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Beyond Multilingualism: On Different Approaches to the Handling of Diverging Language Versions of a Community Law

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Abstract

This article deals with a problem created by the EU's multilingualism, the fallibility of translators and the ruses of politicians: for different reasons, it is quite common that equally authentic language versions of a Community law have different meanings if taken on their own. While the ECJ's uniform interpretation approach to this problem, which must be seen as required under the non-discrimination principle, has permitted equitable results in those cases decided by the ECJ, it would not be adequate for the simplest type of case, ie that a citizen has every reason to trust her own language version of a law. In such a case, her legitimate expectations in the equal authenticity of that version requires protection. De lege lata the article therefore proposes, in the interest of generally equitable solutions, a balancing, in the individual case, of the protection of legitimate expectations and the non-discrimination principle. De lege ferenda it proposes a more radical solution, ie that there be only one authentic version of every Community law.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Humboldt University Berlin, Faculty of Law; Universitatea de Vest din Timisoara, Faculty of Political Sciences, Philosophy and Communication Sciences, DAIBES

Publication date: 2010-01-01

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