The Force of EU Case Law: An Empirical Study of Precedential Constraint
iCourts Working Paper Series No. 68
In Legal Knowledge and Information Systems: JURIX 2015: The Twenty-Eighth Annual Conference (Vol. 279, pp. 71-80). IOS Press.
27 Pages Posted: 4 Jun 2016
Date Written: May 31, 2016
In this article we investigate whether previous case law of the Court of Justice of the European Union constrains the Court, and whether it can have a legitimatizing effect on its decision-making empirically. While previous literature on citation networks takes into account entire documents in constructing citation networks, we develop a method to build a network of individual references to individual paragraphs of judgments, together with their adjacent texts. We argue that the latter play a key role in explaining the citation and the legal relevance of cited precedents, as well as its normative force. This in turn contributes to the debate on the power of courts to change the law via case law, one of the most persistent and contested themes in the study of courts.
Keywords: Case citation networks, Paragraph to paragraph citation networks, Text annotation, Court of Justice of the European Union, Precedent, EU Citizenship
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