Domestic Judicial Non-Compliance in the European Union: A Political Economic Approach
35 Pages Posted: 24 Feb 2013
Date Written: January 21, 2013
In a multi-level, non-hierarchical court system, where courts at the upper echelon do not have the power to reverse the decisions of courts at the lower level, judicial cooperation appears crucial to the effectiveness of the higher-level law. For this reason, the recent judgment of the Czech Constitutional Court, which declared the decision of the Court of Justice in the Landtová case ultra vires, would seem to deal a terrible blow to the authority of European Union law. As doomsayers will be quick to point out, the Czech decision could set a dangerous precedent that may well one day bring down the entire edifice of EU law. However, borrowing insights from game theory and international relations, the present article argues that this judgment is more likely to remain an isolated episode than to be remembered as the tipping point when tensions between the CJEU and domestic courts escalated into the judicial equivalent of nuclear Armageddon. The author shows that many aspects of the jurisprudence of constitutional conflict can be represented as a simple Hawk-Dove game. A modified, slightly more sophisticated model then helps cast a wider light on the use of non-compliance threats by domestic high courts, notably the German Federal Constitutional Court.
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