Joseph H. H. Weiler

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Joseph H. H. Weiler at The State of the Union 2013, European University Institute.

Joseph Halevi Horowitz Weiler (born 1951 in Johannesburg, South Africa) is Joseph Straus Professor of Law and European Union Jean Monnet Chair at New York University Law School and President of the European University Institute in Florence.[1] He holds a diploma from the Hague Academy of International Law, Weiler is the author of works relating to the sui generis character of the European Union. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. On 7 December 2012 the European University Institute's High Council approved his selection as the European University Institute's new President. He started his term on 1 September 2013.


He holds degrees from Sussex (B.A.); Cambridge (LL.B. and LL.M.) and The Hague Academy of International Law (Diploma of International Law); he earned his Ph.D. in European Law at the EUI, Florence. He is recipient of Doctorates Honoris Causa from London University, Sussex University, the University of Macerata and the University of Navarra and is Honorary Senator of the University of Ljubljana.

From 1978 to 1985 he was member of the Department of Law at the European University Institute, Florence, where in 1989 he was co-founder of its Academy of European Law. He later served as Professor of Law at the University of Michigan Law School (1985–1992) and as Manley Hudson Professor and Jean Monnet Chair at Harvard Law School (1992–2001).

He has been Visiting Professor at, among others, the University of Paris, the Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris (Sciences Po), the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the Max Planck Institute for International Law at Heidelberg, the College of Europe in Bruges, All Souls College, Oxford, Chicago Law School, Stanford Law School, Yale Law School, the Ortega y Gasset Institute, Madrid, the University of Toronto, the University of Frankfurt, the University of Ljubljana and Católica Global School of Law.

One of the topics of his specific interest is the influence of (Christian) church on European integration. Weiler contributes to the legal theory of European integration, he writes on many areas of EU law (internal market, external relations, social law, and above all, institutional law). He is a particular authority on the role of the European Court of Justice.

Court cases[edit]

Dr Karin Calvo-Goller libel action[edit]

Weiler was a defendant in a criminal libel action brought in the French courts by Dr Karin Calvo-Goller of the Academic Center of Law and Business[2] concerning a review of her book, The Trial Proceedings of the International Criminal Court. ICTY and ICTR Precedents (Martinus Nijhoff, 2006) that appeared on the Global Law Books website[3] that Weiler edits. The review was written by Professor Thomas Weigend of the University of Cologne who had at this time never written on the subject of International Criminal Procedure. Calvo-Goller contended that it was libelous. Upon complaint by Calvo-Goller, Weiler declined, even temporarily,to remove the review from the website and Calvo-Goller subsequently filed suit. Weiler published on the web the letters exchanged, without her authorization, and asked hundred of academics, journals and reviewers to send him Letters of Supports through the EJIL.

The suit was notable for the issues that it raised concerning the balance between academic freedom and the rights of those who consider themselves to have been libeled.[4][5]

The Dean of the Investigating Judges of Paris accepted Calvo-Goller's complaint and the District Attorney decided to bring suit against Weiler. After several postponements requested by Weiler, the case was heard by the Tribunal de Grand Instance de Paris on January 20, 2011, with the verdict handed down in Paris on March 3, 2011, dismissing the lawsuit.[6]

The day of the hearings Weiler's lawyer submitted to Calvo-Goller's lawyer hundreds of Letters of Support and two articles published in the newspaper Le Monde, written by academics who argued that world academic freedom was at stake. In penal cases, French law does not see this late communication as a violation of any right but only a violation of lawyers rules of Ethics.

In its verdict, the Paris Tribunal said it had no jurisdiction in the case since Calvo-Goller did not bring proof by a court-appointed clerk that the book review website was visible in French territory the day or before the day she brought the case to the dean of the investigating judges in Paris. The Paris Tribunal also declared that the words used by Weigend did not constitute libel and were within the limits of free critical book review speech. The court said his words in the review were measured, and the court therefore dismissed the case. The court ordered Calvo-Goller to pay 8,000 euros (around US$10.000 ) in damages to Dr Weiler to cover his expenses. Excerpts from an unofficial translation of the verdict has been posted by Weiler at the EJIL:Talk website.[7]

Excerpts from a Chronicle of Higher Education interview with Calvo-Goller after the verdict dismissing the lawsuit became final were published on March 11, 2011.[8]

Professor Kai Ambos, - Professor of Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, Comparative Law and International Criminal Law at the University of Göttingen; head of section ‘‘Foreign an International Criminal Law’’, Institute for Criminal Law & Criminal Justice;; Judge at the State court (Landgericht) Gottingen; Book Review Editor of Criminal Law Forum, published a review of her book in the Criminal Law Forum, December 2006, Volume 17, Issue 3-4, pp 355–359: "This book, to the best of the knowledge of this reviewer, is the first Comprehensive publication on the trial proceedings of the International Criminal Court (ICC), the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR)...The main contribution of this well written and excellently researched study is its emphasis on the importance of a fair trial for the suspect/accused. Let me highlight this with regard to two areas dealt with excellently in the book. First, the author’s comprehensive and balanced examination of the disclosure rights of the accused and their possible conflict with the need of witness protection deserves special mention. The second aspect to be highlighted refers to the delicate status of the suspect during investigation in the system of the Ad Hoc Tribunals. These are but only two examples where the study takes up aspects of international criminal procedure which are highly relevant for the rights of the accused. This alone makes the book an invaluable tool for defence lawyers, as well as representatives of the victims. In addition, the exhaustive analysis of the case law of the International Criminal Tribunals and the systematic explanation of international criminal procedure converts the study into a leading textbook and research source on international criminal procedure, indispensable for everybody working in this complex field.In conclusion, this book can be highly recommended: Karin Calvo-Goller wrote a refreshing, unprecedented analysis of the ICC’s procedural system."[9]

For Calvo-Goller's view of the libel case, see Karin Calvo-Goller v. Joseph Weiler."[10]

Calvo-Goller published in 2012 a new book, La Procedure devant la Cour Pénale Internationale, Ed. Lextenso, prefaced by Pr. Robert Badinter.

Lautsi vs. Italy[edit]

In June 2010 Weiler intervened pro bono on behalf of eight governments before the Great Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights in the case Lautsi v. Italy. He was defending Italy's right to display the crucifix in public school classrooms.[11] In reversal of the decision of the first chamber the Great Chamber ruled that the display of crucifixes in Italian classrooms do not contradict the European Convention of Human Rights.

In an interview Weiler stated, that he was intervening on behalf of Italy, not because he wanted to defend Christianity but to defend pluralism.[12]


  • J.H.H. Weiler is University Professor at NYU. He serves too as the Joseph Straus Professor of Law and European Union Jean Monnet Chair at NYU School of Law.
  • Professor Weiler is the Chairman of the Hauser Global Law School Program and Director of the Jean Monnet Center for International and Regional Economic Law & Justice at NYU.
  • He is, along with Professor Moshe Halbertal, the Chairman and Director of The Tikva Center for Law and Jewish Civilization at NYU.
  • He is, too, Professor at the College of Europe in Bruges, Belgium and Natolin, Poland; Director of LL.M. "Law in a European and Global Context" at the Católica Global School of Law, Lisbon; Honorary Professor at University College, London; Honorary Professor at the Department of Political Science, University of Copenhagen and Co-Director of the Academy of International Trade Law in Macao, China.
  • He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
  • He is a Reporter of the American Law Institute (International trade: WTO).
  • He served as a Member of the Committee of Jurists of the Institutional Affairs Committee of the European Parliament co-drafting the European Parliament's Declaration of Human Rights and Freedoms.
  • He was a member of the Groupe des Sages advising the Commission of the European Union on the 1996/97 Amsterdam Treaty.
  • He is a WTO Panel Member.
  • He is a founding Editor of the European Journal of International Law, of the European Law Journal and of the World Trade Review.
  • He is a Member of the Advisory Boards or Scientific Committees of the Journal of Common Market Studies, Cahiers de Droit Européeen, Common Market Law Review, European Foreign Affairs Review, the Maastricht Journal of European and Comparative Law, the Columbia Journal of European Law, the Harvard International Review, the Harvard International Law Journal, the (Australian) Federal Law Review, the Journal of European Integration, the European Foreign Policy Bulletin online and ELSA-Selected Papers of European Law. He is a Member of the Board of Management of the European Research Paper Archive.
  • He is also a Member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Asia-Pacific Journal of EU Studies.
  • He is a Council Member of the Centre for European Economic and Public Affairs, University College, Dublin, a Member of the Board of the Centre for the Law of the European Union at University College, London, Member of the International Advisory Board, Queen's University, Belfast, U.K. and at the Ortega y Gasset Institute, Madrid, Spain.
  • He is Member of the Advisory Council of the Interdisciplinary University Center, Herzelia, Israel.
  • He is Member of the Advisory Board of the Center for International, Comparative Law, the Dickinson School of Law, PennState and Member of the International Council of the Institute for Global Legal Studies, Washington University School of Law, St. Louis and a board member of the Scientific Advisory Board at the Max-Planck-Institute fuer auslaendisches oeffentliches Recht und Voelkerrecht in Heidelberg, Germany.
  • He is a Member of the International Advisory Board of the Contemporary Europe Research Centre of the University of Melbourne, Australia and a Member of the International Board of the Concord Research Center at the College of Management, Israel.
  • He is a Council Member of the Association for Hebraic Studies, AHS Institute, USA. He is a member of the Editorial Board of the Jewish Review of Books.


  • Un'Europa Cristiana: Un saggio esplorativo" (BUR Saggi, Milano, 2003 - translations into Spanish, Polish, Portuguese, German
  • European Constitutionalism Beyond the State. Edited with Marlene Wind (Cambridge University Press, 2003)
  • Integration in an Expanding European Union: Reassessing the Fundamentals. Edited with Ian Begg and John Peterson (Blackwell Publishing, 2003)
  • The Constitution of Europe - do the New Clothes have an Emperor? (Cambridge University Press, 1998 - translations into Spanish, Italian, German, Slovenian, Japanese, Chinese, Greek, Serbian and Portuguese in print or in preparation)
  • The EU, the WTO, and the NAFTA: Towards a Common Law of International Trade? (Oxford University Press, 2000)
  • The European Court of Justice. Edited with Gráinne de Búrca, (Oxford University Press, 2001) and a Novella, Der Fall Steinmann (Piper 2000).


External links[edit]