Research Handbook on Legal Pluralism and EU Law
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Research Handbook on Legal Pluralism and EU Law

Edited by Gareth Davies and Matej Avbelj

The Research Handbook on Legal Pluralism and EU Law explores the diversity of phenomenon of overlapping legal systems within the European Union, the nature of their interactions, and how they deal with the difficult question of the legal hierarchy between them. The contributors reflect on the history, sociology and legal scholarship on constitutional and legal pluralism, and develop this further in the light of the challenges currently facing the EU.
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Chapter 5: The anatomy of constitutional pluralism in the European Union

Cormac Mac Amhlaigh

Abstract

The chapter focuses on a particular puzzle in constitutional pluralist accounts of the interaction between EU law and state law: the lack of crisis in their interactions. Crisis, defined here as the simultaneous or alternative application of legal systems by the same court, should be expected from interactions between distinct legal orders, each making mutually exclusive claims to ultimate authority over the same subject matter – such as is the case with EU law and state law. The chapter explores and critiques a series of potential answers to this puzzle in constitutional pluralist literature – radical pluralist, reinvigorated monism and principled accounts – arguing that they either rely on an improbable coincidence or require giving up on the claims to ultimate authority made by state and/or EU courts. The chapter provides an alternative solution to the puzzle by drawing a distinction between norm-application and claims to ultimate authority in theorising legal systems.

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