The Structural Impact of General International Law on EU Law: The Court of Justice of the EU and the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties

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Series Details Vol.35, No.1, 1 December 2016, p484–512
Publication Date 15/12/2016
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This article argues that the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) expands judicial discretion beyond the sphere of textual uncertainty and seeks to interpret legal instruments with reference both to the text and its underlying objects and purposes. This becomes evident most notably in cases raising fundamental issues involving the distribution of legal competences between the European institutions and those of EU Member States,

The Court favours an activist purpose-based and gap-filling approach, which maximizes judicial discretion and, in case of conflict, often prioritizes the purposes of European integration over a more text-based interpretation. Universal rules of interpretation as enshrined in the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties are thus relied upon on a selective—if not instrumentalist—basis, as the next sections will show.

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This article is part of the Special Issue: EU Law and Public International Law: Co-implication, Embeddedness and Interdependency.

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