Basic Community Cases

Basic Community Cases

Basic Community Cases

Basic Community Cases


European Community law has expanded significantly since the 1987 publication of the highly-acclaimed Basic Community Cases. The second edition has been entirely revised to include the key texts of the crucial cases on the EC/EU's constitutional structure, internal market, and external relations. The authors add in-depth analysis, criticism and guidance on each of these leading cases, making this essential reading for all students and teachers of the law of the European Union.


The art of learning is to get as much benefit from as little study as possible. Yet in order to grasp the law of the European Community, there seems to be a forbidding amount of material to read. the founding Treaties are lengthy and, after so many amendments, have become rather untidy; secondary legal instruments in the shape of regulations, directives, and decisions pour forth daily from the Council and the Commission.

Meanwhile, in Luxembourg, the two Community courts are far from idle. Furthermore the introduction, development, and application of many of the most fundamental rules and principles of Community law are to be found in the judgments of the Court of Justice. Yet the official law reports are not easy reading. Common-lawyers, in particular, face several difficulties since they are accustomed to lawsuits whose facts are interesting and whose judgments are the work of individual human beings, each with a distinctive voice. By contrast (and perhaps not surprisingly) the events which provoke much Community litigation, when intelligible at all, seem remote from everyday life; and the judgments are the work of an impersonal institution writing the cold language of a committee.

None the less, this Europrose/bureauprose conceals, in the Court's own oftrepeated words, 'a new legal order'. Furthermore, there has also been a dramatic number of recent judgments which extend the reach and strengthen the hold of this new legal order. Not only is the substance of European Community law continually expanding, but its nature is steadily transmuting into a federal legal order, with attendant constitutional structures and international competences. This transformation is the work of the Court of Justice. These extraordinary twin features of Community law -- the transformation of its nature and the nature of the transformer -- are the main reasons for this new edition.

As far as possible, this work follows the approach taken in the first edition. Far from attempting to be a comprehensive digest of European case-law, it deliberately goes to the other extreme. the book adopts three tactics: selection, explanation, and concentration. in the belief that it is better to read intensively than extensively, it tries to pick out only leading cases, that is to say those decisions which contain within themselves far more law than may appear from the brief ruling of the judgment's final operative part. Each of them took teams of lawyers representing several States, the parties, the Commission, and a very able and highly resourced Court months or years to conclude.

A close reading will reveal the several levels at which the judgments operate. the fundamental level concerns the nature of Community law: since it is . . .

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