Celebrating 20 Years of the Institute of European and Comparative Law

Conference Chair: Professor Sir David Edward


‘General principles of law’ are one of the most visible areas of intersection between EU law and comparative law: as long as they are understood as ‘the general principles common to the laws of the Member States’ (Art 340(2) TFEU) their fleshing out requires careful comparative preparatory work. True, more often than not, the general principles of EU law were not developed on the basis of thorough and textbook style analysis. This does not make it less interesting to look at the interaction of EU law and comparative law in this particular field. Those working together in elaborating general principles of EU law tend to be responsive to input from national laws, and the laws of the Member States have no choice but to be responsive to the general principles developed at EU level.

It is the purpose of this conference to look at this particular interaction from the perspectives of EU law and comparative law alike. Leading scholars and practitioners from both fields will come together to discuss the most recent developments in the field.

There will be one general (assembly) session exploring the theoretical and conceptual issues surrounding the notion of ‘general principles of EU law’ and two thematic sessions looking at specific examples of how these principle operate in practice. One session will chart how a well-established general principle, the principle of proportionality, has been implemented in the laws of the member states: is there ‘a’ general principle of proportionality, or are there 27 (or: 29) principles? Another session will be devoted to the emergence of two general principles of EU law in private law, party autonomy and the protection of the ‘weaker’ party, and will focus on the difficulties that arise when these principles conflict. Finally, there will be another assembly session on the legitimacy of judicial creation of general principles of law.

In keeping with the distinctive brand of scholarship promoted by the Oxford Institute, each topic will be addressed by both EU and comparative lawyers. Both perspectives will be given equal weight, and the focus will be on the interactions. And of course we aim to look at all the issues within their broader historical, jurisprudential and political context.

The conference will be held on the occasion of the twentieth anniversary of the Oxford Institute. It will bring together current and former members, visitors and friends of the Institute, as well as those who might belong to one of these categories in the future. Celebration will be an essential part of the proceedings!


For the programme please click here


Costs and Registration

Registration fees

The conference registration fee (see scale of charges below) includes lunch and refreshments on both days as well as any materials distributed before or during the conference.


Academics and non-academics from outside Oxford University: £80.00

Full-time registered students from universities other than Oxford: £50.00

Members of Oxford University and former members of the Institute: no charge


Accommodation and Conference Dinner

Accommodation in St Anne’s College is available to conference participants on 24, 25 and 26 September (subject to availability). Early booking is recommended. The costs of the single en-suite room (including breakfast) is £75.00 per night.

The conference dinner (optional) will be held in Balliol College on 25 September. The cost is £60.00.


Please click here to access the online shop for registration and payment


Staff and students of Oxford University should register here