Chapter 3: Harmonisation through general principles of law
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This chapter sets out to demonstrate how the reception of general principles of law contributes to the harmonisation of legal orders. Due to their normative properties, such principles give coherence, direction and inspiration for the further development of the law. These processes are not restricted to principles that have been received due to a supra- or international legal obligation. As the example of EU law shows, general principles that have been introduced into the national legal orders of member states in areas where EU law applies have an 'inspiring' effect that often leads to a spill-over into areas of law beyond the reach of EU law, thus contributing to further approximation of member states' legal orders. These effects can also be observed outside the supranational context of the EU, as will be illustrated by recourse to the transnational reception and cooperative further development of general principles by courts in international human rights law and international criminal law. Finally, it will be demonstrated how also international treaties and the forces of globalisation can 'inspire' national legal orders to appropriate general principles that originate from another legal order.

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