Amsterdam Centre for European Law and Governance

A Geostrategic Map of the EU Judiciary

Dr Arthur Dyevre, KU Leuven

06May2014 13:00 - 14:00


Drawing on insights from the international relations literature, Arthur Dyevre develops a formal framework to analyse judicial interactions between domestic and supranational judges in the EU heterarchical legal order.

Dyevre finds that the capacity of domestic courts to influence the development of EU law at ECJ-level is essentially determined by the extent to which they are able to inflict institutional damage on the European Court. The model also predicts that, as long as the domestic costs likely to arise from an escalated conflict with the ECJ continue to be substantial, overt judicial non-compliance should remain rare. Weak courts, in general, have much to lose and little to gain from overt defiance. Meanwhile, domestic judicial superpowers, such as the German Federal Constitutional Court, though they do wield sufficient influence to contain the European Court’s activism, also have strong incentives to compromise. The speakers demonstrates that under reasonable assumptions, a powerful domestic court may use its obiter dicta as an effective signalling device in a peaceful issue-trading equilibrium. A combination of lower domestic costs for non-compliant courts and more ideological judges, on the other hand, results in a situation where domestic judicial defiance is likely to pose a more systemic threat to the authority of EU law.

The speaker

Arthur Dyevre is Associate Professor of Legal Theory at KU Leuven, where he teaches empirical jurisprudence and comparative law. Arthur has held various research fellowships, at the Centro de Estudios Politicos y Constitucionales in Madrid (Garcia Pelayo Fellowship), at the European University Institute in Florence (Max Weber Fellowship) and at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law in Heidelberg. Straddling the boundaries of law and the social sciences, his publications cover a wide range of topics, including the EU constitutionalisation process, EU competition law, the role of national parliaments in the EU, statutory interpretation, legal theory and evolutionary psychology. The core of his research agenda, however, is the study of judicial institutions and judicial decision-making, both in the EU and accross legal systems of the world. His most recent research focuses on constitutional reasoning and the use of data-mining techniques to analyse legal texts (CONREASON Project); the development of a game-theoretic approach to study the interplay between national courts and the European Court of Justice in the EU multi-level legal system; and a reassessment of the empirical foundations of the rationale for judicial review of legislation.



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