Damian Chalmers

Damian Chalmers

Email: d.chalmers@lse.ac.uk
Administrative support: Jade Vickery
Room: NAB 5.07
Tel. 020-7955-7263

Damian Chalmers is Professor of European Union Law and UK in a Changing Europe ESRC Senior Fellow. His visiting positions include being a Jean Monnet Fellow at the European University Institute (2003-2004) and Visiting Professorships at the College of Europe and the Instituto de Empresa.

see also Damian Chalmers's LSE Experts page

Research Interests

I am interested in the relationship between European Union law and its and domestic systems of government. I am currently working on a number of topics. The central one is if the European Union can never by democratic what processes could be installed to protect democracy within the United Kingdom if it wishes to remain within the European Union. The other project on which I am working looks at the patterns of litigation before EU courts to see who really uses EU law and whether that should shape how we look at it. My medium term project is a monograph on what vision of the human condition is taken by EU law. My assumption is that this vision of ourselves is both the central identifying element of EU law and one of its most challenging elements.

External Activities
  • Editorial Boards of Global Constitutionalism, Journal of Business Law Education, Croatian Yearbook of European Legal Studies, Fundação Getulio Vargas Law Review and Cambridge Studies in Constitutional Law.

  • Strauss Fellow, NYU (2011); Fellow of Austrian Institute of Advanced Studies (2011); Visiting Professorships NUS (2012), Fundação Getulio Vargas (2010)


(with M. Jachtenfuchs & C. Joerges) (ed.) The End of the Eurocrats’ Dream (2016, CUP)

This volume argues that the crisis of the European Union is not merely a fiscal crisis but reveals and amplifies deeper flaws in the structure of the EU itself. It is a multidimensional crisis of the economic, legal and political cornerstones of European integration and marks the end of the technocratic mode of integration which has been dominant since the 1950s. The EU has a weak political and administrative centre, relies excessively on governance by law, is challenged by increasing heterogeneity and displays increasingly interlocked levels of government. During the crisis, it has become more and more asymmetrical and has intervened massively in domestic economic and legal systems. A team of economists, lawyers, philosophers and political scientists analyze these deeper dimensions of the European crisis from a broader theoretical perspective with a view towards contributing to a better understanding and shaping the trajectory of the EU.

(with A. Arnull) (eds) Oxford Handbook of EU Law (2015, OUP)

Since its formation the European Union has expanded beyond all expectations, and this expansion seems set to continue as more countries seek accession and the scope of EU law expands, touching more and more aspects of its citizens' lives. The EU has never been stronger and yet it now appears to be reaching a crisis point, beset on all sides by conflict and challenges to its legitimacy. Nationalist sentiment is on the rise and the Eurozone crisis has had a deep and lasting impact. EU law, always controversial, continues to perplex, not least because it remains difficult to analyse. What is the EU? An international organization, or a federation? Should its legal concepts be measured against national standards, or another norm?

(with G. Davies and G. Monti) European Union Law  (2014, CUP)

This eagerly awaited new edition has been significantly revised after extensive user feedback to meet current teaching requirements. The first major textbook to be published since the rejuvenation of the Lisbon Treaty, it retains the best elements of the first edition – the engaging, easily understandable writing style, extracts from a variety of sources showing the creation, interpretation and application of the law and comprehensive coverage. In addition it has separate chapters on EU law in national courts, governance and external relations reflecting the new directions in which the field is moving. The examination of the free movement of goods and competition law has been restructured. Chapter introductions clearly set out what will be covered in each section allowing students to approach complex material with confidence and detailed further reading sections encourage further study. Put simply, it is required reading for all serious students of EU law.

 click here for publisher's site

European Union Public Law (With Adam Tomkins) (2007, Cambridge University Press, lix, 501 pp)

Selected articles
and chapters in books

'Gina Miller and the last gasp of parliamentary sovereignty?' Maastricht Journal (2017) 24 (1) pp.3-5

‘Alternatives to EU Membership and the Rational Imagination’ (2016) 87(2) Political Quarterly 269–279

‘The Persona of EU Law’ 89-108 in L Azoulai, S. Barbou des Places and E. Pataut (eds), Ideas of the Person and Personhood in EU Law (2016, Hart, Oxford)

(with Sarah Trotter) 'Fundamental rights and legal wrongs: the two sides of the same EU coin' E.L.J. 2016, 22 (1) pp.9-39.

This article argues that the relationship of EU fundamental rights to the rest of EU law can only be understood if the former are seen as an integral part of a general vision of what EU law is about. This vision conceives EU law as concerned to secure the government of a European political economy. In turn, it has come to shape the interpretation and incidence of EU fundamental rights with the latter conceived as a central tool for incorporating the individual into and asserting her place within the government of the European political economy. A paradox has therefore emerged. EU fundamental rights have become ever more pervasive in EU law, and it is couched more frequently in their terms, but these same fundamental rights seem ineffectual to deal with the suffering caused by events such as the crisis.

‘Crisis Reconfiguration of the European State’ 266-298 in D. Chalmers, M. Jachtenfuchs & C. Joerges (ed.) The End of the Eurocrats’ Dream (2016, CUP)

(with M. Jachtenfuchs and C. Joerges) ‘The Retransformation of Europe’ 1-25 in D. Chalmers, M. Jachtenfuchs & C. Joerges (eds) The End of the Eurocrats’ Dream (2016, CUP)

‘Judicial Performance, Design and Membership at the Court of Justice’ 51-78 in M. Bobek (ed) Selecting Europe’s Judges (2015, OUP)

‘The Democratic Ambiguity of EU Law-Making and Its Enemies’ 303-326 in A. Arnull & D. Chalmers (eds) Oxford Handbook of EU Law (2015, OUP)

‘Icesave - Limited Homogeneity and Unlimited Judicial Interpretation’ in C. Baudenbacher (ed) The EEA and the EFTA Court (2014, Hart) 407-417

'What Van Gend en Loos stands for' International Journal of Constitutional Law (2014) 12 (1) pp.105-134

Three transformational developments flowed from Van Gend en Loos: the central symbols and ideals of EU law; an autonomous legal order with more power than traditional treaties; and a system of individual rights and duties. The judgment also set out how each of these developments was to be deployed. The symbols and ideals were set out to proclaim EU authority rather than to go to what the EU did. What the EU did was, above all, government through law. The EU legal order was conceived, above all, therefore, as a vehicle for the expression of EU government. This, in turn, shaped the allocation of individual rights which were predominantly granted only where they furthered the realization of the collective objectives of EU government. Conceiving EU law as governmental law also left a profound and negative effect on EU legal meaning. This became shaped by EU law being reduced to something to sustain activities valued by EU government rather than to provide a wider, more emancipatory imaginary.

(with Mariana Chaves) ‘EU law-making and the state of European democratic agency’ in S. Hobolt & O. Cramme (ed) Democratic Politics in a European Union under Stress (2014, OUP) pp.155-179

(with Mariana Chaves) 'The reference points of EU judicial politics' Journal of European public policy (2012) 19 (1). pp. 25-42. ISSN 1350-1763

'Introduction: the conflicts of EU Law and the conflicts in EU law' European law journal (2012) 18 (5). pp. 607-620.

'The European redistributive state and a European law of struggle' European law journal (2012) 18 (5). pp. 667-693.

'Looking back at ERT and its contribution to the EU fundamental rights agenda'  In: Azoulai, L. and Maduro, M., (eds.) The past and future of EU law: the classics of EU law revisited on the 50th anniversary of the Rome Treaty.  (2010 Hart Publishing Ltd)

'Gauging the Cumbersomeness of EU Law' (2009) Current Legal Problems  62 (1). pp. 405-439

'The Politics of European Reason and New Reasons for European Politics: the European Union Fundamental Rights Agency' in Vos (ed) Fifty Years of European Integration (2009, Kluwer)  pp.77-112

'Looking Back at ERT and Its Contribution to an EU Fundamental Rights Agenda' in M. Maduro & L. Azoulay (ed) The ECJ After Fifty Years (2009, Hart)

'Constituent Power and the Pluralist Ethic' 291-315 in Loughlin & Walker (ed) The Paradox of Constitutionalism (2007, OUP)

The book sets out to examine some of the key features of what we describe as the paradox of constitutionalism: whether those who have the authority to make a constitution - the 'constituent power' - can do so without effectively surrendering that authority to the institutional sites of power 'constituted' by the constitutional form they enact. In particular, is the constituent power exhausted in the single constitutive act or does it retain a presence, acting as a critical check on the constitutional operating system and/or an alternative source of authority to be invoked in moments of crisis? These questions have been debated both in different national contexts and at the level of constitutional theory, and these debates are acknowledged and developed in the first two sections of the book.

'Political Rights and Political Reason in European Union Law in Times of Stress' 55-83 in Sadurski (ed) Political Rights under stress in 21st century Europe (2006, OUP)

'Private Power and Public Authority in European Union Law' (2005-6) 8 Cambridge Yearbook of European Legal Studies 59-94

'The Government and Citizenship of Self Regulation' 161-189 in Cafaggi (ed) Reframing Self Regulation in European Private Law (2006, Kluwer)

In this thought-provoking book thirteen outstanding authorities from various EU jurisdictions examine the legal basis of self-regulation and its function in the process of European legal integration, with particular reference to European private law.

'Administrative Globalisation and Curbing the Excesses of the Nation State' 351-380 in Joerges & Petersmann (eds) Constitutionalism, Multilevel Trade Governance and Social Regulation (2006, Hart)

This is a book about the ever more complex legal networks of transnational economic governance structures and their legitimacy problems. It takes up the challenge of the editors' earlier pioneering works which have called for more cross-sectoral and interdisciplinary analyses by scholars of international law, European and international economic law, private international law, international relations theory and social philosophy to examine the interdependences of multilevel governance in transnational economic, social, environmental and legal relations. Two complementary strands of theorising are expounded. One argues that globalisation and the universal recognition of human rights are transforming the intergovernmental "society of states" into a cosmopolitan community of citizens which requires more effective constitutional safeguards for protecting human rights and consumer welfare in the national and international governance and legal regulation of international trade. The second emphasises the dependence of the functioning of international markets and liberal trade on governance arrangements which respond credibly to safety and environmental concerns of consumers, traders, political and non-governmental actors. Enquiries into the generation of international standards and empirical analyses of legalization and judizialisation practices form part of this agenda.

'Judicial Understandings of the Authority of EC Law in the United Kingdom' 151-170 in Bapuly, Riekmann & Slominksi (eds) Europäisierung durch Recht: Zwischen Anspruch und Wirklichkeit (2005, Nomos)

'The Court of Justice and the Constitutional Treaty' (2005) 4 I-CON 428-453

'Judicial Authority and the Constitutional Treaty' (2005) International Journal of Constitutional Law (ICon) 3.2 (448).

'Risk, Anxiety and the European Mediation of the Politics of Life' (2005) 30 European Law Review 649-675

Discusses how the regulation of genetically modified (GM) food and feed by the European Food Safety Authority reveals the mediation which occurs between the politics of hazard and the politics of anxiety. Outlines the legal framework governing the marketing of such food and reflects on the operation of the politics of genetic hazard in relation to three GM products.

'The Reconstitution of Europe's Public Spheres' (2003) 9 European Law Journal 127-189

The strength of participation in its political processes has increasingly become the yardstick against which the legitimacy of the European Union is measured. Yet experiments in deliberative and participatory democracy suggest that their practice invariably falls short of their lofty ideals. A reason is their failure to consider the process of communication itself. As understanding of communication is constituted through a number of surrounding communicative contexts, communication, per se, can never be said to be good or bad. More important is a constitutional framework for communication which provides the contexts—performative, institutional and epistemic—that enable communication to contribute to particular, desirable ideals. This piece will argue that a deliberative approach to European governance involves a process of justification in which the three practical tasks of the European Union—polity-building, problem-solving and the negotiation of political community—are debated and resolved around the four values that have underpinned the development of politics as a productive process—those of transformation, validity, relationality and self-government. The organisational reform required for this involves a wide-ranging revisiting of the structures of the European polity.

'"Food for Thought": Reconciling European Risks and Traditional Ways of Life' (2003) 66 Modern Law Review 532-562

The European Food Safety Authority marks a new stage in European Union governance. It has no direct regulatory powers, but is entrusted with developing norms of food safety, which are to inform the material content of EC food law. The hope is that its independence and expertise will restore popular confidence both in the EU and in the food we eat. The irreducible nature of lay-expert conflicts about hazard suggests that a more likely scenario is that such disputes become recast as opposition to EC law. Such conflict is most likely to manifest itself in national courts through challenges to or non-compliance with EC law. The current principles for resolution of such conflicts are hopelessly outmoded. The article, therefore, argues for a constitutional resettlement, which sets out principles germane to the nature of the EC regime, namely that of a multi-level regulatory State. It argues for a new defence of regulatory balance. Individuals could argue for the disapplication of EC norms where these violated a valued local regime which had given consideration to the issues raised in the EC legislation and whose positive value to its subjects exceeded its negative impact on the interests protected by the EC legislation.

'The Mistakes of the Good European' in Fredman (ed) Discrimination and Human Rights: The Case of Racism (2001, OUP) 193-247

This set of essays provides and important contribution to the debate about the role of human rights law in combating racism. The first essay examines the right to equality in the context of racism, drawing on a wide range of international and comparative sources to create a critical framework of analysis. The second essay locates the discussion within the context of multi-culturalism, ethnicity, and group rights, with specific reference to ethnicity within Europe. The next set of essays is concerned with international istruments to address racism, followed by a critical examination of the newly developed race discrimination directive at EU level. The particular problem of race hatred on the internet is examined in the seventh chapter, followed by an important discussion of enforcement and remedial structures.

'Postnationalism and the Quest for Constitutional Substitutes' (2000) 27 Journal of Law & Society 178-217

Post-nationalism is suggestive of a number of transformations in the practice of both law and politics. In the case of politics, it implies an assertion of the salience of the organization of scale, time, and individual subjectivity in the practice of politics, yet a corresponding acknowledgement that traditional administrative structures have lost their hegemony over organization of these phenomena. In the case of law, it implies a legal pluralism caused in part by administrative differentiation, but also brought about an increase in the number and types of organization that have private 'law-making' capacities. These processes are particular disruptive for the modern constitution, which has traditionally been identified as a central instrument in the recognition, co-ordination, interaction, and self-legitimation of law and politics. This begs the question as to what processes are carrying out tasks that have traditionally been associated with the modern constitution. This essay argues that the fluidity and complexity of these processes entail that they must lie in the processes of interaction themselves. In particular, it argues that the central 'constitutional substitute' is the individual act of recognizing organizations as having political and legal attributes. For the process of recognition contains two structures which serve to organize and legitimize interaction. Any act of 'constitutional' recognition requires, first, a process of prior evaluation on the part of the observer that requires the organization to justify itself to the observer. The according of recognition, by contrast, entails that the observer respect the organization as having the autonomy to impose and represent itself politically. This respect allow the organization to order legal and political life.

'The Positioning of EU Judicial Politics within the United Kingdom' (2000) 23 West European Politics 169-210


Reports / discussion papers

'Democratic Self-Government in Europe: Domestic Solutions to the EU Legitimacy Crisis' policy network paper (2013)

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'Constitutional Reason in An Age of Terror' Global Law Working Paper 6/04

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