The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) is equipped to hear cases in 24 different languages and its case law is available in 23 of them.  However, its working language has always been French. This means that, whatever the formal language of a case according to its Rules of Procedure, the CJEU works from a case file made up of papers in French (either originals or translations produced by the CJEU’s translation service), the CJEU’s deliberations are conducted in French and its judgments are drawn up in that language.  A surprising consequence is that the authentic version of a judgment in the language of the case concerned (where that language is not French) will in fact be a translation from a French text. The purpose of this talk is to contribute to the growing debate on the language regime of the CJEU by focusing on its working language. Why was French chosen? What effect, if any, did that choice have on the CJEU’s legal method and the quality of its judgments? Would it be desirable for the CJEU to change its working language? If so, would such a step be feasible?


Anthony Arnull began his academic career in 1983 at the University of Leicester, where he was awarded his doctorate in 1988. From 1989 to 1992, he worked at the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg as a référendaire in the chambers of Advocate General FG Jacobs. He was appointed to a chair in European Law at the University of Birmingham in 1991. Anthony Arnull’s publications include The European Union and its Court of Justice (Oxford University Press, 2nd ed, 2006); The Oxford Handbook of European Union Law (Oxford University Press, 2015, co-edited with Damian Chalmers); and European Union Law: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford University Press, forthcoming 2017). Anthony Arnull is Consultant Editor of the European Law Review, having been its co-editor from 1996 to 2007. In 2013-14, he was an output assessor for Sub-Panel 20 (Law) in the REF. 


All are welcome - a sandwich lunch will be available from 12.30.