Nordic Reluctance Towards Judicial Review Under Siege

Nordic Journal of Human Rights, Vol. 27, No. 2, pp. 131-141, 2009

11 Pages Posted: 7 Sep 2010

Date Written: 2009


Is the judicial review in accordance with our democratic sensibilities? In a Nordic context this is a question that has caused much public consternation in all five countries in recent years, most likely because you find courts and constitutionalism appearing almost everywhere you look and because judicial power seems to continue to increase. Not only has the European Court of Justice cemented its powers with the EU’s enlargement and with EU legislation on the rise and becoming increasingly open to interpretation; the Strasbourg court and other international dispute-settlement bodies have also become more powerful. In the Nordic countries, judicial review has generated a wide debate not only among specialists but equally among the wider public. The Nordic states are normally considered to be well functioning, homogenous and stable democracies. They are anti-hierarchical welfare states uncomfortable with rigorous judicial review by courts. Accordingly, controversial and dynamic legal interpretations of vague European treaties and legislation by foreign judges are bound to fan the flames of debate. One of the questions most frequently asked is whether European judicial review can be justified. Like other key mechanisms of legal harmonization in Europe, European judicial review also merits research as a symptom and cause of the reconfiguration of a world order of sovereign states as they move ever closer to a complex, multi-level political and legal regional and global order with fragmented sovereignty; indeed, we seem forced to reconsider traditional conceptions of ‘sovereignty’ and ‘democracy’. Understanding and assessing the variety of impacts of European Judicial Review on national institutions might also shed light on the normative legitimacy of these larger shifts.

Keywords: Judicial Review, Nordic Countries, Human Rights, European Court of Justice, ECJ

Suggested Citation

Wind, Marlene and Follesdal, Andreas, Nordic Reluctance Towards Judicial Review Under Siege (2009). Nordic Journal of Human Rights, Vol. 27, No. 2, pp. 131-141, 2009. Available at SSRN:

Marlene Wind

University of Copenhagen ( email )

Øster Farimagsgade 5, University of Copenhagen
iCourts - Faculty of law, Uni of Copenhagen
Copenhagen, DK-1040

Andreas Follesdal (Contact Author)

Pluricourts ( email )

P.O. Box 6706
St. Olavs plass 5
0130 Oslo

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