Networks, Dialogue or One-Way Traffic? An Empirical Analysis of Cross-Citations between Ten of Europe’s Highest Courts

12 Pages Posted: 22 May 2012 Last revised: 29 Jan 2014

See all articles by Martin Gelter

Martin Gelter

Fordham University School of Law; European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

Mathias Siems

European University Institute (EUI); Durham University

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: May 10, 2012


Today judges are said to 'see each other not only as servants and representatives of a particular polity, but also as fellow professionals in an endeavour that transcends national borders' (A.M. Slaughter). This statement was made in the context of transnational litigation but it may also reflect a more general trend. Interaction may take place in various forms. There is some direct transnational cooperation between judges, but it can also be seen as a form of influence when a particular court is frequently cited by its foreign counterparts. In this article, which is part of a wider research project, we present our findings on cross-citations between ten of Europe's highest courts. We considered 636,172 decisions and found 1,426 cross-citations between 2000 and 2007. The first section of the article summarises the data considered and the search methodology used. The next two sections present different ways of visualising these data: on the one hand three types of bar charts, and on the other hand two network presentations of the cross-citations between the ten courts. Subsequently, we examine the relationship between incoming and outgoing citations, in particular whether some of our countries may be regarded as 'the core' and the others as 'the periphery'.

This paper is part of a research project comprising three articles. The other two articles can be downloaded at and

Keywords: cross-citations, highest courts, citation networks, judicial dialogue, network analysis, comparative law

Suggested Citation

Gelter, Martin and Siems, Mathias, Networks, Dialogue or One-Way Traffic? An Empirical Analysis of Cross-Citations between Ten of Europe’s Highest Courts (May 10, 2012). Utrecht Law Review, Vol. 8, No. 2, p. 88-99, May 2012. Available at SSRN:

Martin Gelter (Contact Author)

Fordham University School of Law ( email )

150 West 62nd Street
New York, NY 10023
United States
646-312-8752 (Phone)


European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)


Mathias Siems

European University Institute (EUI) ( email )

Via Bolognese 156 (Villa Salviati)
Firenze, 50139


Durham University ( email )

Stockton Road
Durham, County Durham DH1 3LE
United Kingdom


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