The Court of Justice as an Agent: Delegation of Judicial Power in the European Union

Mark A. Pollack

in The Engines of European Integration

Published in print March 2003 | ISBN: 9780199251179
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191600111 | DOI:
 The Court of Justice as an Agent: Delegation of Judicial Power in the European Union

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European Union governments have delegated judicial powers to the European Court of Justice primarily to monitor national compliance with EU law and to solve problems of incomplete contracting, and they have granted the Court extraordinarily wide discretion to do so.

Member‐state principals enjoy a comparatively small range of control mechanisms vis‐a‐vis the ECJ (e.g. the power of appointment, legislative reversal of Court judgments, and unilateral non‐compliance with those judgments). The Court's broad discretion has allowed it to pursue an integrationist agenda with little regard to the preferences of powerful member states or to the likelihood of legislative overruling. In response to such judicial activism, however, EU member governments have recently been more reluctant to delegate extensive new powers to the Court, which enjoys no jurisdiction in the area of Common Foreign and Security Policy and only partial jurisdiction in the area of Justice and Home Affairs.

Keywords: control mechanism; delegation; discretion; European Court of Justice; European integration; European Union; foreign policy; judicial activism; justice; security policy

Chapter.  19150 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: European Union

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