An Oral History of the European Court of Justice

Research Project

This project traces the oral history of the European Court of Justice by collecting and storing testimonies of the Court’s members and staff. Oral history is a method originating in historical research to collect the insights of individuals into specific periods, events and experiences through interviews. By applying this method to the legal history of the European Union, this pilot project examines the European Court of Justice during its first 40 years of operation. Founded in 1952, the Court has grown into an unparalleled supranational body of adjudication of utmost importance for the member states of the Euopean Union.

The project An oral history of the European Court of Justice collects the testimonies of those who worked at the Court in its formative years. Semi-structured interviews will be conducted by teams consisting of a lawyer and a historian and will focus on eyewitnesses during the period from the foundation of the Court to the Maastricht Treaty (1993). These individual stories are an important part of the Court’s institutional history. The aim of this project is to store individual memories and allow researchers today and in the future to take a step back into history and to ‘see through the eyes’ of those who took part in the Court´s formation. The project is led by the Max Planck Institute in cooperation with the Network ‘A Legal History of EU Law’ (Københavns Universitet) and the Historical Archives of the European Union (HAEU/Florence). The interviews will be stored in the European Archives in Florence.

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