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 7: Human dignity and EU legal pluralism

Matej Avbelj


The chapter examines the role of human dignity in structuring the relationship between the European Union and its member states. This constitutional role of human dignity is first explored in the jurisprudence of the Court of Justice of the European Union, followed by analysis of the leading human dignity cases in the national constitutional jurisprudence. The second part of the chapter situates this jurisprudence in a theoretical context to examine which theories of EU legal pluralism best capture the described judicial practice. Noting the apparent descriptive shortcomings between the leading pluralist theories and empirical treatment of human dignity in national and EU law, the chapter concludes by advancing our own theory of principled legal pluralism. It is argued that it makes a better case for the practice of human dignity in European law than the other pluralist theoretical accounts.

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