The European Court of Justice after the Eastern Enlargement: An Emerging Inner Circle of Judges
EUSA Conference Paper. Boston 2011 (updated version 2013)
48 Pages Posted: 18 Jan 2015 Last revised: 30 Jan 2015
Date Written: March 1, 2013
The article analyses the adaptation of the European judicial system on the Eastern enlargement. At first, we examine changing litigation patterns in preliminary references and infringement actions, the two major inputs of Courts’ work. While the number of preliminary references increased proportionally to the increase of EU citizens, who are potential litigators, the number of infringement actions remain much behind the increase of potential wrongdoers (the Member States). Having mapped out the changes in Court’s input, we look at the internal processes at the Court after the enlargement. Twelve new judges allowed setting up new chambers. That, on the one hand, enhanced the capacity of the Court, on the other hand it has threatened the ability of the Court to provide doctrinal coherence and the ability to promote particular judicial politics. As a reaction, an inner core of judges emerged. New Member States judges were diffused in several chambers without being appointed to leadership positions. Soon, the inner circle of judges on the leadership positions was partly formalized through regular weekly meetings, which gives the core informational advantage and better planning ability. The president of the Court then has increasingly used his managerial powers in order to assure the inner-core control of the decision-making in important cases. Our findings, however, suggest that the core-periphery structure, though it temporarily discriminates new Member States judges, allows for periphery members to move to the core.
Keywords: European Court of Justice, Eastern Enlargement, New Member States, Judicial Politics, Decision-Making, European Union
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