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Abstract

The Article deals with the differences in the legal culture in the pre-2004 and post-2004 EU Member States and candidate states and examines whether such differences prevent successful participation of new Member States' courts in the Community legal order. Comparing three elements of legal culture, namely valid legal sources, interpretation of the law and argumentation by the courts, the author concludes that important differences do exist. It is further examined whether the last or future enlargements could endanger the functioning of the Community legal order due to the still existing differences in legal culture. The conclusion is that the membership is possible despite the differences, as with proper basic education in Community law, the judges will not endanger its application. On the other hand, in order to participate fully in the Community legal order, i.e. in order to acquire the ability to participate in the constitutional discourse in the EU, East European judges will need more time. However, EU membership may indeed only speed up the necessary process of changes in the legal culture.