This chapter examines the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), which consists of three courts: the Court of Justice (or ‘the Court’), the General Court, and the Civil Service Tribunal. It focuses on issues of structure and procedure, the extent of the Courts’ jurisdiction, and their role in the promotion of European integration. The chapter also discusses the criticism directed at the CJEU for the way it exercises its judicial powers, which allegedly involve political considerations normally unacceptable for a judicial body. Lastly, the chapter looks at role of the Courts in the current challenging environment facing the EU as a result inter alia of Brexit, the refugee crisis, the rise of populism, and the continuing impact of the economic crisis.
Paul James Cardwell
This chapter provides an overview of the Court of Justice of the EU. The Court has emerged as a powerful player in the history and development of the European integration process. Its contribution to the workings of the EU and our understanding of it are central to both legal and political accounts, while its decision-making has at times been controversial. This chapter explores the history of the court as an institution of the EU, its composition, and how it has developed its role. It considers how we can understand the ‘politics’ of the judicial arm of the EU’s institutional framework and also discusses the ‘activism’ of the Court.
Alec Stone Sweet
This chapter focuses on the evolution of systems of constitutional justice since 1787. It first provides an overview of key concepts and definitions, such as constitution, constitutionalism, and rights, before presenting a simple theory of delegation and judicial power. In particular, it explains why political elites would delegate power to constitutional judges, and how to measure the extent of power, or discretion, delegated. It then considers different kinds of constitutions, rights, models of constitutional review, and the main precepts of ‘the new constitutionalism’. It also traces the evolution of constitutional forms and suggests that as constitutional rights and review has diffused around the world, so has the capacity of constitutional judges to influence, and sometimes determine, policy outcomes.