An Ever More Powerful Court? The Political Constraints of Legal Integration in the European Union.

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Scholars generally agree that courts are powerful authorities in settling disputes between parties, but the broader political impact of such resolution is disputed. Are courts powerful generators of political change? This book examines the ability of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) to foster political change for a European Union (EU) social policy, including healthcare. The conventional assumption is that a strong causal link exists between legal and political integration in the EU, in which Court rulings progress and shape European integration. The book challenges this view on the basis of a careful examination of how judicial–legislative interactions determine the scope and limits of European integration in the daily EU decision-making processes. The legislative impact of Court rulings is traced by the use of original data over time from 1957 to 2014 and through three case studies: EU working time regulation, patients’ rights in cross-border healthcare, and regulation of the posting of workers. The book finds that EU legislative politics has the capacity to condition the more general impact of legal integration. It demonstrates how the broader reach of jurisprudence results from a continuous interplay between law and politics, but one where the interpretations, perceptions, and interests of political actors and governing majorities matter for judicial influence on policies. Despite fragmentation of EU politics, politicians can modify and sometimes reject judicial influence on policy outputs. Rather than being judicialized, EU politics respond to and condition the political impact of legal integration, which again affects judicial behaviour.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages256
ISBN (Print)9780198753391
Publication statusPublished - 2015
SeriesOxford Studies in European Law

    Research areas

  • Faculty of Social Sciences - Court of Justice, CJEU, ECJ, judicialization, legislative politics, inter-institutional dynamics, political actors, EU social policies, EU healthcare policies, law politics interaction

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