The Passivity of Law

Competence and Constitution in the European Court of Justice

  • Luigi Corrias

Table of contents

About this book


Europe’s constitutional journey has not been a smooth one, and a better division and definition of competence in the European Union is a key issue that needs to be addressed. How can the division of competence be made more transparent? Should there be a reorganization of competence? How can it be ensured that the redefined division of competence will not lead to a creeping expansion of the competence of the Union or to encroachment upon the exclusive areas of competence of the Member States and regions? And how can it be ensured that the European dynamic does not come to a halt? Indeed, has the creeping expansion of the competence of the Union already come to a halt? These are the legal and political questions this book takes as its starting point for an in-depth exploration of the philosophical foundations of European constitutionalism.


The Passivity of Law: Competence and Constitution in the European Court of Justice opens with a legal account of the competence creep, including the role that the European Court of Justice plays in it and a sketch of the present division of competences and the main principles regulating it. It then discusses the relationship between constituent power and constituted or constitutional power from the viewpoint of the history of constitutional theory before offering an alternative interpretation of their relationship, the “chiastic theory,” which is based on the philosophical investigations of M. Merleau-Ponty. It details how this chiastic approach can be used to make sense of the Court’s role in the competence creep in general and the doctrine of implied powers in particular, and it utilizes several case studies concerning competences to sustain this claim. Aimed at researchers and practitioners in Philosophy, Phenomenology, Political Science, the Social Sciences and numerous fields of law, this monograph is a seminal work in the evolving theory and practice of EU (constitutional) law.


Authority Auto-Institution Competence Creep Competences Consituution-Making Constituent Power Constitutional Court Consttituent Power Dualism European Court of Justice European Integration European Legal Order European Public Law Implied Powers Doctrine Integration Legal Competence Limited Government Maastricht Decision Merleau-Ponty Passivity Philosophy of Law Rule-Following SChmitt-Kelsen Sieyès Wittgenstein

Authors and affiliations

  • Luigi Corrias
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of Law, Legal Theory and Legal HistoryVU University AmsterdamAmsterdamNetherlands

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