Fifty years have passed since the European Court of Justice gave what is arguably its most consequential decision: Van Gend en Loos. The UMR de droit comparé de Paris, the European Journal of International Law (EJIL), and the International Journal of Constitutional Law (I•CON) decided to mark this anniversary with a workshop on the case and the myriad of issues surrounding it. In orientation our purpose was not to ‘celebrate’ Van Gend en Loos, but to revisit the case critically; to problematize it; to look at its distinct bright side but also at the dark side of the moon; to examine its underlying assumptions and implications and to place it in a comparative context, using it as a yardstick to explore developments in other regions in the world. The result is a set of papers which both individually and as a whole demonstrate the legacy and the ongoing relevance of this landmark decision.
This symposium illustrates, if an illustration were needed, the rationale that underlies the creation of the new International Society for Public Law. It also marks a publishing innovation for us: there is a single Table of Contents of the Symposium in EJIL and I•CON. But the articles are split between the two journals. It was not always easy to decide which should be published in either journal but this joint venture enabled us to bring to print a larger than usual symposium.