Europeanization of Legal Culture: an Exploratory Essay




legal culture, law, legal system, Europeanization, European integration, EU law, European Union, Ukraine


The concept of «legal culture» has been the subject of academic legal research over the past half century. It has attracted special attention in the postmodern research field, which is more interested in overcoming the limits of positivist legal analysis and is much better prepared for the challenges of interdisciplinarity. The concept of «legal culture», despite its inherent vagueness, is valued in the academic environment for its ability to broaden and deepen the understanding of national and regional legal systems and their components, to act, on the one hand, as evidence of legal uniformity and, on the other hand, of cultural difference, to emphasize legal identity and postulate the legal identity of individual human communities. The perception of law in its cultural determination takes researchers beyond the scope of exclusively legal texts and makes them sensitive to different models of legal thinking, assumptions, behavior and practices inherent in certain human communities. The concept of «legal culture» emphasizes the specific cultural ties that underlie a particular legal community. The obvious advantage of highlighting the legal and cultural uniformity of a certain group is its integrative functions: legal systems (subnational, national, integration or international) based on different legal concepts, rules, institutions and procedures can be linked at the legal and cultural level. The importance of legal and cultural analysis stems not only from the recognition of the existence of different levels of legal and cultural unity, but also from the need to observe the legal and cultural dynamics that exist within and between different legal cultures. This is due to the fact that legal culture can be constructed, deconstructed and reconstructed, and has a significant potential for evolution. The borders of legal culture are usually open to change (the process of Europeanization proves the validity of this conclusion), although this process is not fast and difficult to recognize as easily controlled. Legal traditions, as the core of national legal cultures, have undergone significant changes since the Second World War under the influence of modernization, industrialization, globalization and regional integration. The success of European legal integration and the process of European unification as a whole depends not only on artificial, top-down, harmonized or unified legislation, but also on the success of the process of forming a common European legal culture as a result of the Europeanization of 27 national legal cultures and, in particular, national professional legal cultures. In order for a meaningful and truly unified European legal order to be formed, it must be based on a European legal culture. Effective legal Europeanization directly depends, first, on the formation and perception by the societies of all 27 Member States of a system of common values, principles, ideas, ideals, models of legal argumentation, doctrines, theories, concepts, behavior and practice; second, on full compliance with the principles of EU law and direct application of EU law in the legal systems of the Member States, through the harmonization of national legislation with the provisions of EU law, as well as through formal judicial harmonization. Effective and equal application of EU law is directly conditioned by the formation of European judicial culture.

Author Biography

Victoria Lomaka, Yaroslav Mudryi National Law University

PhD in Law, doctoral student of the European Union Law Department



Weiler, J.H.H. (2011). The political and legal culture of European integration: An exploratory essay. International Journal of Constitutional Law, 9(3-4), 678–694.

Rensmann, T. (2011). Munich Alumni and the Evolution of International Human Rights Law. European Journal of International Law, 22(4), 973-991.

Zweigert, K., Koetz, H. (2000). Introduction to comparative law in the field of private law. (Vols. 1-2). Vol. 1: Fundamentals. Moskov: Osnovy.

De Carvalho, E.M. (2011). Culture and Legal Culture: A Semiotic Approach. In Semiotics of International Law. Law and Philosophy Library. 2011. Vol. 91.

ESF Humanities Spring 2007. Young Researchers Forum «Disciplines and Borders: Humanities research in an age of interdisciplinarity». Retrieved from

Nelken, D. (2012). Using legal culture: purposes and problems. In Nelken D. (Ed.). Using legal culture (рр. 1-51). London: Wildy.

Uwe, K., & Hammel, A. (Eds.). (2019). Legal Families, Legal Culture, and Context, Comparative Law. Oxford: Oxford Academic.

Husa, Jaakko. (2012). Legal Culture vs. Legal Tradition – Different Epistemologies? Maastricht European Private Law Institute Working Paper, 18, 1-30.

Visegrády, A. (2001). Legal Cultures in the European Union. Acta Juridica Hungarica, 42, 203-217.

Merryman, J.H. (1998). Comparative Law Scholarship. Hastings International and Comparative Law Review, 21(4), 771-784.

Cotterrell, R. (1997). The concept of legal culture. In Nelken D. (Ed.). Comparing legal cultures. Dartmouth Publishing Co. Ltd., Aldershot, 13–32.

Vovk, D.O. (2012). Legal tradition: understanding in the context of the relationship with the legal system and legal culture. Journal of the National Academy of Legal Sciences of Ukraine, 2, 42-52.

Pavlov, S.S. (2010). Legal traditions of Ukraine. PhD Thesis. Odesa: Odesa Law Academy National University.

Friedman, L.M. (1997). The concept of legal culture: a reply. In Nelken D. (Ed.). Comparing legal cultures. Aldershot : Dartmouth, 33-39.

Nelken, D. (2004). Using The Concept of Legal Culture. Australian Journal of Legal Philosophy, 29, 1-26.

Uspenskii, B.A. (1981). História sub specie semioticae. In Lotman, Iú.M. et. al. Ensaios de semiótica soviética. Lisboa : Livros Horizonte, 87-98.

Zhang, F. (2021). Legal Culture. In A Comparative Study of Chinese and Western Legal Language and Culture. Peking University Linguistics Research, 4, 99-113. Springer, Singapore.

Sunde, J.Ø. (2010). Champagne at the Funeral – An Introduction to Legal Culture. In Sunde, J.Ø., & Skodvin, K.E. (Eds.). Rendezvous of European legal cultures (рр. 11-28). Bergen: Fagbokforlaget.

Cotterrell, R. (2019). Comparative Law and Legal Culture. In Reimann, M., & Zimmermann, R. (Eds.). The Oxford Handbook of Comparative Law (2nd ed.). Oxford: Handbooks.

Friedman, L.M. (2006). The Place of Legal Culture in the Sociology of Law. In Freeman, L.M. (Ed.). Law and Sociology (pp. 185-199). Oxford: Oxford Academic.

Minkovich-Slobodianik, O. (2019). The main stages of the formation of legal culture in the territory of modern Ukraine. Law Review of Kyiv University of Law, 3, 44-49.

Louis, F. Del Duca, & Alain A. (2010). Levasseur, Impact of Legal Culture and Legal Transplants on the Evolution of the U.S. Legal System, The American Journal of Comparative Law, 58(1), 1-30.

Tohipur, T. (2013). Comparative Constitutional Studies and the Discourse of Legal Transfer’. Іn Günter Frankenberg (Ed.). Order from Transfer: Comparative Constitutional Design and Legal Culture. Frankfurt am Main: Edward Elgar.

Zartner, D. (2014). Book Review: Order from Transfer: Comparative Constitutional Design and Legal Culture. Law, Culture and the Humanities, 10(3), 491–493.

Jaakko Husa (2018). Developing Legal System, Legal Transplants, and Path Dependence: Reflections on the Rule of Law. The Chinese Journal of Comparative Law, 6(2), P. 129-150.

Watson, Alan. (1993). Legal Transplants: An Approach to Comparative Law. (2nd ed.). Аthens: University of Georgia Press.

Tamanaha, B.Z. (2004). On the Rule of Law: History, Politics, Theory. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Teubner, G. (1998). Legal Irritants: Good Faith in British Law or How Unifying Law Ends Up in New Divergencies. The Modern Law Review, 61(1). P. 11-32. Retrieved from

Endicott, T.A.O. (2003). Raz on Gaps – the Surprising Part. In L.H. Meyer, S.L. Paulson, & T.W.Pogge (Eds.). Rights, Culture and the Law: Themes from the Legal and Political Philosophy of Joseph Raz. Oxford: Oxford Academic.

Michaels R. (2011). Legal Culture. In Oxford Handbook of European Private Law. Basedow, Hopt, Zimmermann (Eds). Oxford: Oxford University Press. Retrieved from

Wallerstein, I.A (1999). Cultura como campo de batalha ideológico do sistema mundial moderno. In Featherstone, M. (Org.). Cultura global: nacionalismo, globalização e modernidade (3nd. ed.). (pp. 41-67). Petrópolis: Vozes.

Yakoviyk, I.V. (2007). Legal culture in the conditions of globalization and European integration. State construction and local self-government, 13, 3-16.

Yakoviyk, I.V. (2003). Historical prerequisites and main stages of European integration. Journal of the Academy of Legal Sciences of Ukraine, 4, 82-92.

Bratsuk, I. (2010). The influence of the EU Court on the formation and development of the principle of direct effect of the law of the European Union. Legal Ukraine, 2, 129-132.

Pantev, P. (2005). The ‘Europeanisation’ of National Foreign, Security and Defence Policy. Research reports 18. Sofia.

Bulmer, S., Radaelli, C.M. (2004). The Europeanisation of National Policy? Queen’s Papers on Europeanisation, 1, 22. Retrieved from

Cowles, M.G., Caporaso, J., & Risse T. (Eds.). (2001). Transforming Europe: Europeanization and Domestic Change. London: Cornell University Press.

Ertugal, E. (2021). Hidden phases of de-Europeanization: Insights from historical institutionalism. Journal of European Integration, 43(7), 841-857.

Lavenex, S., Schimmelfennig, F. (2009). EU rules beyond EU borders: theorizing external governance in European politics. Journal of European Public Policy, 16(6), 791-812.

Börzel, T.A. (2005). Europeanization: How the European Union Interacts with its Member States. Іn Bulmer, S., & Lequesne, C. (Eds.). The Member States of the European Union (рр. 45-76). Oxford: Oxford University Press,

Burns, C., Gravey, V., Jordan, A., & Zito, A. (2019). De-Europeanising or disengaging? EU environmental policy and Brexit. Environmental Politics, 28(2): The Future of European Union Environmental Politics and Policy, 271-292.

Burns, Ch.J. (2018). Brexit and UK Environmental Policy and Politics. Revue Française de Civilisation Britannique. XXIII-3: A Long Awakening? Environmental Concerns in the United Kingdom Since the Nineteenth Century.

Copeland, P. (2016). Europeanization and de-Europeanization in UK employment policy: Changing governments and shifting agendas. Public Administration, 94(4), 1124-1139.

Reid, C. (2016). Brexit and the future of UK environmental law. Journal of Energy and Natural Resources Law, 34(4), 407-415.

Tragnyuk, O.Ya., Shokin, Yu.V. (2022). Some problems of legal regulation of environmental protection in the United Kingdom after BREXIT. Scientific Bulletin of the Uzhhorod National University. Series: Law, 71, 191-196.

Wolff, S. & Piquet, A. (2022). Post-Brexit Europeanization: re-thinking the continuum of British policies, polity, and politics trajectories. Comparative European Politics, 513-526.

Yakoviyk, I.V. (2016). Brexit: causes and consequences of the British referendum. In A.P. Getman, I.V. Yakovyuk, V.I. Samoschenko et al. (Eds). European integration in the context of modern geopolitics (рр. 25-29). Kharkiv: Pravo.

Janczak, J. (2010). De-Europeanistation and Counter-Europeanisation as Reversed Europeanisation. In Search of Categorisation. The Policies and Politics of the European Union (pp. 99-110). Wydawnictwo Naukowe WNPiD UAM.

Martin-Russu, L. (2022). Towards a Theory of De-Europeanization, an Elite-Based Approach. In Deforming the Reform. Contributions to Political Science (pp. 19-90). Springer, Cham.

Szymański, A. (2017). De-Europeanization and de-democratization in the EU and its neighborhood. Yearbook of the Institute of East-Central Europe, 15(2), 187-211.

Castaldo, A., & Pinna, A. (2018). De-Europeanization in the Balkans. Media freedom in post-Milošević Serbia. European Politics and Society, 19(3), 264-281.

Raagmaa, G., Kalvet, T., & Kasesalu, R. (2014). Europeanization and De-Europeanization of Estonian regional policy. European Planning Studies, 22(4), 775-795.

Yilmaz, G. (2015). From Europeanization to de-Europeanization: The Europeanization process of Turkey in 1999–2014. Journal of Contemporary European Studies, 24(1), 86-100.

Kyris, G. (2015). Europeanization and ‘Internalized’ Conflicts: The Case of Cyprus. European Foreign Affairs Review, 20(1), 83-96.

Hellmann, G., Baumann, R., Bösche, M., Herborth, B., & Wagner, W. (2005). De-Europeanization by Default? Germany’s EU Policy in Defense and Asylum. Foreign Policy Analysis, 1(1), 143-164.

L'Europe de la défense: institutionnalisation, européanisation. (2002). Paris, DL.: L'Harmattan.

Benjamin, L. (2017). The Europeanization of the Welfare State: The Case for a ''Differentiated European Social Model'. Іn P. Taylor-Gooby, B. Leruth, &H. Chung (Eds.). After Austerity: Welfare State Transformation in Europe after the Great Recession.

Eigmüller, Monika. (2012). Europäisierung der Sozialpolitik: Der Einfluss individueller Akteure auf den Integrationsprozess. Zeitschrift für Sozialreform, 58(3), 263-288.

Jacquot, S. (2008). National welfare state reforms and the question of Europeanization: from impact to usages. Working Papers on the Reconciliation of Work and Welfare in Europe, REC-WP 01/2008. Edinburgh: University of Edinburgh, Publication and Dissemination Centre (PUDISCwowe). Retrieved from ssoar-198133.

Moreno, L., & Palier, B. (April, 2004). The Europeanization of welfare Paradigm shifts and social policy reforms. WRAMSOC Conference (23-25). Berlin. Retrieved from

Yakoviyk, I., Anisimova, H., & Tragniuk, O. (2022). Europeanization of Environmental Law of the European Union Member States. Problems of Legality, 158, 82-109.

Ladi, S. (2006). Globalization and Europeanization: Analysing Change. IBEI working papers. Barcelona, 4, 18.

Graziano, P. (2003). Europeanization or Globalization? Global Social Policy, 3 (2), 173-194.

Wallace, H. (2000). Europeanisation and Globalisation: Complementary or Contradictory Trends? New Political Economy, 5(3), 369-382.

Schmidt, S.K. (2018). The Europeanization Effects of Case Law. The European Court of Justice and the Policy Process: The Shadow of Case Law.

Blauberger, M. & Schmidt, S.K. (2017). The European Court of Justice and its political impact. West European Politics, 40:4, 907-918.

Panke, D. (2007). The European Court of Justice as an agent of Europeanization? Restoring compliance with EU law. Journal of European Public Policy, 14(6), 847-866.

Eliantonio, M. (2010). Europeanisation of Administrative Justice? The Influence of the ECJ's Case Law in Italy, Germany and England. European Review of Public Law, 22(3:77), 1-54. Retrieved from's_Case_Law_in_Italy_Germany_and_England.

Mańko, R. (2015). Europeanisation of civil procedure Towards common minimum standards? European Parliamentary Research Service, 1-29.

Babich, N.O. (2021). Prospects for the formation of Ukraine as a European welfare state. Social law, 2, 28-33.

Gaydamaka, V.A. (2020). European social model: a new paradigmof social state development. Problems of Legality, 150, 313-331.

Okladna, M.G., & Yakoviyk, I.V. (2016). Social policy of the European Union: formation and development. Kharkiv: «Oberig» LLC. (Series «Scientific reports», issue 19).

Pomorska, K., & Wright, N. (2013). Europeanization and the Common Foreign and Security Policy. In Bretherton, C., & Mannin, M. (Eds.). The Europeanization of European Politics. Europe in Transition: The NYU European Studies Series (pp. 151-162). New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Yakoviyk, I.V. (2005). Common foreign policy and security policy of the European Union: the history of the issue. State Construction and Local Self-Government, 10, 76-87.

Yakoviyk, I.V., & Bilousov, E.M. (2022). National security of Ukraine in the conditions of new challenges to European and Euro-Atlantic solidarity. Kharkiv: Pravo.

Bulmer S., & Radaelli C.M. (2004). The Europeanisation of National Policy? Queen’s Papers on Europeanisation, 1, 1-22. Retrieved from



How to Cite

Lomaka, V. (2023). Europeanization of Legal Culture: an Exploratory Essay. Problems of Legality, (160), 192–211.