The administrative archives for the European Court of Justice (ECJ) were opened to researchers in 2021. Professor Morten Rasmussen, historian at the Saxo Institute, University of Copenhagen, aims to use these archives to reconstruct and analyse the institutional history of the court, including both its internal administration and external activities, in a novel monograph.
The project’s ambition is not only to offer new insights about the internal nature of the ECJ, but also to fundamentally reassess the role of the Court in the process of European integration. To do so, the work will highlight the extent to which the Court developed its own diplomacy vis-àvis the other European institutions, national governments and courts to underpin its controversial constitutional interpretation of European law.
The presentation will focus on three core themes of the project. First, the author will examine the methodological challenges of writing a history of the ECJ. Second, he will discuss the periodisation and interpretation of the history of European law from 1950 to 1993. Finally, he will present the strengths and weaknesses of the archival material available to reflect upon what kind of insights historical methodology can produce.