2. Integration, Separation and Comparison DERRICK WYATT
1. IntroductionWITH the progressive development of the
single market over the last thirty-five
years the law of the European Economic
Community has developed apace. The European law
of the EEC Treaty was never a law solely nor even
predominantly concerned with the transit of goods,
customs nomenclature, and tariffs. From the start it
was a law which sought to achieve its larger economic objectives through the vesting of rights in
individuals and companies to earn a living or carry
on business irrespective of their nationality or their
place of residence in the Member States. The Treaty
establishes a constitutional system based on the rule
of law, provides a framework of social and environmental law for the peoples of Europe, and looks to
the elimination of the barriers which divide Europe
through the enactment of legislation by the
Community institutions and the parliaments of
Member States, and through the interpretation and
application of that legislation by both the
Community Courts and the courts of the Member
States. It is small wonder that European law occupies an increasingly important place in the law
school curriculum. And it was particularly appropriate that the 1992 SPTL Conference in Oxford had as
its theme 'The European Law School'. What is the
appropriate way to address European law in the
European law schools of the United Kingdom? It is to
that question which I now turn.
2. Integration, Special Courses, and a
Comparativist ApproachI should like to address my remarks to questions of
integration, special courses, and the development of
a comparativist approach in areas where EC and
English law overlap.
3. IntegrationThe debate about integrating Community law or
teaching a special course has moved on over the
years. Integration seems all but inevitable in a number of fields, in particular:
|--constitutional law (which at least requires treatment of sovereignty/supremacy of community law);|
|--employment law (as regards in particular sex discrimination, and the acquired rights directive);|
|--tort (as regards the product liability directive);|
|--company law (as regards the company law directives etc);|
|--conflict of laws (as regards the Brussels and Rome
The developing case law of the Court of Justice
and the English and Scottish courts ( Litster v. Forth
Dry Dock and Engineering Co. Ltd. [ 1989] 1 All ER
1134 was an appeal from the Court of Session) on the
interpretation of national rules implementing directives has provided an overdue spur to the study of
directives, and the mischievous decision of the Sixth
Chamber in Marleasing Case C-106/89 Marleasing v.
La Comercial [ 1990] ECR I--4235 can only keep
directives in the forefront of attention. A few Court
of Justice decisions on the product liability directive
would serve well to heighten awareness, but it is
early days yet. This spontaneous integration is
inevitable and will no doubt continue.
4. A Special Course
If integration is to some extent inevitable, a special
course on Community law is also necessary. This is
because Community law, like any other legal system,
has a set of conceptual assumptions which run like
geological strata through different types of subject
matter, both substantive and procedural, be it institutional law, social law, or economic law. Acquiring a
working understanding of these assumptions
requires systematic study. A graduate in English law
has always aspired to at least an elementary sense of
direction within his legal system. That sense of
direction should to-day extend to the Community
system, incorporated as it is into our own legal system. From a practical point of view, it is generally
unsatisfactory to approach Community law on the
basis that you can learn all you need to know about a
particular bit of it without learning anything at all
about the rest of it. Just as it is unsatisfactory to
approach tax law without having regard to trusts,
property or contract. It is one of the less satisfactory
features of our system of professional qualification
that it is possible to qualify as a barrister or solicitor
without any real knowledge of substantive
Community law taught as such.
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Book title: Examining the Law Syllabus:The Core.
Contributors: P. B. H. Birks - Editor, Society of Public Teachers of Law (London, England) - OrganizationName.
Publisher: Oxford University.
Place of publication: Oxford.
Publication year: 1992.
Page number: 21.
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