The Court of Justice in the Archives Project: An Initial Reflection

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Table of Contents: I. Introduction. – II. The cases selected and the content of the dossiers – III. Re-assessing landmark cases.

Abstract: This Article offers an initial reflection on the output of the “Court of Justice in the Archives” project represented by the case studies included in this Special Section. The value of this collective endeavour is not a matter of finding the (legal or historical) truth hidden in some unpublished part of the dossier that would allow us to settle on the real “origins” of EU law. The project contributes to deepening our understanding of landmark cases decades later, during which time their meaning and scope have been simplified and codified as “EU law answers to EU law questions” at the cost of losing their many legal, sociological and economic layers. As the Articles bring back defeated and the marginalized arguments, and exemplify how things could have gone otherwise, the reader is led to a thought-experiment that can prove extremely useful in reopening the legal and political imagination of EU law, emancipating it from a sense of necessity and exposing more explicitly the normative choices made by the Court. And as alternative legal pasts of Europe emerge, it may become easier to conceive of alternative futures for EU legal integration.

Keywords: Court of Justice of the European Union – landmark cases – dossier de procédure – judicial reasoning – legal scholarship – socio-legal studies.

European Papers, Vol. 6, 2021, No 1, pp. 533-538
2499-8249 - doi: 10.15166/2499-8249/482

* CNRS Research professor, Université Paris 1-Sorbonne,


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