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The European Court of Justice and the National Courts

By Stacy A. Nyikos


Abstract: This paper presents the results of a pioneering venture into opening up the black box of the EU judicial process and determining how the European Court of Justice and national courts work together. The project investigates the effects of certain independent variables- legal system experience, issue transparency and compliance- upon courts’ decisions to maneuver strategically within the referral process in the pursuit of their own agendas. The findings indicate trends in the employment of strategic maneuvering that elucidate how courts interact with one another, as well as the role that courts take on during the development of a fledgling political system. In addition, the findings provide empirical evidence concerning whether Member States ’ preferences or courts ’ pursuit of their own agendas have driven the referral process. The results obtained support neoinstitutionalist claims that it is courts working in pursuit of their goals, rather than those of the Member States, that have driven courts to maneuver strategically within the EU judicial process. Furthermore, in their attempts to attain their own goals, courts have helped to create a legal uniformity among the Member States ’ systems crucial to the development of a new community

Year: 2000
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