Lunch seminar with Liana Muntean

The impact of the 2004 pivot languages system on the Advocate General’s opinions: Insights from qualitative interviews carried out at the CJEU


With the enlargement of 2004, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) introduced ‘pivot’ languages to make the process of translation more efficient and, for Advocates General (AGs) at the CJEU, this change has meant that they no longer draft their opinions in their mother tongue but are instead encouraged to draft in one of the pivot languages. This paper focuses on how the introduction of the 2004 “pivot” translation system at the CJEU may have affected AGs’ opinions and by extension the larger process of creating EU case law. It provides a rare insight and reflection on the individual experience of those involved in the drafting of AGs’ opinions by looking at empirical data gathered from in‑depth qualitative interviews carried out at the CJEU in Luxembourg with Advocates General, AGs’ référendaires and lawyer linguists.

The preliminary analysis of these interviews provides important insights into the diversity of working methods across individual AG cabinets and into the contribution of the various actors involved in drafting AG opinions. The role of lawyer linguists is especially noteworthy as the 2004 reform has resulted in them being tasked with providing linguistic assistance to AG cabinets in order to ensure that AG opinions are clear and unambiguous. The empirical data gathered from the interviews thus offers an outlook on these actors’ perceptions on whether AG opinions are gradually becoming more synthetic in construction and more constrained by the use of languages other than their mother tongues.

By drawing on empirical data in this way, the paper thus provides a unique insight into the role of AGs by integrating the individual experience and challenges encountered by the persons directly involved in the production of AGs’ opinions with more traditional doctrinal analysis.

All interested are welcome to attend. Registration is not necessary.