Skip to main navigation menu Skip to main content Skip to site footer

Legal Language and EU Integration. The Case of the Western Balkans


This paper investigates whether the Western Balkans, in particular four case study countries of the former Yugoslavia (Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Montenegro) can be seen as a particular region in terms of legal language and legal culture. By examining legal language and legal translation within the EU accession process, this paper argues that nation state formation and ethnic conflict had little impact on legal languages and cultures which remained very similar in these four countries after the break-up of Yugoslavia. Furthermore, through analysis based on neo-functionalist theory of EU integration, this paper explains how legal translation, though not a part of a deliberate EU enlargement strategy, becomes a vehicle of further EU integration as a result of political spill-over. It is particularly relevant in the case of the Western Balkans whereby both the European Commission and the sub-national bureaucracies make a full use of a common legal language and culture to their advantage to facilitate the accession process through the lens of legal translation. The paper concludes that the four countries of the Western Balkans can be viewed as a particular and unique region resulting from a shared legal language and culture which may have potential implications for the EU’s policy of multilingualism.

Cite as: Čavoški, JLL 7 (2018), 70–96, DOI: 10.14762/jll.2018.070

صندلی اداری سرور مجازی ایران Decentralized Exchange


Western Balkans, EU integration, legal language and culture, neo-functionalism, legal translation, European Commission, sub-national technocrats



  1. Allen, Michael J. (2015). Criminal Law. 13th Edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  2. Barbour, Stephen & Carmichael, Cathie (Eds.) (2000). Language and Nationalism in Europe. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  3. Biel, Łucja (2007). Translation of Multilingual EU Law as a Sub-genre of Legal Translation. In Kierzkowska (Ed.), Court Interpreting and Legal Translation in the Enlarged Europe 2006 (pp. 144–163). Warszawa: Translegis.
  4. Bugarski, Ranko (2012). Language, identity and borders in the former Serbo-Croatian area. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, 33(3), 219–235. DOI: 10.1080/01434632.2012.663376.
  5. Burke, Peter (2004). Languages and Communities in Early Modern Europe. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  6. Čavoški, Aleksandra (2017). Interaction of Law and Language in the EU. JoSTrans – The Journal of Specialised Translation, 27, 58–74. Available at
  7. Cunningham, Christina (2001). Translating for a Larger Union – Can We Cope with More than 11 Languages? Terminologie et Traduction, 2, 22–33.
  8. Derlén, Mattias (2011). In defence of (limited) multilingualism. In Kjær & Adamo (Eds.), Linguistic Diversity and European Democracy (pp. 143–166). Farnham: Ashgate.
  9. EU Council (1993). Presidency Conclusions, Copenhagen European Council – 21-22 June 1993. Available at
  10. EU Council (2005). Presidency Conclusions 10255/1/05 REV 1 of the Brussels European Council (16 and 17 June 2005). Available at
  11. European Commission (2010). Studies on translation and multilingualism: Lawmaking in the EU multilingual environment. 1/2010. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union.
  12. Friedman, Lawrence M. (2006). The Place of Legal Culture in the Sociology of Law. In Freeman (Ed.) Law and Sociology. Oxford Scholarship Online. DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199282548.003.0011.
  13. Gozzi, Paolo (2001). Translation of the Acquis Communautaire: Recent Experiences in Countries Preparing for Membership. In Šarčević (Ed.), Legal Translation: Preparation for Accession to the European Union (pp. 23–34x). Rijeka: Faculty of Law University of Rijeka.
  14. Greenberg, Robert David (2008). Languages and Identity in the Balkans. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  15. Haas, Ernest B. (1958). The Uniting of Europe. Stanford: Stanford University Press.
  16. Kersting, Norbert (2011). Nation Building. In Badie, Berg-Schlosser & Morlino (Eds.), International Encyclopaedia of Political Science. Sage Publications 2011. DOI: 10.4135/9781412994163.
  17. Luttermann, Karin (2009). Multilingualism in the European Union Status quo and perspectives: The reference language model. In Grewendorf (Ed.), Formal Linguistics and Law (pp. 315–338). Berlin, New York: De Gruyter.
  18. Mattila, Heikki E. S. (2006). Comparative Legal Linguistics. Aldershor, Burlington: Ashgate Publishing Limited.
  19. McAuliffe, Karen (2014). Translating Ambiguity. Journal of Comparative Law, 9(2), 65–87.
  20. Merryman, John Henry & Pérdamo, Rogelio (2007). The civil law tradition: an introduction to the legal systems of Europe and Latin America. 3rd Edition. Stanford: Stanford University Press.
  21. Moravcsik, Andrew (1993). Preferences and Power in the European Community: A Liberal Intergovernmentalist Approach. Journal of Common Market Studies, 31(4), 473–524. DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-5965.1993.tb00477.x.
  22. Nelken, David (2012). Legal culture. In Smits (Ed.), Elgar Encyclopaedia of Comparative Law (pp. 480–491). Edward Elgar Publishing. DOI: 10.4337/9781781006108.00044.
  23. Ramljak, Snježana (2008). “Jezično” pristupanje Hrvatske Europskoj Uniji: prevođenje pravne stečevine i europsko nazivlje. Politička misao, XLV(1), 159–177.
  24. Šarčević, Susan (2013). Multilingual lawmaking and legal (un)certainty in the European Union. International Journal of Law, Language & Discourse, 3(1), 1–29. Available at uploads/pdf/volume%203.1%202013.pdf.
  25. Šarčević, Susan (Ed.) (2001). Legal Translation: Preparation for Accession to the European Union. Rijeka: Faculty of Law University of Rijeka.
  26. Schilling, Theodor (2010). Beyond Multilingualism: On Different Approaches to the Handling of Diverging Language Versions of a Community Law. European Law Journal, 16(1), 47–66. DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-0386.2009.00496.x.
  27. Schmitter, Philippe C. (2002). Neo-neo-functionalism. European University Institute. Available at
  28. Schmitter, Philippe C. (2005). Ernst B. Haas and the legacy of neofunctionalism. Journal of European Public Policy, 12(2), 255–272. DOI: 10.1080/13501760500043951.
  29. Sedlo, Marko (2013). Razvoj građanskog parničnog procesnog prava u SFRJ. Pravnik, 46, 1(93), 55–80.
  30. Sito-Sučić, Daria (1996). The Fragmentation of Serbo-Croatian into Three New Languages. Transition, 2(24), 10–13.
  31. Slaughter, Anne-Marie & Mattli, Walter (1993). Europe Before the Court: A Political Theory of Legal Integration. Reprinted in Simmons & Steinberg (Eds.) International Law and International Relations. An International Organization Reader, 2012 (pp. 457–485). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511808760.021.
  32. Stanković, Obrad (1968). Novčana naknada neimovinske štete. Beograd: Savremena administracija.
  33. Tiersma, Peter (1999). Legal Language. Chicago, London: University of Chicago Press.
فروشگاه اینترنتی صندلی اداری