During the last 20 years, some of the world’s most distinguished scholars have been invited to the law school to deliver a public lecture in memory of the late former dean Cecil A. Wright, who founded U of T’s modern law school.

The 2013-14 Wright Lecture

Professor Gráinne de Búrca
Florence Ellinwood Allen Professor of Law,
New York University School of Law

"The European Union: Messianic or Democratic?"

Monday, November 25, 2013
4:10 - 6:00 pm

Watch the 2013-14 Wright Lecture lecture online

Emmanuel College Rm. 119

in Victoria University
75 Queen's Park Crescent
Toronto, ON

The past six years have been a period of economic and political crisis in Europe and the European Union has been forced to confront existential questions.  In particular,  what is the EU for, and is there a sufficient rationale for its continued existence?  While these challenges suggest the need for a revitalized sense of mission, other influential observers argue that the EU’s messianic origins  -  the idea that it exists to serve some noble goal or ideal – lie at the heart of its problems. On this view, the EU is doomed unless it shifts the basis for its political legitimacy from messianism to democracy.   This lecture challenges the argument that the EU should abandon messianism, or mission-legitimacy, and argues that mission legitimacy still plays an important role in justifying the existence of the EU and indicating a better future path.


See the Wright Lecture archives to read more detailed accounts of past lectures, and watch the complete lectures on the web (beginning with 2002).