Nial Fennelly


The object of all interpretation lies in the true intention of the lawmakers, whether they be framers of a constitution or a treaty, legislators, or drafters of secondary legislation. Its pursuit at The Court of Justice of the European Communities demands of the common lawyer a readiness to set sail from the secure anchorage and protected haven of “plain words” and to explore the wider seas of purpose and context. This Essay is an attempt to enunciate the essential elements of the Court's approach to legal interpretation, by the only Irish Advocate General to be appointed to that Court to date and to draw attention to some of its most notable practical applications.