The function of general principles in the practice of the European Court of Justice

Alan Friend
The use by the European Court of Justice of General Principles of Law is the subject of this study. It relates to the way the Court refers to and the extent to which it relies upon General Principles. On occasion, the Court refers to General Principles as synonymous with rules, at other times as separate but not clearly defined entities. Equally noteworthy, the Court, despite its aforementioned reliance on General Principles, elaborates little on the functions General Principles fulfil. To sum
more » ... p, the Court acts in an intellectually provocative manner. The major part of this thesis concerns the analysis of a number of cases involving General Principles from which certain contentions are derived and examined; that General Principles are an important source of European Community Law; that their use by the European Court of Justice has had a profound effect on European Community Law; that this area of law is an example of the dynamic tension between institutions and Community members, such tension being a natural consequence of a developing new legal order. This analysis is preceded by a basic explanation of General Principles and a survey of their use in various systems of municipal law and international law, such analysis providing a framework in which it is possible to analyse the work of the European Court of Justice. The thesis concludes with the observation that the above contentions are, in greater part, borne out and that General Principles are still and continue to be for the foreseeable future, an important source of European Community Law.
doi:10.5525/gla.thesis.71625 fatcat:pmle4ycsmjhftgc7olh4lunj3e