The Center of Civil Law Studies of the LSU Law Center presents the
42nd John H. Tucker, jr. Lecture in Civil Law
The European Court of Justice at Work:
Comparative Law on Stage and Behind the Scenes
Professor Michele Graziadei
University of Turin — Italy
Thursday, September 5, 2019 at 12:40 p.m.
Louisiana State University, Law Center
Robinson Courtroom, 201
Reception to follow in the Student Lounge
Michele Graziadei is a full professor in the Department of Law at the Università di Torino, where he has been teaching comparative law since 2008.
Professor Graziadei graduated with a law degree (cum laude) from the Università di Torino in 1984. He began his career at the Università di Trento and taught civil and comparative law at the Università dell’Insubria (Como), and at the Università del Piemonte Orientale, where he was the head of the law department. He has been a Visiting Professor at Cornell Law School, Université Paris 2 Panthéon Assas, Université Jean Moulin Lyon 3, Université du Luxembourg. He is a Past President of the European Association of Law Schools (ELFA), a Titular Member of the International Academy of Comparative law, and the President of the Società italiana per la ricerca nel diritto comparato. He has participated in several international and European research programs and is the author of over a hundred publications. His recent publications include: Comparative Property Law: Global Perspectives (M. Graziadei & L. Smith eds., 2018); Personal Autonomy in Plural Societies: A Principle and its Paradoxes (M-C. Foblets, M. Graziadei & A.D. Renteln eds., 2018).
The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has often been hailed as an engine of European integration. Entrusted with the task of securing the uniform interpretation of the law of the European union—among other functions—the ECJ makes use of comparative law for a variety of purposes. The very composition of the Court and its peculiar linguistic regime make the Court a major comparative law laboratory. Under the Treaties, the Court is explicitly authorised to resort to comparative law as a method of judicial interpretation with regard to certain aspects of European law. But comparative law is an essential tool for the Court in several other contexts as well. This lecture will be the occasion to take a closer look at the role that comparative law plays in the development of the jurisprudence of the Court, and to showcase some salient applications of it. Quite often, the Court limits references to comparative law arguments to a few lines in its judgements. Nonetheless, comparisons that go far beyond the merely technical aspects of the law are part and parcel of the everyday business of the Court. Even when the language of comparative law is not overtly spoken, those comparisons define the ethos of the European union, and show how the Union sets out to challenge, and change, the laws of the member states.