Constitutional Reasoning in the European Court of Justice

Constitutional Reasoning in Comparative Perspective, Forthcoming

36 Pages Posted: 16 Mar 2013

Date Written: February 15, 2013


After having briefly presented some institutional aspects of the Court of Justice of the European Union, the present report analyses forty of its leading cases in order to assess the general characteristics of the legal reasoning developed by the Court in interpreting the Treaties. The report underlines the importance of teleological interpretation and arguments from precedents, the frequency and cogency of the arguments based on the principle of the rule of law, the difficulty for the Court in referring to the political nature of the Union and the tendency to eschew constitutional rhetoric. Above all, the report underlines the high degree of impersonality that the Court is able to achieve in its judgments and concludes that it depends on a variety of factors such as the collegiate nature of the judgments, their subject matter, the declining but persisting influence of the French model, the need for translation and informatisation, the extensive use of precedents and literal self-quotations, and the contradictory and unsettled status of the Court of Justice as sensu lato constitutional court of the European legal space.

Keywords: European Court of Justice, Legal Reasoning, Constitutional Reasoning, Constitutional Adjudiciation, Legal Argumentation

JEL Classification: K39, K49

Suggested Citation

Itzcovich, Giulio, Constitutional Reasoning in the European Court of Justice (February 15, 2013). Constitutional Reasoning in Comparative Perspective, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN:

Giulio Itzcovich (Contact Author)

University of Brescia ( email )

Piazza del Mercato, 15
25122 Brescia

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