Key Biographies in the Legal History of European Union, 1950-1993

Frankfurt am Main
MPIeR, Hansaallee 41, 60323 Frankfurt am Main
Prof. Stefan Vogenauer / Dr. Philip Bajon Max-Planck-Institute für europäische Rechtsgeschichte
21.06.2018 - 22.06.2018
Dr. Philip Bajon

The history of European Union law is still to a large extent uncharted territory. This conference is based on the assumption that biographical approaches are a valuable addition to this new field.

For a long time during the last century, biographies were regarded as stale and reductionist. In the field of legal history they tended to focus on prominent jurists and doctrines, to the exclusion of the broader legal and historical context. General historians were criticized for their cradle to grave approach, which stressed the continuities and coherence of life over fragmentation, and for their inclination to give too much importance to one actor over other historical factors. It is only recently that the disciplines of history as well as law have returned to the biographical approach.

At the intersection of law and history, the historiographical turn in international law has been particularly successful. Following the lead of Finnish scholar Martti Koskenniemi, many scholars used biographies to analyse international law and its discourses over time. This intellectual history has been exceptionally sophisticated with respect to analysing the nuances of how the doctrines of international law were created and further developed. However, this strand of research was foremost produced with the purpose of contributing to contemporary theoretical debate in international law. Perhaps for this reason, and also because it was mostly written by legal scholars, it has with few exceptions ignored archival sources and generally not used the broader historiography of international history, nor did it contribute to his historiography.

Biographical approaches have also made a significant comeback in international history in recent years. Here, biographies have been used to transcend the national context and capture the social practice of the new international and transnational reality that emerged during the twentieth century. Biographical approaches, in particular when using private archives, have allowed historians to tap into the informal politics of international organisations and transnational networks, but also to trace the elusive links between worldviews, ideology, ideas and political practice. This approach can also be made fruitful for legal history because systematic archival research allows to explore the social practice that produces law and thus the intricate relationships between law, interests and institutional self-empowerment.

This conference invites both lawyers and historians to use their particular methodologies with regard to biographies of key figures in the history of European law. Such biographies will contribute to the development of the intellectual history of the field, focusing on the development of ideas and doctrines. At the same time they will explore the links between social practices and the broader context of law and legal thinking.


Thursday, 21 June 2018

08h Registration
08h30 Stefan Vogenauer and Philip Bajon (MPIeR Frankfurt): Welcome

PANEL I: ECJ 1950s-1970s
Chair: Anna Katharina Mangold (U Frankfurt)

08h40 Vera Fritz (U Aix-Marseille): Massimo Pilotti (1879-1962)
09h William Phelan (Trinity College Dublin): How to study the impact of Robert Lecourt on the European Court of Justice 1962-1976
09h20 Graham Butler (U Aarhus): Judge Max Sørensen at the Court of Justice of the European Communities, 1973-1979
09h40 Comment and Debate: Anthony Arnull (U Birmingham)

10h40 Coffee

Chair: Stefan Vogenauer (MPIeR)

11h10 Sandrine De Herdt (U Louvain): Jean-Charles Snoy et d’Oppuers (1907-1991)
11h30 Alexandre Bernier (U Copenhagen): Michel Debré (1912-1996)
11h50 Comment and Debate: Sigfrido Ramirez-Perez (MPIeR)

12h30 Lunch at Restaurant Sturm und Drang (Campus)

Chair: Ines Soldwisch (RWTH Aachen)

13h30 Stefan Kadelbach (U Frankfurt): Franz Böhm (1895-1977)
13h50 Felix Lange (U Humboldt Berlin): Hermann Mosler and the Beginnings of European law
14h10 Alexandra Kemmerer (MPIL Heidelberg): Law, Exile and the Making of a Transnational Constitution: A Life of Eric Stein
14h30 Comment and Debate: Matthias Goldmann (U Frankfurt)

15h30 Coffee

Chair: Anne Deighton (U Oxford)

16h Jan-Henrik Meyer (U Copenhagen): Taking the member states to court. Ludwig Krämer and the implementation of European Environmental Law in the 1980s and 1990s
16h20 Mala Loth (U Oslo): Carl Otto Lenz, the ECJ, and the Shaping of European Labour Law
16h40 Alessandro Rosano (U Padova): Walter van Gerven. Met rechte en rede
17h Comment and Debate: Felix Maultzsch (U Frankfurt)

19h30 Dinner at Ristorante Romanella, Wolfsgangstraße 84, 60322 Frankfurt am Main

Friday, 22 June 2018
Chair: Katja Seidel (U Westminster)

08h40 Frank Schorkopf (U Göttingen): Robert Krawielicki (1905-1966) – Director General of the Haute Autorité until 1966
09h Morten Rasmussen (U Copenhagen) and Anne Boerger (U Alberta): Michel Gaudet (1915-2003)
09h20 Comment and Debate: N.N.
10h20 Coffee
10h50 Bill Davies (American University Washington): Walter Much
11h10 Aude Cefallielo (U Glasgow): Occupational Health and Safety in the European Union: Alexandre Berlin’s testimony to fill the gaps of the socio-legal history
11h30 Comment and Debate: N.N.

12h30 Lunch at Restaurant Sturm und Drang (Campus)

Chair: Ines Soldwisch (RWTH Aachen)

13h30 Vincent Genin (U Liège): Fernand Dehousse (1906-1976)
13h50 Karin van Leeuwen (U Amsterdam): Ivo Samkalden (1912-1995)
14h10 Amedeo Arena (U Naples): The Mastermind behind Costa v. ENEL: Discovering Gian Galeazzo Stendardi
14h30 Comment and Debate: N.N.

15h30 Stefan Vogenauer (MPIeR): Conclusions

16h00 Coffee


Philip Bajon

MPIeR, Hansaallee 41, 60323 Frankfurt a. M.


Key Biographies in the Legal History of European Union, 1950-1993, 21.06.2018 – 22.06.2018 Frankfurt am Main, in: H-Soz-Kult, 17.05.2018, <>.