MLaw LLM graduate appointed judge of European Court of Justice

By Lori Atherton
Michigan Law

Michigan Law LLM graduate Sinisa Rodin, the Jean Monnet Chair at the University of Zagreb Faculty of Law in Croatia, has been appointed a judge on the Court of Justice of the European Union in Luxembourg. Judge Rodin, whose term began July 1, is the first judge from Croatia to join the Court.

Joining Judge Rodin in August is 2012 LLM graduate Mirna Romic, who will serve as his first réferéndaire (law clerk).

“Serving as a judge at the Court of Justice of the European Union is a dream job for every European lawyer,” Judge Rodin, ‘92, said of his appointment. “Over the years the Court has acted as an engine of European integration and a guardian of the Founding Treaties of the EU. It is more than an institution. It is a symbol of the rule of law on the European continent and a genuine subject of legal integration.”

The European Court of Justice—the highest court in the European Union legal system—interprets EU law to make sure it is applied in the same way in all EU countries. It also settles legal disputes between EU governments and EU institutions. Individuals, companies, and organizations can also bring cases before the Court if they feel their rights have been infringed upon by an EU institution.

Daniel Halberstam, the Eric Stein Collegiate Professor of Law and director of the European Legal Studies Program at Michigan Law, said it’s only fitting that Judge Rodin is Croatia’s inaugural judge on the Court, given that he “has been a principal architect of Croatia’s entry into the European Union.”

“I remember visiting the University of Zagreb over a dozen years ago when Sinisa began to build Croatia’s EU law program from scratch—often against the entrenched interests within the academic establishment,” Prof. Halberstam said. “Since then, the program has flourished, and his students (several of whom followed in his footsteps to Ann Arbor) have won prizes in European-wide competitions.”

Judge Rodin teaches a general course on EU law and an advanced course on human rights in the EU at the University of Zagreb. He also supervises students participating in the European Law Moot Court Competition and Central and East European Moot Court. In 2012, he was the Marc and Beth Goldberg Distinguished Visiting Professor at Cornell University Law School.

After earning his LLM from Michigan Law in 1992, where he received the Law School’s Merit Award, he earned his PhD from the University of Zagreb Faculty of Law in 1995. He specialized in European law at the European University Institute in Florence and German constitutional law at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law in Heidelberg, Germany. He is the author of two books and more than 50 research papers, and co-authored the first textbook on EU law in the Croatian language. His research interests include issues of constitutional interpretation, fundamental rights, constitutional aspects of European integration, and free movement of services.

Judge Rodin said he is grateful to the Law School for providing him with an education that “equipped me with the qualities necessary for this high service” on the Court. “It feels good to be a Wolverine in Luxembourg,” he said.