Yearbook of European Law - Vol. 10

By Francis Geoffrey Jacobs | Go to book overview

REVIEWS OF BOOKS

Textbook on EEC Law by Josephine Steiner. 2nd edition. Blackstone, 1990, xl + 340 pp. £16.95.

The attempt to cover much of the procedural, constitutional, and substantive law of the European Economic Community in a single work is a formidable undertaking. To make such an attempt in a book the size of Josephine Steiner's textbook on EEC law seems hardly feasible. However, given the fact that it is in its second edition only two years after the first, a demand for a book of this kind was evidently perceived and has been very successfully met.

The book's cover states that it focuses 'on the areas of maximum practical and academic interest' and that EEC law is a subject no business professionals can now afford to ignore. Perhaps one problem with the textbook is that it endeavours to wear too many hats: to be a comprehensive student textbook, a guide for the practitioner, and of interest to the academic, at one and the same time.

Essentially it gives a brief and accurate descriptive account of the terrain of EEC law, covering current case-law and legislation. However, although the preface indicates that the book hopes to provide insight into the underlying principles of EEC law, it provides at best a very elementary analysis of the areas covered. Only occasionally does it depart from what is essentially a synopsis of the decisions of the European Court of Justice to comment either on the development or the significance of its jurisprudence. This is usually done by means of passing references to the Court being in a 'conciliatory' (see case 397/87, Groener, [ 1989]) ECR 3967, p 171 or 'more conservative' (see case 316/85, Lebon, [ 1987] ECR 2811, p 174) or an 'activist' (see case 293/83, Gravier, [ 1985] ECR 593, p 199) mood. What might amount to a more revealing analysis is dealt with in rather a perfunctory manner, as when the author suggests (p 55) that the general principles developed by the Court of Justice, ostensibly to protect individual rights, may serve as concealed instruments of Court policy.

The emphasis on prediction in the book suggests that it is primarily geared towards practitioners, and it contains many 'hints' for these, such as when to notify an agreement, or how to structure one that may fall foul of Article 85 (pp 124 and 130). Parts of the book seem to be structured so as to provide rules of thumb governing a particular area for national courts or practitioners, such as the conclusion to the chapter on direct effect (p 32-3) or the chapter on damages (p 327-8). The student market is clearly targeted

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