9.1 Derlen

| June 30, 2021

Mattias Derlén. (2021). The Importance of the “Majority Meaning” in the Interpretation of Multilingual EU Law: Never? Well, Hardly Ever! International Journal of Law, Language & Discourse 9(1), 11-40.

Abstract: The existence of 24 official languages in the European Union creates unique challenges, not least in situations when a divergence of wording between the language versions is discovered. One way to resolve such a divergence is to give priority to the meaning indicated by the majority of language versions, the so-called “majority meaning”. This approach is thoroughly rejected by leading scholars and Advocates General at the Court of Justice. However, other scholars demonstrate a clear tendency of the Court of Justice to favour the interpretation indicated by the majority of language versions. The author attempts to resolve this contradiction by advancing a new, pluralistic understanding of the “majority meaning”, breaking it down into different forms with examples of their application by the Court of Justice. Furthermore, the fixed expressions used by the Court of Justice in the context of multilingual interpretation are analysed to understand the underlying values supporting the use of the “majority meaning”. It is demonstrated that the need for a uniform interpretation and application of EU law, as well as the importance of legislative intent, support adopting the meaning indicated by the majority of language versions. Consequently, the “majority meaning” cannot be so easily rejected.

Keywords: EU multilingualism, multilingual interpretation, majority meaning, uniformity, legislative intent


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Category: Volume 9