Vera Fritz – Københavns Universitet

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Vera Fritz

Contribution to the History of the European Court of Justice: A Biographical Study of Its Members, 1952-1972

Despite their key contribution to the European integration process, the members of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) have until today received relatively little attention in European Union (EU) studies. The first aim of this PhD project is to propose a collective biography of the first members of the ECJ. Relying on extensive research in EU archives, in public and private archives as well as the use of oral sources, it will shed new light on the heterogeneous trajectories of the judges, the advocates general and the registrar who worked at the Court of Justice during the first two decades of its existence. This project will focus in particular on their institutional, ideological and personal affiliations.

The second aim of this project is to combine the material gathered on the members of the Court with the study of primary sources from national archives in order to address some key aspects of the relationship between the ECJ and the member states from1952 to 1972: firstly, it will propose a detailed analysis of the judge/advocate general appointment process, showing how they were selected and what governments expected from them; secondly, the project will call into question the judges’ presumed isolation in Luxembourg by demonstrating that, for both personal and professional reasons, many members of the ECJ regularly went back and forth between the Grand-Duchy and their native states; thirdly, the project will propose a detailed study of the first member state discussions on the Court after its ground-breaking rulings of the early 1960s. The analysis of the archive material collected on the subject of these negotiations will on the one hand contribute to the broader EU law reception studies carried out in this group project. On the other hand, it will show how the judges, who on several accounts interfered in the discussions, perceived their own role vis-à-vis the governments of the member states. 

Project funded by Luxembourg’s Fonds National de la Recherche