Chapter

The European Court and Integration

Alec Stone Sweet

in The Judicial Construction of Europe

Published in print September 2004 | ISBN: 9780199275533
Published online January 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780191602009 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/019927553X.003.0001
The European Court and Integration

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Provides an introduction to the book by explaining its origin, purpose, approach, and structure. The first section presents the generic question posed by the book: how is a particular mode of governance, the judicial mode, consolidated as a stable set of practices; it explains that the approach taken combines three strains of theory – theory on judicialization and governance, on the courts as commitment devices, and on the dynamics of judicial rulemaking and precedent. The second section, European Integration and the Legal System, indicates that the book expands on previous efforts to elaborate and test a theory of European integration, and shows that its primary focus is on the impact of adjudicating European Community law on the institutionalization of the European Union (EU), rather than on the impact of EU law on national legal systems. The third section, Determinants of Judicial Discretion in the EU, looks at the question of how the European Court has been able to have such an impact on the course of European integration and the work of the national courts. The fourth section, Precedent and the Path Dependence of Legal Institutions, focuses on why legal institutions tend to develop in path dependent ways; it begins by conceptualizing precedent, and then attempts to show how legal systems can develop in path dependent ways, and discusses how the book goes about analysing precedent in Europe. The last two sections look at the case selection and data used in the book and give a brief outline of its structure.

Keywords: courts as commitment devices; European Court of Justice; European integration; European legal system; European legislation; European Union; governance; institutionalization; judicial governance; judicial rulemaking; judicialization; path dependence and precedent; path dependence of legal institutions; precedent

Chapter.  18048 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: European Union

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