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The solution of both theoretical and practical problems related to the legal support of integration processes determines the relevance of the search for appropriate methodological approaches to the study of this problem. Reference to the problems of methodology of studying the legal nature and law of integration of interstate associations is important, as there is still no uniformity in the theoretical interpretation and methods of research of legal integration. The purpose of this article is to consider the possibilities of application of interdisciplinary, multidisciplinary, transdisciplinary (system) approaches to the study of certain problems related to the legal support of integration. The analysis of the chosen problems is based on the provisions of domestic and foreign scientific works devoted to the problems of the methodology of jurisprudence. As a result of the research, the author comes to the conclusion that in the conditions of the global world complex objects of reality, which also include integration, can not be cognizable within one scientific discipline, which is a significant argument in favor of referring to interdisciplinary, multidisciplinary and systemic methodology. The choice of the appropriate methodological approach to the study of integration depends on: the essence and characteristics of the object of study; the objectives of the study; the purpose of the study. No less important aspect in the study of integration is the appeal to the axiological aspects of integration processes, and therefore, the study of various aspects of regional economic integration, for example, cultural, sociological, psychological, aimed at the study of values and goals of integration, the state of society, the role of man in the integration process.

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INTRODUCTION «Plato said that it is necessary to look for the most suitable way to achieve knowledge, and when it comes to the highest knowledge, it is the longest way, because the shortest way would not fit such a high goal». (Juan Berchmans Vallet de Goytisolo. Manual introductorio a las metodologías del derecho. Madrid. 2004. P. 17). The solution of both theoretical and practical problems related to the legal support of integration processes, actualizes the issue of the application of a set of different scientific methods to study this problem. Integration as a social phenomenon is the object of knowledge of social sciences. Issues of legal regulation of integration are studied within the framework of sectoral legal sciences - theory of state and law, international public and private law, comparative law and others. It should be noted that the issues of methodology of law take a significant place in the scientific works of the following national legal scholars: N.A. Vlasenko, D.A. Kerimov, A.V. Malko, V.P. Malakhov, M.N. Marchenko, N.I. Matuzov, M.V. Nemytina, V.N. Siniukov, V.M. Syrykh, Y.A. Tikhomirov, T.Ya. Khabrieva, K.V. Shundikov, and others. Methodological problems of legal research are touched upon on the pages of RUDN Vestnik (Legal Science Series). K.A. Bekyashev, G.M. Velyaminov, A.S. Ispolinov, A.Y. Kapustin, S.Y. Kashkin, E.G. Moiseev, T.N. Neshataeva., V.L. Tolstykh, M.L. Entin and others studied theoretical and methodological aspects of integration process in their works. The review of several foreign scientific works showed the presence of scientific publications in the field of general theoretical problems of the methodology of law, the use of interdisciplinary and systematic approaches in legal research. At the same time, it can be noted that there is no uniformity of approaches in the field of methodology of studying the legal support of integration processes, the law of interstate integration associations and its legal nature that determines the relevance of considering integration as an object of research of legal sciences. First, it seems necessary to refer to the definition of the term “methodology”. The author of the article shares the approach according to which the methodology of legal science is not just a set of research methods, but “an integral phenomenon that combines a number of components: worldview and fundamental general theoretical concepts, general philosophical laws and categories, general and particular scientific methods” (Kerimov, 2003:83). As Karl Larenz observed, “the methodology of each science is primarily a reflection of that science on its own approaches, ways of thinking, and means of cognition. Reflection does not take place separately from the application of knowledge; it accompanies or follows it immediately and is in the closest union with science. This also applies to the methodology of law” (Larenz, 1994:236). The modern stage of scientific knowledge, characterized by “the creation of a kind of field of intersection, active interaction and interpenetration of different theoretical concepts and methods of knowledge that seem to stay far away from each other” (Kerimov, 2003:57), can contribute to the comprehensive study of integration also in the context of the legal sciences. INTERDISCIPLINARY, MULTIDISCIPLINARY AND SYSTEMATIC APPROACHES TO THE STUDY OF INTEGRATION The modern picture of scientific knowledge is not limited to the application of a disciplinary approach alone. The prevailing approach, as noted above, is one based on the interaction and interpenetration of different fields of knowledge. Thus, the interdisciplinary approach in order to solve a particular disciplinary problem allows the transfer of research methods from one scientific discipline to another on the basis of the similarity of the studied subject areas. A multi-disciplinary (cross-disciplinary) approach is based on considering an object as complex, different disciplinary approaches and methods are used to study it in order to further compare the results of disciplinary studies and form common conclusions. Transdisciplinary (systematic) approach involves the research of the studied objects as systems that have special properties, patterns of development, connections with other systems. It seems that all the above-mentioned scientific approaches are applicable for learning the integration. Carlos Jiménez Piernas wrote the following about the application of interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary approaches in the science of public international law “... the resource of the interdisciplinary method allows us to explain the scope and importance of international legal institutions; the complexity of the international system requires referring to other disciplines ...” (Jiménez Piernas, 1995:35). Referring to H. Trippel the scientist noted that “public law should not be limited to formal logical analysis” and recognized “the need to use the resource of other sciences such as sociology and history (in our case, as the author notes, it is international relations and political science) to complement the formal logical analysis of institutions, thus avoiding a strictly unilateral approach” (Jiménez Piernas, 1995:35). Carlos Jiménez Piernas in his monograph also pointed out that the use of an interdisciplinary approach can lead to methodological syncretism, which can be avoided by “surpassing the simple version of interdisciplinarity" (Jiménez Piernas, 1995:38). So, speaking about the conclusions of T.B. Bottomore, the scientist quotes the following statement concerning the characteristics of interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary approaches: “If interdisciplinarity involves cooperation between two or more disciplines, each of which provides its conceptual scheme, a way of identifying problems and their methods of research, transdisciplinarity means that [...] cooperation between the various disciplines takes place [...] within a single paradigm” (Bottomore, 1983:38). Interdisciplinary method in the study of integration can be used, for example, in the study of the legal nature of integration associations, when in the framework of international legal research theoretical provisions and methods not only of public international law, but also European law, comparative law, theory of state and law are applied. E. R. Kutyeva, while studying Eurasianism as a cultural phenomenon, justifies the use of a system-synergetic approach to the analysis of the object under study (Kutyeva, 2005:4). The author emphasizes the importance of synergetics for solving modern scientific problems as a paradigm that "can cover many problems of a nonequilibrium globalizing world" (Kutyeva, 2005:11-12). The revolution in communication that took place in XX century has led to the fact that multidisciplinarity has become a means of cognition of reality (Rodriguez Lozano, Zaragoza Huerta, 2012:293). Multi-disciplinary (cross-disciplinary approach) in the study of integration is based on the fact that integration is regarded as the object of learning philosophy, economics, law, cultural studies and other fields of knowledge, each of which makes its particular contribution to the study of this object. The author proposes a single three-stage scheme of analysis of the integration Association, according to which the first stage is a preliminary, descriptive analysis of the integration association by composition, general economic indicators of the participating countries, the contractual framework and organizational structure. The second stage explores the processes of integration of markets for goods and services, capital and labor. The third stage is a comprehensive analysis of the prospects and effectiveness of currency integration within the association. Studying integration from the economic point of view2 K. G. Grigoryan notes that “an integral methodological approach to the study of regional economic integration processes is required. However, at the present time the qualitative analysis of integration associations supported by relevant statistical material of a descriptive nature is mostly predominant in both academically and in the research literature” (Grigorjan, 2012:4). The author offers a single three-stage scheme of analysis of the integration association, according to which the first stage is a preliminary, descriptive analysis of the integration association by composition, general economic indicators of the participating countries, the contractual framework and organizational structure. On the second stage the processes of integration of markets for goods and services, capital and 2 In the foreign doctrine on the methodology of law special emphasis is laid on economic analysis of law as a form of his substantial study. See: (Ibánez Jiménez, 2011:23). labor are studied. The third stage is a comprehensive analysis of the prospects and effectiveness of currency integration within the association (Grigorjan, 2012:18). Studying the law of integration association as a system European Union law is recognized as an autonomous legal system. The doctrine of European Union law is systematized into an independent legal discipline - the European Union law. This picture is not typical for all types of integration associations and forms of integration agreements. For example, the Southern common market MERCOSUR is not a supranational integration union type, so the MERCOSUR law, though forming a special legal order, is not an autonomous legal system based on principles of supremacy, direct and immediate use, such as the European Union law. The Andean community law, another Latin American integration association, also has its own peculiarities. Andean law has features of supranationality, but its designation as “community law” indicates the difference from the “union law”, “supranational law” which contains features of an autonomous legal system. Conducting a comparative legal analysis with the European Union in the research of other integration associations is a necessary and important component of the study. Meanwhile, it is necessary to take into account that each integration association is unique in its constituent documents, functions, composition of participants, depth of development of economic integration. Therefore, the legal analysis of modern integration associations and their legal systems may be applied not only to the comparative legal method3 and system methodology that assumes broad analogies (Malahov, 2018:36-41) but also interdisciplinary analysis in order to consider their features in focus of several sectoral legal sciences. Significance for theory and practice The use of a set of scientific methods and approaches to the study of integration in law, according to the author, is of great theoretical importance, as it allows to expand the horizons of disciplinary methodological tools, as well as to enrich the provisions of the sectoral legal sciences. For example, the introduction into scientific circulation of the category “legal system of integration association” could complement the classification of legal systems adopted in the general theory of law and comparative law. Meanwhile, we draw attention to the lack of elaboration of the category “legal system of integration association”. In practice, when overcoming and solving legal conflicts when there are questions about the action of the norms of integration law in time and space, interaction and correlation of sources of law, the extension of certain regulations to regulate social relations in the field of integration, it is possible to use a set of theoretical provisions and methods of sectoral legal disciplines. 3 Silvia Díez Sastre emphasized the role of comparative law that includes a combination of methodological approaches, as a valuable method in the context of Europeanization and internationalization of law, and noted its importance for understanding the structure and purpose of European law (Díez Sastre, 2018:184). Thus, the question of the legal nature, types, institutional structure of integration associations can be studied on the basis of an interdisciplinary approach. According to paragraph 2 of article 1 of the Treaty on the Eurasian Economic Union dated May 29, 2014, the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) is an international organization of regional economic integration with international legal personality. The Andean community in accordance with article 48 of the codified version of the Agreement on Andean subregional integration (Cartagena agreement) is a subregional organization with international legal personality. Article 2 of the Treaty of Asunción dated 1991 about the establishment of the common market stipulates that MERCOSUR is based on the reciprocity of rights and obligations between states parties. Article 2 of the Additional Protocol to the Treaty of Asunción (Ouro Preto Protocol) dated 1994 refers to MERCOSUR bodies that are authorized to take decisions which are interstate in their nature. Thus, all these integration associations are international organizations, which implies the application of general theoretical provisions and principles of law of international organizations as a branch of public international law to them. On the other hand, these subjects are interstate entities, therefore, for a more in-depth study of their legal nature in the context of international legal analysis, the provisions of the general theory of state and law can be applied. Whereas the consideration of these associations as sui generis entities with special unique features allows to use the provisions of the European Union law in the framework of comparative legal analysis. The type of cooperation that underlies the international organization for regional economic integration is important for solving practical issues, including those related to the activities of the organization itself. For example, in the Advisory opinion of the Court of the EAEU dated December 20, 2018 it is noted that “From a systematic interpretation of article 5, paragraph 2 of article 8 of the Agreement, paragraphs 24 and 43 of the Regulations on the Eurasian Economic Commission (Appendix No. 1 to the Agreement) and Chapter IV of the Statute of the Court it follows that the member states of the Union gave the Commission and the Court exclusive powers in the areas specified by the Treaty and international treaties within the Union”4. This provision allows us to say that the EAEU as an international organization has supranational features that is expressed in the supranational legal regulation of public relations, transferred to the general level of regulation in the Union, as well as in the principles of acts of the Union bodies. The solution of legal conflicts involves knowledge of the sources of law of integration associations, their principles of operation, legal techniques, general provisions of the theory of interaction of legal systems. Speaking about the law of the EAEU as a whole, we should note that the EAEU Court in its decisions and Advisory opinions formulated legal positions on immediate and direct action, the rule of law of the Eura- 4 Par. 3 cl. 2 of the Finding of the Court of the Advisory Opinion of the EAEU Court dated December 20, 2018, available at: (Accessed 16 September 2019). sian Economic Union5. This “formula” not only characterizes the law of the EAEU as an emerging independent legal system, but also helps to determine the place of the law of the EAEU in the system of international law, the development of aspects of its interaction with the system of international law and other regional legal systems. As previously noted, a topical issue for integration associations is the problem of the action of sources of international law in the system of law of integration associations. Thus, the EAEU Court recognized the Harmonized system (HS) of description and coding of goods of the World Customs Organization, which is an Annex to the International Convention on the harmonized system of description and coding of goods dated June 14, 1983, as part of the legal system of the EAEU. This is important in solving customs disputes, as it allows to assess the compliance of the decisions of the Eurasian Economic Commission on the classification of goods for compliance not only with the treaty of alliance, the customs code of the EAEU, but also with the international treaty (Convention on the harmonized system). Thus, the decision of the judicial bench dated April 4, 2016 in the case of the application of JSC “General Freight” concluded that the Convention on the Harmonized system, along with the law of the Union is to be applied for the regulation of customs and tariff relations within the EAEU6. In the decision of the Appeals chamber of the Court dated 21 June 2016 in the case on the application of General Freight JSC it is stated that “a direct reference in the law of the Union to the HS indicates that the Harmonized system is mandatory”7. In the decision of the judicial bench dated December 21, 2018 in the case of the application of Sanofi-Aventis Vostok JSC it is noted that “due to the fact that all member states of the Union participate in the Convention on the HS which is the international basis of the CN FEA of the EAEU, the judicial bench also applies the HS and notes thereto, adopted by the Committee on the HS”8. This example illustrates only one of the cases of interaction between international law and the law of integration association. The rules of such interaction are often developed in practice as well by courts of integration associations. The study of the dispute resolution system, organizational and procedural aspects of the regional integration courts is the subject of interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary scientific analysis of both the legal sciences of substantive law and procedural law. 5 Advisory opinion of the EAEU Court dated 4 April 4, 2017, available at:, Advisory opinion of the EAEU Court dated July 10, 2018, available at:; Advisory opinion of the EAEU Court dated December 7, 2018, available at: (Accessed 10 September 2019). 6 Par. 5 p. 11 of the Decision of the judicial bench of the EAEU Court dated April 4, 2016, available at: (Accessed 11 September 2019). 7 Par. 8 - 9 cl. 5.1.1., p. 15 of the Decision of the Appeals Chamber of the EAEU Court dated June 21, 2016, available at: (Accessed 10 September 2019). 8 Par. 5 cl. 5.2, p. 8 of the Decision of the Appeals Chamber of the EAEU Court dated December 21, 2018, available at: (Accessed 16 September 2019). According to one of the doctrinal approaches, which has become quite widespread, “integration courts”, “courts of integration associations” are allocated to a special group of courts in the system of international justice. The most significant feature that unites all integration courts is the purpose of their creation - ensuring uniform interpretation and application of the law of integration association, as well as their functions (judicial compliance assessment, interpretation of law, settlement of disputes). Special subject composition, as public and private persons are eligible entities to apply to the court, different from classical international courts and forms of justice (availability of arbitration (MERCOSUR), the use of non-judicial mechanisms (MERCOSUR), the compulsory pre-trial procedure for settlement of disputes (EAEU, the Andean community), the availability of appeal (EAEU)) also emphasize the uniqueness of the judiciary, which makes the use of complex scientific methods in the study of issues, related to the administration of justice in regional integration courts. CONCLUSION Conclusions and proposals on the development of the methodology of the integration study Manuel Calvo García writes: “The use of law for the purposes of social integration surmounts the traditional functions of the latter” (Calvo García, 1994:263). “The use of law as a means [...] defines a new type of law as 'regulatory law'. Regulatory law is associated with a certain concept of order and techniques of social control that allows some researchers to characterize it as a type of law that dominates postindustrial states” (Calvo García, 1994:263-264). On the ground this position, it can be assumed that the legal support of integration forms a new “type of law”. Conducted within the framework of this article, an overview of certain issues of study methodology of integration showed that the application of interdisciplinary, multidisciplinary and systematic research approaches helps to overcome “disciplinary isolation” of the study of the problem and develop a more diverse view on the object under research. On the other hand, the application of the above-mentioned approaches may affect the specialization of the problem within one scientific discipline, “distancing” from in-depth study within the branch of legal science. As noted by Carlos Jiménez Piernas, “an interdisciplinary approach should not become a methodological panacea; the benefits of this approach are manifested when the problems posed cannot be solved with the concepts and techniques of research within a single discipline” (Jiménez Piernas, 1995:38). Taking into account this important aspect, it should be noted that in a global world, complex objects of reality, which also include integration, cannot be cognizable within a single scientific discipline, which is a significant argument in favor of a reasonable appeal to interdisciplinary, multidisciplinary and systematic analysis. For example, the question of the interaction of international law sources, regional integration association law sources and national law lies “at the junction” of several sectoral legal sciences, therefore, its solution can be found within the framework of interdisciplinary approach through the development of common, harmonized provisions on the basis of theoretical approaches and methods of international law, national law, general theory of law. When it comes to multidisciplinarity, it may be noted that in practice conflict resolution in the area of antidumping9, technical regulations10, competition11 and other complex areas of knowledge, requires not only the use of legal analysis but also taking into account the economic theory provisions, as well as technical and natural sciences. At the same time, when we deal with objects having properties of a system, for example, EU law, EAEU law, systematic approach that allows to consider the properties and features of the functioning of the system can be useful to a researcher. In general, when choosing an appropriate methodological approach to the study of integration the following aspects should be taken into account: 1) the nature and characteristics of the object under study; 2) the objectives of a particular study; 3) the purpose of the study. It is also possible to note that "attention to the value-worldview problems has decreased dramatically at the present time" (Kimelev, 2011:5-6), which also applies to the study of integration. According to Karl Larenz's apt remark, “the methodology describes not only how to act in fact, but also raises questions about values ...” (Larenz, 1994:237). Therefore, no less important is the study of various aspects of regional economic integration, including cultural, sociological, psychological, aimed at the study of values and goals of integration, the state of society, the role of a person in the integration process.


About the authors

Elena E. Rafalyuk

The Secretariat of the Court of the Eurasian Economic Union

Author for correspondence.

Candidate of Legal Sciences, Counsel of the expert-analytical Department

5, Kirova str., 220006, Minsk, Republic of Belarus


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