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Characteristics of Precedent: The Case Law of the European Court of Justice in Three Dimensions
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Law.
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Law.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-6009-7412
2015 (English)In: German Law Journal, ISSN 2071-8322, E-ISSN 2071-8322, Vol. 16, no 5, 1073-1098 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The case law of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) is one of the most important sources of European Union law. However, case law’s role in EU law is not uniform. By empirically studying how the Court uses its own case law as a source of law, we explore the correlation between, on the one hand, the characteristics of a CJEU case— type of action, actors involved, and area of law—and, on the other hand, the judgment’s “embeddedness” in previous case law and value as a precedent in subsequent cases. Using this approach, we test, confirm, and debunk existing scholarship concerning the role of CJEU case law as a source of EU law. We offer the following conclusions: that CJEU case law cannot be treated as a single entity; that only a limited number of factors reliably affect a judgment’s persuasive or precedential power; that the Court’s use of its own case law as a source of law is particularly limited in successful infringement proceedings; that case law is particularly important in preliminary references—especially those concerning fundamental freedoms and competition law; and that initiating Member State and the number of observations affects the behavior of the Court. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 16, no 5, 1073-1098 p.
Keyword [en]
CJEU, case law, precedent, network analysis, empirical legal studies
Keyword [sv]
EU-domstolen, rättspraxis, nätverksanalys, empirisk rättsvetenskap
National Category
Law (excluding Law and Society)
Research subject
Law; europarätt; allmän rättslära
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-110469OAI: diva2:862437
Swedish Research Council
Available from: 2015-10-22 Created: 2015-10-22 Last updated: 2015-11-12Bibliographically approved

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Derlén, MattiasLindholm, Johan
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