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In this contribution to Varieties of Legal Order, a book inspired by Robert Kagan’s scholarship, we review the debate on the spread of American “adversarial legalism” to Europe. In the 1990s, Kagan developed the concept of adversarial legalism to capture the distinctive litigiousness of the American regulatory system, and asked whether it might take hold in Europe. In our research that followed, we put forward different answers. R. Daniel Kelemen concluded that a legal style akin to adversarial legalism--one which he eventually termed Eurolegalism—was in fact spreading across the European Union. Drawing on her case study of the data privacy field, Francesca Bignami argued that EU regulation was not evolving into adversarial legalism, but rather had come to rely more on agency enforcement and private-sector cooperation, a style she called “cooperative legalism.” The chapter links the discussion of our own work with other important contributions to the debate on European regulation. It concludes by underscoring the enduring importance of understanding the European regulatory style and by highlighting the issues on which future research will be crucial.

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GWU Law School Public Law Research Paper No. 2017-66; GWU Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2017-66

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