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General Principles of EU Law and the Protection of Fundamental Rights

Chiara Amalfitano

This insightful book analyses the role that EU general principles have taken in the protection of fundamental rights within the EU since the Lisbon Treaty. In particular, the author focuses on the relationship between written law (the Charter of Fundamental Rights) and unwritten law (the general principles) within the institutional framework of the EU. The book demonstrates that due to their complementary and autonomous function toward the protection of fundamental rights, the general principles still play a key role within the Union despite the binding force of the Charter.
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Chapter 4: The role of the general principles of law beside and beyond the Charter

Chiara Amalfitano


Chapter 4 focuses on the role that general principles of law could or should play today beside and beyond the Charter of Fundamental Rights. The interpretation and application of the general principles does not necessarily evolve in parallel with the Charter provisions. According to Article 6(3) TEU, these principles may also have an independent meaning and an autonomous legal life, i.e. not linked to the Charter, thus contributing to the evolution of the Union’s acquis Moreover, the analysis shows that, despite the Lisbon Treaty and regardless of the Charter’s homogeneity clause (Article 52(3)), even the existing general principles can continue to guarantee the specificities of the EU by allowing the Court to shape the ECHR provisions according to the particular needs of the EU system. The last part of the chapter addresses this conservative function of general principles, verifying whether they could protect the autonomy of the EU legal order even if the EU acceded to the ECHR. Keywords: The Role of General Principles on the Protection of Fundamental Rights (Non-Written Law) after the Lisbon Treaty; Complimentary Function of the Non-Written Law; Conservative Function of the Non-Written Law; General Principles on the Protection of Fundamental Rights and the Evolution of the EU acquis

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