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Opening of the historical archives of the European Court of Justice

Posted on 18 December 2015

KoenLenaertsVisitOn the 9th of December 2015 the Historical Archives of the European Union hosted the first day of the international conference “Setting an agenda for Historical Research in European Law. Actors, Institutions, and Member States”, jointly organised by the research project ‘Towards a New History of European Public Law’ of the SAXO Institute at the University of Copenhagen and the European University Institute.

The day was marked by the opening of the historical archives of the European Court of Justice to the research community and the public, at which occasion Mr. Koen Lenaerts, President of the European Court of Justice confirmed that the Court’s historical archives “can only contribute to society when they can be publicly accessed.”

Mr. Lenaerts described the safekeeping of the historical archives of the Court as a “moral obligation towards future generations” and stressed that, acting as custodian of these archives, the Historical Archives of the European Union help to keep alive the European Union’s collective memory. The President of the Court of Justice also pointed out that the preservation of these archives by the HAEU not only has a “vital identity-defining function” but that it also adds to the legitimacy and knowledge of the European law by fostering legal research.

Dieter Schlenker, Director of the HAEU, welcomed participants to this “unique and historical event marked by the deposit of the historical archives of the Court of Justice”, reiterating the great opportunity for researchers at the EUI, in Europe and beyond: “Students will be able to touch the legal history of Europe and find out how this law has been made step by step.”

Various presentations were given on the archives of the Court of Justice and on other resources on the history of European Law deposited at the HAEU, such as the archives of the Legal Service of the European Coal and Steel Community and private papers of the former EC officials Walter Munch and François Lamoureux. (For more information on the sources on the legal history of the EU please click here)

The opening of the archives of the European Court of Justice is based on an agreement signed in July 2014 and governed by Council Regulation (EU) 2015/496 of 17 March 2015 on the deposit of the historical archives of the EU Institutions at the European University Institute in Florence.

To see the pictures from the event, please visit the presentation in Flickr.