Uncertainty and Legal Disintegration: Evidence From Brexit

33 Pages Posted: 28 Nov 2018 Last revised: 16 May 2019

See all articles by Arthur Dyevre

Arthur Dyevre

Leuven Centre for Empirical Jurisprudence

Monika Glavina

KU Leuven - Faculty of Law

Nicolas Lampach

KU Leuven - Centre for Legal Theory and Empirical Jurisprudence

Michal Ovadek

KU Leuven

Wessel Wijtvliet

KU Leuven - Faculty of Law

Date Written: October 31, 2018

Abstract

When does uncertainty about continued membership in a highly integrated polity like the European Union (EU) start impacting the behavior of judges and litigants? The Brexit referendum has created uncertainty over the terms of the UK's future relationship with the EU and, in so doing, over the application of EU law and the authority of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in the UK legal system. While the UK is still formally part of the EU, we argue that this uncertainty is already discouraging British litigants and judges to invoke EU law and to refer cases to the ECJ. Using data on referral activity from the UK's accession in 1973 up to mid-2018, we apply a difference-in-difference design to evaluate the effect of the Brexit vote on the referral propensity of British courts. We find strong evidence that the Brexit vote is adversely affecting the use of EU law. UK judges are referring 22 per cent fewer references after the vote than did prior to it. With the future relationship between the EU and the UK still in limbo, our analysis suggests that the uncertainty arising from the political process has already begun to unravel the fabric of legal integration.

Keywords: Brexit, Difference-in-Difference, European Court of Justice, Judicial Behavior, Disintegration, Inverse Probability Weighting, Natural Experiment

JEL Classification: C01, C99, D72, K00, P16

Suggested Citation

Dyevre, Arthur and Glavina, Monika and Lampach, Nicolas and Ovadek, Michal and Wijtvliet, Wessel, Uncertainty and Legal Disintegration: Evidence From Brexit (October 31, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3276189 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3276189

Arthur Dyevre

Leuven Centre for Empirical Jurisprudence ( email )

Tiensestraat 41
Leuven, B-3000
Belgium
+32492971322 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.arthurdyevre.org

Monika Glavina

KU Leuven - Faculty of Law ( email )

Tiensestraat 41
Leuven, B-3000
Belgium

Nicolas Lampach (Contact Author)

KU Leuven - Centre for Legal Theory and Empirical Jurisprudence ( email )

Tiensestraat 41
Leuven, B-3000
Belgium

Michal Ovadek

KU Leuven ( email )

Belgium

Wessel Wijtvliet

KU Leuven - Faculty of Law ( email )

Oude Markt 13
Leuven, Vlaams-Brabant 3000
Belgium

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