Workshop to consider impact of language on work of European Court's Advocates General

University of Birmingham
Press Release
16 October 2018

Workshop to consider impact of language on work of European Court’s Advocates General

The extent to which language and translation may affect the work of Advocates General (AGs) of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) will be the focus of a workshop being held next month (5 November 2018) in Dublin.

It will take place at Dun Library, No. 6 Kildare St and will run from 9:00am - 5:30pm. It is being convened by Dr Karen McAuliffe of the University of Birmingham, who is the Principal Investigator on the European Research Council funded project ‘Law and Language at the European Court of Justice’ (The LLECJ Project).

She will be joined by Professors Noreen Burrows and Rosa Greaves of the University of Glasgow, Professor Takis Tridimas of Kings College London, Professor Fernanda Nicola of The American University Washington College of Law, Dr Virginia Mattioli, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso, and Dr Liana Muntean and Ewelina Tylec, both from the University of Birmingham.

This workshop seeks to address a gap in the literature by bringing together scholars from the fields of language/linguistics and law, as well as practitioners, to consider to what extent language may affect the work of AGs at the Court of Justice.

The key area of focus will be the AG’s guiding and shaping of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU)’s case law.

The dialogue between the CJEU and the AGs that have served since it was established in 1952, has been significant in the development of some of the most fundamental principles of EU law and thus in the evolution of EU law itself. Historically, the AG’s opinion resembles an academic text in many respects, drawing on various sources of law, earlier decision of the CJEU, national jurisprudence and even academic commentary.

AGs can, in their opinions, be speculative in a way that the CJEU can never be in its judgments. The ‘academic’ nature of those opinions highlights the fact that the role of the AG is wider than simply giving an opinion as to how the case in question in a particular instance should be decided.

Dr McAulife says;

“This workshop will be of interest to academics and lawyers who wish to consider how language may impact on the production of Advocates General’s opinions, and how this in turn may affect the case law of the Court of Justice itself.

“The AG carries out a critical assessment of the case law, identifying trends, pointing out inconsistencies and outlining possible future developments for EU law. The AG, therefore, has long been of interest to scholars of EU law and much academic debate focuses on the influence of their opinions. There is, however, one important aspect of the role of AG at the CJEU which has thus far been largely overlooked: the linguistic aspect – how these opinions are articulated and understood – looking at issues such as language, translation, (multilingual) writing styles and drafting techniques.

“Although much of the academic debate on the role of the AG centres around the persuasive character of their writing, few studies investigate to what extent language may have an impact on the way in which they work.

“Questions of rhetoric, argumentation and linguistic, as well as legal, persuasiveness are all relevant when considering the influence of the AG on the development of EU law. The multilingualism policy and the translation regime within the CJEU itself introduce another variable, as the AG’s opinions may be translated into (up to 23) official EU languages for consideration across 28 member states. The workshop will be an excellent opportunity to consider these novel and important questions and feed into the ongoing LLECJ project.”


Issued by Oliver Blackburn

tel: (0121) 414 3932/8730

Editors’ notes

  • Attending the event People interested in attending the event can find out more here:
  • The LLECJ project is developing a new understanding of the development of EU law by examining the process behind the production of the multilingual jurisprudence of the Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ).
  • Achieving that goal involves bringing together research fields which traditionally pay little attention to each other – linguistic theories, anthropological research methods and law. By analysing the relationship between law, language and translation in the jurisprudence of the ECJ, using methodological tools borrowed from fields outside of law, the LLECJ project aims to introduce a new facet to the current thinking on the development of the EU legal order. For more information about the project please visit
  • The University of Birmingham is ranked amongst the world’s top 100 institutions. Its work brings people from across the world to Birmingham, including researchers, teachers and more than 5,000 international students from over 150 countries.