Establishing the Supremacy of European Law: The Making of an International Rule of Law in Europe

Paperback | November 1, 2002

byKaren J. Alter

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The most effective international legal system in the world exists in Europe. It works much like a domestic system, where violations of the law are brought to court, legal decisions are respected, and the autonomous influence of law and legal rulings extends into the political process itself.The European legal system was not always so effective at influencing state behaviour and compelling compliance. Indeed the European Community's original legal system was intentionally designed to have very limited monitoring and enforcement capabilities. The European Court of Justice transformed theoriginal system through bold and controversial legal decisions declaring the direct effect and supremacy of European law over national law. This book starts where traditional legal accounts leave off. Karen Alter explains why national courts took on a role enforcing European law against their governments, and why national governments accepted an institutional change that greatly compromised national sovereignty. She then shows howharnessing national courts to funnel private litigant challenges through to the ECJ and enforce European law supremacy contributed fundamentally to the emergence of an international rule of law in Europe, where national governments are held accountable to their European legal obligations, and wherestates actually avoid policies that might conflict with European law.

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The most effective international legal system in the world exists in Europe. It works much like a domestic system, where violations of the law are brought to court, legal decisions are respected, and the autonomous influence of law and legal rulings extends into the political process itself.The European legal system was not always so e...

Karen Alter is Assistant Professor of Government at Northwestern University

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:284 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.59 inPublished:November 1, 2002Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199260990

ISBN - 13:9780199260997

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Table of Contents

1. The Making of an International Rule of Law in Europe2. National Judicial Interests and the Process of Legal Integration in Europe3. German Judicial Acceptance of European Law Supremacy4. French Judicial Acceptance of European Law Supremacy5. Winning Political Support: Why Did National Governments Accept a Judicial Revolution that Transferred Away National Sovereignty?6. The Transformation of the European Legal System and the Rule of Law in Europe

Editorial Reviews

`In this pioneering study, Alter demonstrates her mastery of both European law and the politics of law. She demonstrates that Europe's development of a supranational legal system, which has gone far beyond the limited original design of the European Court of Justice, has become a key vehiclefor European integration... As she concludes, "knowing the position of the European Court of Justice has become as important as knowing the position of member states."'Stanley Hoffmann, Foreign Affairs, 2002