New journal article by Morten Rasmussen – Københavns Universitet

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01. december 2013

New journal article by Morten Rasmussen

Morten Rasmussen has written an article published in International Journal of Constitutional Law with the title "Revolutionizing European Law: A History of the Van Gend en Loos Judgment".


Did the famous Van Gend en Loos judgment constitute a breakthrough for a constitutional practise in European law or was it merely drawing the logical legal consequences of earlier case law and of the Treaties of Rome? Based on comprehensive archival studies, this article argues that neither earlier case law nor the Treaties of Rome can fully account for the judgment. Instead, Van Gend en Loos represented a genuine revolution in European law. Prompted by the legal service of the European Commission, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) took a decisive step towards addressing two major problems of international public law, namely the lack of uniform application of European law by national courts across the six member states and the lack of primacy granted to international law in several member states. The judgment was based on a new teleological and constitutional understanding of the Treaties of Rome developed by the legal service, and took the first step towards establishing an alternative enforcement system. The ECJ would already in 1964 take the second step by introducing primacy in the Costa v. E.N.E.L. judgment. The new enforcement system remained highly fragile, however, due to the dependency on the cooperation of national courts through the preliminary reference system. As a result, the full effects of the Van Gend en Loosjudgment were only felt after the Single European Act (1986) pushed reluctant national governments and courts to finally come to terms with the legal order the ECJ had developed.

Read the full article online here.