Multilingual Legal Discourse at the Court of Justice of the European Union

  • 1 Jan Dlugosz University in Częstochowa, Faculty of Law and Economics, 42-200, Częstochowa, Poland


The European Union is an organisation that uses multiple languages, and its law is no exception. Dealing with over twenty authentic language versions of EU legislation appears to represent an additional challenge in the interpretation of the provisions of the common legal order. Unlike most other works, this article does not focus on the process of interpretation conducted by an adjudicating panel or an Advocate General, but rather on the statements of the parties involved in a dispute, or on the national courts that request a preliminary ruling when referring to multilingualism.

This work is divided into two separate parts. Firstly, the author focuses on cases whereby a national court or a party invokes the multilingual character of EU law. The second part is dedicated to the issue of multilingualism in EU case law. Unlike EU law, the judgments of the Court of Justice, as well as the Advocate Generals’ opinions, are authentic in certain languages only. However, research has proven that a solitary, authentic language version does not help to avoid problems the multilingual nature of European Union’s legal discourse.

Both issues have been analysed based on the texts of judgments and opinions passed in cases recently resolved by the CJEU. Of course, the statements of the parties or national courts referring to multilingualism do not always have a great influence on the final result of the case. Nevertheless, the unique perspective taken in this article can serve as a good illustration of the various possibilities one can make use of when using multilingual comparison in the process of legal interpretation.

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