May 29, 2008
European Union Law
Posted by Gordon Smith

This afternoon, I attended an excellent session at the Law & Society Annual Meeting entitled "Integration Through Law in the European Union." The panelists are members of this discussion group at the European University Institute. My former Wisconsin colleague, Dave Trubek, noted in response to the presentations that all of the panelists seemed to agree on one point: something unique is happening with EU law (or, in Dave's words, "the EU is a different animal, not like anything else we have ever studied"), and the challenge is to figure it out.

That seems right to me, and it's the reason I have long been drawn to the subject. (Though I have never published on EU law, that will finally change next year, as I am helping the BYU Law Review to organize a symposium on legal origins.) When I was in law school in the late 1980s, I took several classes on the European Community at Chicago, and we had a very naive view of integration. The word "harmonization" is used in Europe, but what does that mean? That all national laws would be identical, marching in lockstep with directives from Brussels? That didn't happen in the late 1980s, and it certainly isn't happening now.

What are the implications for corporate law? More about that in some future posts ...

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