Diritto amministrativo europeo

Why studying the CJEU requires a long-term perspective


Questa settimana proponiamo un articolo della Dr. Marie De Somer, pubblicato su Eu Migration Law Blog.

Precedents and Judicial Politics – Why studying the CJEU requires a long-term perspective

The Court’s Fluctuating Case Law

Much has been written about the role of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) in processes of European integration. It is clear that the progressive expansion of EU competences into ever more areas of law owes a lot to Court-driven dynamics. What is less clear, however, is the extent to which these dynamics took place at the expense of Member States’ intentions.

This question has long occupied both legal and political science scholarship. Academic debates on whether or not the Court acts independently from Member States’ political preferences can be traced back as far as the 1980s for legal scholarship (see e.g., famously, Weiler’s or Rasmussen’s early work) and the early 1990s for political science (see Garrett and Burley & Mattli). In spite of this long academic lineage, neither of the two disciplines has thus far produced much consensual understanding on the topic (see the book’s second chapter for further detail).

Instead, recent legal scholarship continues to discuss questions on the Court’s legitimacy – or whether or not it is an ‘activist’ institution – in light of observations of case law outcomes that reverberate beyond the strictly legal sphere (see Adams et al. or De Witte et al.). Similarly, political science on the Court remains occupied with, and divided on, the degree of interpretative leeway the EU judiciary enjoys relative to Member States’ preferences (see for a recent contribution e.g., Blauberger et al.)

The salience of these debates has increased significantly in recent years. Writing against the background of the Brexit vote and a generally increasing politicisation of European governance, the topicality of understanding the Court’s precise role and autonomy could hardly be greater.

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