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This seminar is part of the Institute for the Study of European Laws (ISEL) events and City Law School seminar series.
This is a hybrid event. Attendees have the option to join online via MS Teams or in person. The venue for the in person attendees is TG13, The City Law School, Sebastian St, London EC1V 7HD.
Chair: Dr Adrienne Yong, Senior Lecturer, The City Law School
Discussant: Professor Tamara Hervey, The City Law School
Speaker: Niall Coghlan, PhD Researcher at European University Institute (EUI)
The EU Charter of Fundamental Rights is young. The Courts are only starting to sketch the shape and effect of its provisions. In that context, the Charter's Explanations seem to provide much-needed clarity as to its roots and intended shape. They appear to have significant legal weight; President Lenaerts recently argued it would be 'very difficult, if not impossible, for the Court to go against the Explanations'.
This paper argues that the Explanations' clarity is sometimes a mirage. First, the paper recalls the arguement for the Explanations' authority. Second, it critically analyses the Explanations to one of the Charter's most innovative rights, the right to integrity of the person (article 3). Using historical and doctrinal analysis, it shows that the Explanations are misleading as to that right's roots and intended shape in several important ways. Third, it revists the history and legal status of the Explanations. It argues that they require critical analysis and are. at least in some cases, of limited legal weight. Ironically, the curious history of the Explanations explains both their flaws and the temptation to exaggerate their weight.
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