Harmonic Law

George Letsas

in Philosophical Foundations of European Union Law

Published in print October 2012 | ISBN: 9780199588770
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191741029 | DOI:

Series: Philosophical Foundations of Law

Harmonic Law

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This chapter contends that the problem of normative conflicts is not a genuine one and that this teaches us a great deal about European law, and fundamental rights in Europe. In particular, it challenges an argument whose structure goes like this: legal pluralism is an empirical fact, which generates problems of normative conflicts that in turn can be solved through some process of judicial dialogue. It is argued that, as a matter of law, there are no normative conflicts of fundamental rights in Europe. The chapter does not aim to offer a solution to the problem of pluralism, say via some harmonization or dialogue theory, nor to make conflicts disappear by stipulation, but rather to debunk it. It provides an account of law and fundamental rights that both explains why such conflicts do not exist and offers some normative guidance to how European judges should decide cases. Legal philosophy should seek to contribute not only to the understanding of European law but also to its sound development.

Keywords: normative conflicts; EU law; European law; fundamental rights; legal pluralism; judicial dialogue; legal philosophy

Chapter.  17531 words. 

Subjects: EU Law

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