The chapter discusses two alternative readings of European constitutional pluralism: radical and dialogical pluralism. The conflictual reading emphasizes that no higher principle or neutral arbiter exists to resolve a controversy between contending jurisdictions, such as German constitutional law and EU law. Two main versions of the conflictual reading exist: Kelsenian and Koskenniemian. Without denying the existence or relevance of jurisdictional controversies, the dialogical reading cautions against overdramatizing them and draws attention to the potential of crossjurisdictional dialogue and cooperation. The chapter connects pluralism to perspectivism, inherent in all law, and defines perspectivism in legal cultural terms, which also facilitates an understanding of the possibility of interlegality. The theoretical issues are discussed in the light of the recent OMT case involving the German Constitutional Court and the ECJ.
The chapter tries to bring clarity to the legal theoretical debate by distinguishing between different senses of ‘legal principle’ and by analysing these in the framework of the multi-layered nature of law. Thus, the decision principles which Dworkin and Alexy have discussed as applicable legal norms, alongside legal rules, are not exactly the same as the general legal principles summarizing the normative premises of a distinct branch of law or the normative legal order as a whole. The chapter also defends the distinction between principles and policies embraced by Dworkin but downplayed by Alexy. The distinction facilitates understanding how positive law can accomplish the crucial function of self-limitation. The distinction is also important for perceiving the particularity of EU law as a policy-oriented legal order; a characteristic feature which forms a backdrop to EU law’s conflicts with the more principle-oriented national legal regimes of Member States.