has so far failed in examining them as social players able to constitute - by their specific expertise, but also by the multiple positions and venues they hold in EU polity - one of the core elites of the European construction.

Methodologically, this implies to avoid looking exclusively at the European Court of Justice. In different works, I have suggested to widen the focus to the whole set of legally-endowed actors who produce, manipulate, and interpret the law of Europe. This has allowed providing with a renewed understanding of the role lawyers play. The main result of this study is to point at the brokering role lawyers play in EC polity from the very early years onwards. Positioned at the crossroads of a variety of economic, political and bureaucratic undertakings, easily circulating in-between the sectorial and national borders that make up Europe, EC lawyers form an elite of brokers.