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European Network on Soft Law Research
Start date: Sep 1, 2016, End date: Aug 31, 2019 PROJECT  ONGOING 

Soft law is present in nearly every EU policy. The term captures instruments that are not legally binding, but produce legal and practical effects. While it is acknowledged that soft law is an essential tool of EU policy-making, difficult questions concern its nature and scope of effects. With most of the research conducted at the EU level, there is little analysis on EU soft law in Member States. The proposed SoLaR Network brings together scholars to determine whether and how soft law is used by national administrations when implementing EU policies and national courts when ruling in cases falling within the scope of EU law. SoLaR covers seven legal systems (Finland, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Slovenia and the UK) and four policy areas (environmental law, social policy, competition and State aid law, and financial regulation). Second, SoLaR aims at stimulating a debate between academics and practitioners. Third, SoLaR formulates policy guidance intended to support national actors.The SoLaR will organise six events: opening and final events as well as four workshops. Furthermore, the SoLaR foresees teaching across the participating universities and training for national judges as well as European and national administrations.By creating links between scholars from different jurisdictions, SoLaR enables an investigation into a topic that requires a wide array of linguistic and legal knowledge. It promotes European studies by constructing a database of national courts’ rulings on EU soft law and gathering interview data among national judges and civil servants. The academic outputs involve articles in a peer-reviewed SoLaR Working Paper Series and a book edited by the Academic Coordinators.The creation of a website and a blog, together with the database and the Working Papers Series, as well as training activities demonstrate how committed SoLaR is to engaging stakeholders. The knowledge generated within SoLaR will be freely accessible.

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