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With or without you...judging politically in the field of Area of Freedom, Security and Justice? Research Papers in Law, 3/2007

Hatzopoulos, Vassilis (2007) With or without you...judging politically in the field of Area of Freedom, Security and Justice? Research Papers in Law, 3/2007. UNSPECIFIED.

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    From the Introduction. The study of the European Court of Justice’s (ECJ) case law of the regarding the Area of Freedom Security and Justice (AFSJ) is fascinating in many ways.1 First, almost the totality of the relevant case law is extremely recent, thereby marking the first ‘foundational’ steps in this field of law. This is the result of the fact that the AFSJ was set up by the Treaty of Amsterdam in 1997 and only entered into force in May 1999.2 Second, as the AFSJ is a new field of EU competence, it sets afresh all the fundamental questions – both political and legal – triggered by European integration, namely in terms of: a) distribution of powers between the Union and its member states, b) attribution of competences between the various EU Institutions, c) direct effect and supremacy of EU rules, d) scope of competence of the ECJ, and e) measure of the protection given to fundamental rights. The above questions beg for answers which should take into account both the extremely sensible fields of law upon which the AFSJ is anchored, and the EU’s highly inconvenient three-pillar institutional framework.3 Third, and as a consequence of the above, the vast majority of the ECJ’s judgments relating to the AFSJ are a) delivered by the Full Court or, at least, the Grand Chamber, b) with the intervention of great many member states and c) often obscure in content. This is due to the fact that the Court is called upon to set the foundational rules in a new field of EU law, often trying to accommodate divergent considerations, not all of which are strictly legal.4 Fourth, the case law of the Court relating to the AFSJ, touches upon a vast variety of topics which are not necessarily related to one another. This is why it is essential to limit the scope of this study. The content of, and steering for, the AFSJ were given by the Tampere European Council, in October 1999. According to the Tampere Conclusions, the AFSJ should consist of four key elements: a) a common immigration and asylum policy, b) judicial cooperation in both civil and penal matters, c) action against criminality and d) external action of the EU in all the above fields. Moreover, the AFSJ is to a large extent based on the Schengen acquis. The latter has been ‘communautarised’5 by the Treaty of Amsterdam and further ‘ventilated’ between the first and third pillars by decisions 1999/435 and 1999/436.6 Judicial cooperation in civil matters, mainly by means of international conventions (such as the Rome Convention of 1981 on the law applicable to contractual obligations) and regulations (such as (EC) 44/20017 and (EC) 1348/20008) also form part of the AFSJ. However, the relevant case law of the ECJ will not be examined in the present contribution.9 Similarly, the judgments of the Court delivered in the course of Article 226 EC proceedings against member states, will be omitted.10 Even after setting aside the above case law and notwithstanding the fact that the AFSJ only dates as far back as May 1999, the judgments of the ECJ are numerous. A simple (if not simplistic) categorisation may be between, on the one hand, judgments which concern the institutional setting of the AFSJ (para. 2) and, on the other, judgments which are related to some substantive AFSJ policy (para. 3).

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    Item Type: Other
    Subjects for non-EU documents: EU policies and themes > Policies & related activities > law & legal affairs-general (includes international law)
    EU policies and themes > Policies & related activities > Third Pillar/JHA/PJCC/AFSJ > general
    Subjects for EU documents: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Series and Periodicals: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Annual Reports: UNSPECIFIED
    Series: Series > College of Europe (Brugge) > Research Papers in Law
    Depositing User: Phil Wilkin
    Official EU Document: No
    Language: English
    Date Deposited: 30 Sep 2013 10:13
    Number of Pages: 20
    Last Modified: 30 Sep 2013 10:13

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