Common European Asylum System, Transnational Jurisprudence, National Courts
Increased policy harmonization on refugee matters in the European Union (EU), namely the creation of a Common European Asylum
System (CEAS), has created the imperative for a transnational judicial comparative dialogue between national courts. This article is based on a structured, focused comparison approach to examining a key element of a transnational European legal dialogue, namely, the use of foreign law by national judges when making their own decisions on asylum. It does so by examining two countries, France and Britain, as representative of the difference in legal tradition and culture within the EU in terms of the civil–common law divide. Both case studies are structured around a common set of empirical and jurisprudential research questions. The empirical findings reveal a surprising lack of transnational use of national jurisprudence on asylum between judges. Nonetheless, a slight but noticeable increase in the use of transnational asylum jurisprudence in the British and French courts must be noted. Two broad accounts—one rational, the other cultural are applied in each of the case studies to explain this empirical finding. This article concludes on the broader implications of these findings for the establishment of a CEAS by 2012.