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One Market, Two Courts: Legal Pluralism vs. Homogeneity in the European Economic Area

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image of Nordic Journal of International Law

In this article the apparent incompatibility between the judicial architecture of the European Economic Area (EEA) and the overall goal of uniform interpretation and application of the common rules in all EEA States is examined. In practice, homogeneity appears achievable only if the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) Court succumbs to the European Court of Justice (ECJ), granting the latter the final word on the interpretation of the EEA Agreement. It is argued that, as far as substantive EEA law is concerned, this is exactly what the EFTA Court has done over the past 17 years of the EEA's existence. The result is a well-functioning EEA Agreement. The price to pay for the EFTA States is the revelation of the perhaps inconvenient truth that the de facto supreme authority on the interpretation of EEA law rests with the ECJ.

Affiliations: 1: Research Fellow, Faculty of Law, University of Bergen, Norway


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