Department or Program



This thesis examines the role of the European Court of Justice in aiding Europe’s integrationist project with regards to law. Since the 1960s, the Union’s acknowledgement and protection of fundamental rights have evolved considerably; it has transitioned from a supranational polity in which guaranteed rights were shrouded in normative ambiguity and forming only “the general principles of Community law,” to that of a polity in which fundamental rights came to occupy their own sphere of influence, as the 2009 legal ratification of the Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms indicates. This thesis is specifically concerned with examining the degree to which the Court’s evolving human rights jurisprudence has served as a positive, integrative force in the ongoing construction of the E.U. It leverages neo-functionalism as a paradigm to explain not only how the Court’s rights-based adjudication enhances European integration, but also as a means of examining to what degree and under what conditions it does so. As such, this thesis analyzes various rights-oriented legal case studies, and it examines their outcomes from the analytical expectations of neo-functionalism as a means of gauging their integrative effects.

Level of Access

Open Access

First Advisor

Richter, James

Date of Graduation

Spring 5-2016

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Number of Pages


Open Access

Available to all.