Professor Lookofsky delivered the Sixth Annual Herbert L. Bernstein Memorial Lecture in Comparative Law in 2007 and this article is based on his remarks. The article is included in the inaugural volume of CICLOPs that collects the first six Bernstein lectures.
As the European Union draws closer together as a single legal community, the states that comprise the EU and their various local subdivisions struggle to come to terms with the unification and universalization of EU laws across borders. The imposition of civil code practices, particularly in the area of private law, on EU member states has caused great consternation amongst states like Denmark, as they struggle not only with different laws but also with an entirely different form of legal thought.
The principle of “subsidiarity” was designed to help alleviate such growing pains. First established and defined in Article 5 of the Maastricht Treat of 1992, this principle is intended to ensure that decisions are taken “as closely as possible to the citizen,” and that the Community can only take action “if and insofar as the objectives of the proposed action cannot be sufficiently achieved by the [European] member states.”
In his Bernstein Memorial Lecture, Professor Lookofsky explains why he and other Danish jurists are seeking ― but not finding ― subsidiarity in the private law field.
Joseph M. Lookofsky, Desperately Seeking Subsidiarity: Danish Private Law in the Scandinavian, European and Global Context, 1 Center for International & Comparative Law Occasional Papers 111-130 (2009)