Judicial Activism and Conferred Powers - Is the CJEU falling into bad habits?

Arts Building Main Lecture Theatre (Room 120) at the University of Birmingham
Arts and Law, Research
Wednesday 27th June 2012 (16:30-18:00)
Download the date to your calendar (.ics file)

Professor Alan Dashwood, University of Cambridge

The Institute of European Law Annual Lecture 2012



The principle of conferral is a fundamental element of the EU’s constitution. The Union has only those powers that the Member States have conferred upon it by way of the Treaties. In such a legal order, courts are constitutionally bound to eschew activism that effectively extends the competences of the Union beyond the bounds set by the Treaties.

The lecture will distinguish between the “good activism” of the CJEU in earlier years, which went with the grain of the then EC Treaty, and the “bad activism” of recent years, characterised by abusive over-interpretation of the free movement principles and of the concept of citizenship.


Alan Dashwood was Professor of European Law at the University of Cambridge from 1995-2009 and is now Professor Emeritus. He is also a Fellow of Sidney Sussex College, a Barrister in Henderson Chambers, and a Bencher of the Inner Temple. Before being appointed to his Chair at Cambridge, he was a Director in the Legal Service of the Council of the EU. He was the founding Editor of European Law Review and was one of the Joint Editors of Common Market Law Review (until December 2008). He is co-author of Wyatt and Dashwood’s European Union Law, the sixth edition of which appeared in 2011 and contributes frequently to legal journals.

The IEL Annual Lecture:

Each year the Institute of European Law invites an eminent European lawyer or academic to present its annual lecture on a European legal topic. Past speakers have included such distinguished visitors as Sir David Edward and Sir Konrad Schiermann, Gisela Stuart, Hon Mr Justice Elias, Judge Nicholas Forwood, Sir Christopher Bellamy and Professor Piet Eeckhout.