May 17, 2015

Save the Date: AALS European Law Section 2016 Annual Meeting (Washington DC, January 9, 2016)

Chair of the AALS European Law Section and network member Daniela Caruso (Boston University) has written to confirm the details for the European Law Section panel at the AALS 2016 Annual Meeting in New York City.  

The panel will meet on January 9, 2016, at 8:30am.  The topic will be "Human Rights at the Margins: The Refugee Crisis and Other Emergencies in a Transatlantic Perspective."  Network member Daniel Halberstam (Michigan) and Steve Peers (Essex) are confirmed as speakers; network member Gráinne de Búrca (NYU) will serve as discussant; and Daniela will chair.

Book Announcement: Franciszek Strzyczkowski et al., eds., European Judicial Systems as a Challenge for Democracy (Intersentia 2015)

Network member Franciszek Strzyczkowski (University of Łódź), together with Elzbieta KuzelewskaDariusz Kloza, and Izabela Krasnicka, has just edited a new volume published by Intersentia, entitled European Judicial Systems as a Challenge for Democracy.  It forms part of the "European Integration and Democracy" series.  An extract from the Preface is below, and more details can be found here.

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The European judiciary -- i.e., the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) and national courts interpreting and applying European law sensu largo -- have shaped [the process of European integration] actively, alongside the Founding Fathers, European nations, European states and their citizens. The involvement of the judiciary raises its own wide range of questions concerning the very nature of democracy. Much ink has already been spilled over issues such as democratic legitimacy, subsidiarity and accountability, the rule of law or judicial activism.

[In this volume,] seventeen scholars from across Europe . . . share their views on the European judiciary as a challenge for democracy. The various contributions to the present volume are split into two parts. The first provides ten chapters on the judicial systems of the European Union (EU), discussing, inter alia, recognition of democratic principles in the case law of the CJEU, contribution thereof to the democratisation of the Union and reception of EU law in the Member States. The second part discusses the judicial means [for the protection of] human rights in Europe, consisting of three chapters devoted to the promise of advisory opinions of the ECtHR as well as to democratic standards for voting and for fair trial[s].

May 13, 2015

EU Reform and Trans-Atlantic Cooperation in Data Protection (Richard Peltz-Steele, UMass)

In this post, network member Richard Peltz-Steele (UMass) reviews the state of EU data protection reform, US-EU cooperation on compliance and enforcement, and the prospects of a successful compromise in a time of legislative gridlock, government surveillance, and public controversy.  

Reflecting on discussions last month in Madrid in which he took a role, he argues that—despite continued European skepticism and the difficulties of reconciling regulatory ideals with commercial realities—solid grounds for optimism remain.

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For the last couple of years, the EU has been in the throes of birthing a General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).  The GPDR will replace the existing 1995 Data Protection Directive (DPD), which is showing its age in the struggle to confront problems of global electronic communication.  The impending changes were the subject of a program of the Union Internationale des Avocats (UIA) in Madrid April 17 and 18, in which I participated.  In light of those discussions, it seems a good moment to review the expected changes and their implications for the complex relationship between the United States and European Union in matters of data protection.

I.          From DPD to GDPR – A New Regime for Data Protection

Under EU law, the transition from a directive (the DPD) to a regulation (the GDPR) is a significant change in legal form.  A directive calls on Member States to legislate themselves into compliance by enacting compliant national laws, while a regulation constitutes self-executing Union law.  Accordingly, under the DPD, data protection law has evolved largely in the province of national legislatures, national courts, and quasi-independent national data protection authorities.  But the EU institutions have not been altogether excluded: for example, the EU Court of Justice (CJEU) has the power to construe the DPD, and the court has decided questions referred from Member States—notably including last year’s bombshell, Google Spain, in which the court ordered Google to de-link search results deemed untimely and unfair to a data subject.  And the DPD’s “Article 29 Working Party,” a body primarily comprising national data protection officers and officials of the European Commission (EC), has been influential in harmonizing data protection law across Member States.  In sum, the system that has evolved under the DPD has been a process of cooperation or dialogue between national and Union institutions, and one in which the national participants have played a leading role.

April 13, 2015

[Change of Time] Justice Breyer to Lecture at Paris-Nanterre, Wednesday, April 15, 16:00

Friend of the network Myriam Benlolo-Carabot (Paris-Nanterre) has asked us to let readers know that Justice Stephen Breyer's lecture on Wednesday, April 15 at the law faculty of the Université Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense will now take place at 16:00 (rather than 15:00 as originally scheduled).  The talk is entitled "The Court and the World".  More information, including location details, can be found here as well as on the flyer is below.

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Summer School: "European Union Law, Policy, and Diplomacy," Washington D.C., May 16-17 and 28-29, 2015

Network member Fernanda Nicola (Washington College of Law, American University) has written to announce a short course in Washington D.C. next month on European Union law, policy, and diplomacy, as part of American University's Program on International Organizations, Law and Diplomacy.  Her announcement to the network is below.


I am writing to invite your students to participate in the upcoming Regional Organizations courses being offered this summer by the Program on International Organizations, Law and Diplomacy (PIOLD) at the American University Washington College of Law. The PIOLD program combines legal, diplomatic, and social scientific approaches to the study of multilateralism to help students gain a comprehensive understanding of the mechanics of international organization functions.

The course on European Union Law, Policy and Diplomacy will feature cutting edge law and policy reforms with a focus on transatlantic relations, financial institutions and human rights law. This class will be taught by Professors Fernanda Nicola and Michelle Egan (American University WCL and SIS) in conjunction with Dr. Gisella Gori, senior political advisor at the EU Delegation, Valerie Rouxel-Laxton, Head of Economic and Financial Affairs at the Delegation of the European Union to the United States of American, and Denis Chaibi, member of the Cabinet of Ms. Kristalina Georgieva, Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid & Crisis Response at the European Commission. The course will meet at Washington College of Law on May 16-17 and at the EU Delegation's office in Washington, D.C. on May 28-29.

Summer School: "Parliaments of Europe," LUISS University of Rome, July 14-24, 2015

Network member Nicola Lupo (LUISS Guido Carli) has written to announce a summer school on parliamentary democracy in Europe, to take place at LUISS University of Rome between July 14 and July 24 this year.  Entitled "Parliaments of Europe: foreign policy and democracy promotion," the course focuses on the powers, functions, and institutional relationships that distinguish modern European parliaments.  The course is aimed at graduate students, junior researchers, civil servants, and others with a professional interest in European democracy.  Full details are available here.

EU Funding Announced for Ph.D. Positions at University College Dublin

Friend of the network Claire Collins (University College Dublin) has written to announce the availability of EU funding for three Ph.D. positions on environmental governance and compliance.  A summary is below; further information can be obtained from Niamh McCabe.


Three EU-funded Ph.D positions on Environmental Governance and Compliance (4 years) - University College Dublin, Sutherland School of Law
This is an exciting opportunity for talented students to play an important role in a cutting-edge project at the intersection of law, governance, psychology and economics, investigating the way that laws influence our decisions to engage (or not to engage) in environmentally compliant behaviour in Europe. Non-compliance with the EU’s environmental rules is one of the key weaknesses of the EU’s environmental policy, and the EU has over the past decade brought in rules to encourage decentralised, society-led governance by local private actors, including environmental NGOs but also private individuals and companies, in an attempt to improve compliance levels. Yet surprisingly little is known about the extent to which this major change in environmental governance rules has actually influenced compliance levels in practice, and why. The central question of this project is therefore: Can the design of environmental governance rules influence us not only to comply with the letter of the law, but also to go further?

Funded by the European Research Council, you will form part of an interdisciplinary team of six people, comprising the Principal Investigator Dr. Suzanne Kingston, a postdoctoral researcher, the 3 Ph.D. students and a research assistant. Specifically, we are looking for:
  • 1 Ph.D. candidate with a degree in Irish law or the law of another common law jurisdiction, or cognate discipline. Where the application is for this position, the applicant should be proficient in English;
  • 1 Ph.D. candidate with a degree in French law, or cognate discipline. Where the application is for this position, the applicant should be proficient in French and English;
  • 1 Ph.D candidate with a degree in Danish law, or cognate discipline. Where the application is for this position, the applicant should be proficient in Danish and English.
In addition to desk study methods, the position will involve the collection and analysis of relevant empirical data on the relevant jurisdiction (Ireland, France or Denmark), including surveys and interviews with interested stakeholders. As a result, the positions will involve some travel from time to time to the relevant jurisdiction with some of the rest of the team, as well as presentations at international events abroad. The successful candidates will have their Ph.D. fees paid, and will receive a stipend of €18,000 for each of the 4 years of the Ph.D. They will be located in the UCD Sutherland School of Law (, and will liaise closely with the UCD Earth Institute (, Ireland’s leading interdisciplinary institute providing research-driven solutions to the most pressing global environmental challenges.

Applications should be e-mailed by Friday 15th May 2015 to, and should comprise:
  • A covering letter (no more than 2 pages) explaining why you are interested in and suitable for the position;
  • Your CV and one recent paper, essay or publication;
  • Your academic transcripts and, for applicants for whom English is not their mother tongue, proof of proficiency in English. Additionally, for applicants for the French and Danish law positions for whom these languages are not their mother tongue, proof of proficiency in these languages.
Candidates should be available for interview (in person or by Skype) in the week commencing 14th June 2015 and should be available to start from September 2015. Enquiries to Ms. Niamh McCabe.

April 11, 2015

The Network on SSRN: Turkuler Isiksel, "European Exceptionalism and the EU's Accession to the ECHR"

Network member Turkuler Isiksel (Columbia) has a new paper on SSRN, exploring and criticizing the strand of "European exceptionalism" that she identifies in the attitude of the Court, and in Opinion 2/13 in particular.  The abstract is below; the full text, entitled "European Exceptionalism and the EU's Accession to the ECHR," is available on SSRN here.

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In a December 2014 opinion, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) torpedoed the draft accession agreement that would have enabled the EU to accede to the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) on the grounds of its incompatibility with the EU’s constitutional structure. The opinion has been widely criticized as evidence of the CJEU's unwillingness to be bridled by another international court and its anxiety over losing its self-proclaimed primacy within Europe’s juridical space. This short essay argues that the Court's reasoning is symptomatic of an hubristic attitude of "European exceptionalism" that pervades the self-understanding of EU institutions, not least the Court itself. According to the exceptionalist narrative, the enlightened character of EU institutions exempts them from the normative constraints designed to check more imperfect forms of political organization such as nation-states. The paper submits that this is a more alarming, not to mention ironic, stance for a supranational Court to espouse than either institutional self-importance or exaggerated anxiety over constitutional incompatibility.

April 3, 2015

Now Online: the Cambridge Yearbook of European Legal Studies

Network member Kenneth Armstrong (Cambridge) has written to share the exciting news that Cambridge University's EU law journal, the Cambridge Yearbook of European Legal Studies, is now opening up to online access.  Kenneth's note to the network is below.


The Cambridge Yearbook of European Legal Studies has been published since 1998 and is now in its 17th volume. From 2015, the Yearbook will be published by Cambridge University Press via Cambridge Journals Online, and will now be fully accessible online as well as in print. The Yearbook publishes pieces of up to 11,000 words and all articles will appear online on FirstView in advance of print publication. We have a benchmark of publishing online via FirstView within 16 weeks of receipt of a manuscript. All articles are reviewed by the editorial board and anonymously by an external expert peer reviewer. The first article for 2015 is already online and can be accessed here.

Please do get in touch if there is something you are working on that you think would fit within the broad concept of European legal studies.

Kenneth Armstrong

March 27, 2015

Conference at LSE: 'Resilience or Resignation? National Parliaments and the EU', 10 April 2015

Friend of the network Davor Jancic (British Academy Newton Fellow, LSE), has asked us to forward the announcement below of the conference Resilience or Resignation? National Parliaments and the EU, which will take place at LSE on April 10.  Included in the speaker line-up is network member Peter Lindseth (UConn, this term Senior Emile Noël Fellow at NYU), as well as Katarzyna Granat (Emile Noël Fellow at NYU).  More details can be found here (including RSVP details) and the full announcement is below.

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