Alec Stone Sweet

in The Judicial Construction of Europe

Published in print September 2004 | ISBN: 9780199275533
Published online January 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780191602009 | DOI:

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The conclusion addresses certain major features of the overall course of European integration in light of the book's priorities and findings, indicating that the book has pursued two main objectives: the first, to demonstrate that the course of European integration has been profoundly shaped by a system of adjudication managed by the European Court of Justice (ECJ); the second, to test a range of propositions about how the legal system operates, and to trace the effects of the ECJ's case law on policy outcomes, and on the policy‐relevant behaviour of nonjudicial actors. In some areas, including free movement of goods and sex equality, judges – not governments or legislatures or the Member States – have broadly determined the paths along which institutions evolved. Judicial supremacy partly inheres in the ECJ's status as trustee, partly in the dynamics of the constitutionalization process provoked by the ECJ in the mid‐1960s, and partly by the propagation and diffusion of specific techniques of judicial governance, such as those associated with precedent‐based balancing standards. Every chapter of the book presents evidence refuting claims that the ECJ and the national courts operate as relatively perfect ‘agents’ of the Member States or national governments, and shows that the activities of supranational organizations such as the ECJ routinely produce ‘unintended consequences, from the perspective of those who have designed and redesigned the EC. The author concludes that he does not see how theories that make predictions about how integration has proceeded from institutional design can be rescued.

Keywords: adjudication; case law; constitutionalization; European Community; European Court of Justice; European integration; European legal system; European policy; judicial governance; Member States; national governments; supranational governance; supranationalism

Chapter.  4179 words. 

Subjects: European Union

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