Constitutional Politics and Political Realism

3.1. Judicial Constraints on Legislatures in Europe 1990-2020 (JUDICON-EU)

Recent confrontations between constitutional courts and parliamentary majorities have attracted international interest in the relationship between the judiciary and the legislature in Europe. Several political actors have argued that courts have assumed too much power after the democratic transformation process in the last three decades. These claims are explicitly or implicitly connected to the charge that courts have constrained the room for manoeuvre of the legislatures too heavily and that they have entered the field of politics. Nevertheless, the question to what extent this aggregation of power has constrained the dominant political actors has never been examined accurately and systematically in the literature. The JUDICON-EU project aims to fill this research gap by applying the methodology of the JUDICON project ( Researchers from 25 European countries are going to code the relevant decisions of European constitutional courts in order to assess the diversity and the strength of judicial decisions between 1990 and 2020. This huge database might serve as a starting point for future researches interested in judicial politics and judicial-legislative relations. 

Research questions:

The JUDICON-EU research project aims to explore the diversity and strength of judicial decisions in Europe. While descriptive statistics based on the JUDICON-EU dataset might be useful for having a clear and detailed picture on the practice of constitutional adjudication in Europe, the project aims also to explain judicial behaviour. Consequently, the research project will try to find the most important factors which might have influenced the diversity and strength of judicial decisions. By applying various quantitative methods, the project focuses on various explanative factors of judicial behaviour like public trust indexes of constitutional courts, de facto independence of the judiciary, political fragmentation and polarization, and margin of majority in the parliament.

For more information on the research see the homepage of the project: JUDICON-EU

Participants of the project:

Kálmán Pócza (Principal Investigator)

Gábor Dobos