The purpose of this chapter is to explore selected aspects of the relationship between the general principles of EU law and the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. The chapter first looks at the expansion of fundamental rights in EU law and the importance of general principles by reference to three principles which have provided fruitful grounds for judicial activism: The right to judicial protection, the principle of non-discrimination, and the right to personal data. It then examines the sources of fundamental rights under Article 6 TEU and the relationship between Charter rights and general principles. Finally, it explores a pivotal issue in EU constitutional discourse, namely, the scope of application of the Charter and the general principles of law. The chapter concludes by observing that, far from declining in importance, the general principles of law continue to be an integral part of judicial methodology; that, following the introduction of the Charter, the CJEU applies a heightened level of judicial scrutiny; and that it favours a centralised approach opting for an autonomous interpretation of the Charter, granting it precedence over national constitutional norms, and understanding broadly its scope of application.
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