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Legal Order of European Community - Essay Example

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Legal Order of European Community

With these points in mind, let us try to find out to what degree it is justified to view the EC as representing a new legal order, and what aspects of this order are indeed unusual. For this purpose we will overview the history of the European law and legal structures, and then will try to single out those specific qualities of European law that contributed to the emergence of a new legal order within the EC.
First of all, we should from the very beginning chart a clear interrelation between the EC law and the European Union (EU) law, which stems from the EU structure according to treaties. The EC is one of the so-called three pillars of the EU and is related to economic and social aspects of the single European market. The remaining two pillars are represented, in accordance with the Treaty of the European Union also known as the Maastricht Treaty, by Internal Security (Police and Judicial Co-operation in Criminal Matters), and by Common Foreign and Security Policy. In the outlined context, the EC law is contained in the EC Treaty, EC Recommendations, EC Directives, and in the case-law of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) (Van Gerven, 2005, pp.12-27). 1
TheThe ECs legal nature was fundamentally influenced by the ECJ, created in 1952, in its two precedent-setting judgements of 1963 and 1964. The first one was the famous Van Gend & Loos case, in which the transport company from Netherlands filed a suit against the states customs because a higher than usual duty was imposed on import of chemical products from Germany. "Van Gend & Loos" company viewed this action as a violation of the twelfth Article of the EEC Treaty (today this is the twenty-fifth Article of the EC Treaty), which banned increases of custom duties or introduction of new ones between Community members. The Dutch court passed this matter to the ECJ and asked for the clarification of the relevant Treaty article. This seemingly minor case instigated the ECJ to formulate some important fundamental principles that contributed to the formation of the legal order of the EC. During the Van Gend & Loos case investigation judges considered the issue of whether individuals also can appeal to the EEC Treaty articles, and in spite of the opinion of the Advocate General and a number of governments, judges of the Court issued the resolution which stated that the EEC treaty was meant to be something more than only an agreement between states, but rather that it as well was related to all peoples. Thus, according to the logic of the Court, newly established European institutions empowered by sovereign rights affected both member states of the Community and their citizens. The conclusion that followed from these observation was that a new legal order was created in the international law which limited sovereignty of states in some areas for their benefit, and was equally binding for their citizens. 2
Soon, ECJ used Costa/ENEL case to clarify its position in more detail. This case stemmed from the situation when Italy in 1962 nationalised electrical industry and passed the assets to the National Electricity Board (ENEL). Mr Costa, who was a shareholder of one of the nationalised companies, claimed that his dividends were stolen, and refused to pay bill for ...Show more


Today many of us are so accustomed to the incessant and dynamic changes in most aspects of modern societies that we normally limit our interest only to the most sensational and outstanding events. However, there are numerous processes operating in the world that may be not immediately very visible but which hold a great potential in terms of their prospective influence on the global system of international relations…
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Legal Order of European Community essay example
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