Re-appraising Success and Failure in the Life of the European Court of Justice

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  • Cambridge Law Faculty published this video item, entitled “Re-appraising Success and Failure in the Life of the European Court of Justice” – below is their description.

    Full title: ”…wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them’: Re-appraising Success and Failure in the Life of the European Court of Justice’

    Speaker: Professor Henri de Waele, Radboud University Nijmegan and University of Antwerp

    Biography: Henri de Waele is currently Professor of International and European Law at Radboud University Nijmegen, the Netherlands, also serving as Guest Professor of EU External Relations Law at the University of Antwerp and Senior Fellow with the Centre for European Integration Studies at the University of Bonn. He studied Dutch, International and European Law in Nijmegen and Leuven, holds an LLM and a PhD from Radboud University, as well as the Diploma in European Union Law from the European University Institute in Florence. His primary research interests concern in particular the EU’s inter-institutional dynamics, external relations, system of judicial protection and the effect of European norms in the national legal order. Part of his work appeared in the Common Market Law Review, European Constitutional Law Review, European Journal of International Law and European Public Law. He has further published inter alia on judicial appointments (e.g. in Michal Bobek, ed., Selecting Europe’s Judges, OUP 2015), the EU’s interaction with other international organisation (The European Union’s Emerging International Identity, Brill 2013, ed. With Jan-Jaap Kuipers), and Union citizenship (Civil Rights and EU Citizenship, Elgar 2018, ed. With Sybe de Vries and Marie-Pierre Granger).

    Abstract: The establishment of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) is nowadays often still presented as an unequivocal success story, especially compared to the troubles experienced by kindred institutions elsewhere. For non-specialist audiences, it would even seem that its performance has only recently been cast in a more negative light, pursuant to the judgment of the German Federal Constitutional Court in the Weiss/PSPP saga. The current paper aims to unpack a collection of shortcomings that have gradually accumulated and persist right up to the present, which have however not been interrogated in sufficient depth so far. It starts off with a historical contextualisation of the tug-of-war between the supranational and the national judiciaries, juxtaposing the earlier confrontations with the current debates and controversies. Subsequently, attention is drawn to the sustained imperfections of the judicial selection and appointment process, addressing some pervasive questions of institutional propriety. It hereafter engages in a meta-analysis of earlier discussions with regard to the quality of the case law, testing the veracity of popular contentions with regards to its constant variability. Lastly, the paper canvasses the pressures and agitations internal to the CJEU that became increasingly manifest since the creation of the Court of First Instance. Overall, this quadripartite re-appraisal puts back on record some of the B-sides in the construction of a ‘new legal order’, compensating for the lack of airplay they have received hitherto.

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