Professor Nicola Releases Book on European Union Law

Professor Fernanda Nicola, an expert in comparative law and European Union law, has collaborated with Bill Davies, a European historian with the AU School of Public Affairs, to publish a groundbreaking analysis of the rulings of the Court of Justice of the European Union. The book, EU Law Stories: Contextual and Critical Histories of European Jurisprudence (Law in Context), takes a new perspective, showing that the EU law does not always evolve in a linear and detached manner and there are many different actors behind the scenes of the Court’s decisions. The narrative clusters stories of EU law around prominent cases in order to re-focus the scholarship and teaching of EU law by unraveling lawyering techniques, offering thick descriptions of the cases and showing the importance of a sociological understanding of the role of judges, advocate generals, law clerks in Luxembourg and their interlocutors.

Nicola and Davies presented their publication at Law and Society in Minneapolis in 2015, EUSA in Philadelphia in 2016, and European University Institute in Florence 2017.

What motivated each of you to complete this book and how long did the project take?

Teaching European Union law to a U.S. audience with very little contextual understanding of what is happening in Europe was a huge challenge for both of us. Since 2013, we held two different conferences at AUWCL to better understand the evolution and the actors behind the scenes in some of the major judgements of the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg.

How did you choose the contributors for the book?

The book’s contributors are prominent EU law scholars from very different disciplines including law, history, sociology, and political sciences, but also committed to an interdisciplinary project.

What was your intention for how this volume will be used in academia and elsewhere, and what impact do you hope it will have overall?

Our intention was to retell some of the stories behind the scenes in many of these cases to show that the evolution of EU law was not a necessary one set in stone, as EU lawyers often present it, but rather a constitutional practice that happened through the work of lawyers, domestic judges, plaintiffs, European judges, advocates general, and academics who, because of their commitments or some unintended results, changed European law both in Luxembourg and in the EU member states. The idea was to show that the European Court of Justice works as a collective and multilingual body that ought to be studied and better understood not only by scholars or lawyers but also by everyday people.

What about this publication makes you the most proud?

Having grouped such a wonderful and interesting collective of academics in an original project that will allow us to teach EU law in a way that it could be understood by more people around the world and not only experts in the field based in Brussels, Luxembourg, or Strasbourg.

EU Law Stories is available on Amazon here.