New lecture series tackles governance and policy-making in the European Union

The first of a new series of lectures aimed at furthering interest in European Union governance and policy-making will look at legal reasoning in the evolution of European private law.

Marc Amstutz, a professor of business law and legal theory at the University of Fribourg, Switzerland, will discuss “The Interlegality Conundrum in a Multi-level Governance Private Law System and the New Developments in the Marleasing Doctrine of the European Court of Justice”.

This inaugural lecture will take place on Wednesday, Sept. 15, from 12:30 to 2pm, at 519 York Research Tower, Keele campus, as part of a new international lecture series, titled EUCE Lectures on EU Law & Governance. Attendance is free and open to the public. It is hosted by York’s European Union Centre of Excellence (EUCE) in collaboration with the Putting Theory to Practice International Speakers Series and the Critical Research Laboratory in Law & Society at Osgoode Hall Law School.

The new lecture series is part of the EUCE’s mandate to deepen European studies at the University with an international and interdisciplinary outlook. The EUCE Lectures will bring speakers from law, comparative politics, sociology, history and economics to address current trends in European integration.

Right: Marc Amstutz

Amstutz will discuss how the evolution of European private law is taking place in a context of multi-level governance, such as in the interplay of supranational and member-state lawmaking, which is different from the context of a single nation state.

This new context can be addressed as “interlegality”, a term indicating that the law is unfolding in multiple networks of legal orders, says Amstutz. Interlegality is characteristic of bodies of law operating not in, but between national states, namely, that bodies of law, such as the European directives, merely harmonize national legal orders without replacing them with unified rules applicable homogeneously in all the countries concerned.

In figuring out how to deal with interlegality in European private law, lawmakers and scholars are so busy looking for substantive law solutions that they often fail to see the virtues of an already existing procedural tool developed by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in the Marleasing doctrine and its progeny.

Amstutz will argue that this case law, operating mainly at the level of rules on legal reasoning and not at the level of substantive law, is a far more sophisticated means of resolving the interlegality conundrum than all the substantive measures discussed in the last years. Namely, the requirement of interpretation in conformity with directives is allowing the common market to develop coherently without neglecting the significance of national legal cultures.

How this difficult equilibrium between legal coherence and legal pluralism might be maintained by the tool the ECJ developed in Marleasing shall be shown by an analysis of recent developments in the court’s case law.

The EUCE Lectures in EU Law & Governance will cover a wide range of topical areas and will be delivered by world-renowned scholars and practitioners.

To register for any of the lectures, e-mail

For more information, visit the European Union Centre of Excellence website.