Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences

Law Research Seminar

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PGCE Open day

Who this event is for

  • Everyone


JHB 202, John Henry Brookes Building (JHB), Headington Campus, Gipsy Lane site


You are kindly invited to the following School of Law Research Seminar on Wednesday 20 February from 14:00 – 15:00 in JHB 202.

'A Theory of Normative Conflict for the European Union: towards a European Preemption Doctrine?' with professor Amedeo Arena. 

A Theory of Normative Conflict for the European Union: towards a European Preemption Doctrine?
EU law includes a doctrine that determines how conflicts with Member States’ law ought to be solved (primacy), but not one that determines when EU and national law should be regarded as being in conflict. Apparently, the ECJ makes that determination on a case-by-case basis.

Other federal systems, such as the US, Canada, Australia, and the Andean Community, instead, have developed elaborate doctrines (federal preemption, paramountcy, supremacy, preemption andina) encompassing a series of judicial tests to determine when federal law is in conflict with the law of the federated entities.

The purpose of this project is to assess whether the ECJ follows some recurring patterns in ascertaining conflicts between EU and national law and whether those patterns may be assembled into an EU theory of normative conflict, or a European Preemption Doctrine.

That theory would provide a clearer picture of the actual division of powers between the EU and the Member States than the competence catalogue, in that it reveals to what extent EU law actually constrains (rather than should constrain) national law-making and treaty-making powers.

Moreover, that theory enables a more meaningful debate on the locus of sovereignty than the controversy on the “absolute” character or EU primacy or on  divisive and elusive concepts such as that of “national identity”.

This project advocates the need for an express recognition of the doctrine of EU preemption by the ECJ, so as to promote legal certainty, to protect national prerogatives, to reduce transaction costs, and to facilitate decision-making at the EU level.

Short Biography
Amedeo Arena is Associate Professor of European Union Law at the University of Naples “Federico II” (est. 1224).
Amedeo graduated in Law summa cum laude from the University of Rome, holds LLM degrees from King’s College London and New York University, and completed a PhD at the University of Naples “Federico II”.
Amedeo was visiting researcher at University of California Berkeley and University College London; he was visiting professor, inter alia, at Leiden Europa Institute, KU Leuven, and Sheffield University; he gave faculty seminars or public lectures  at several universities, including Stanford, Columbia, and Cambridge.