Skip to content
printicon

The European Court of Justice ́s case law and its importance as a source of law

Research project How has case law-based EU-law developed and how is it structured? How should we understand the European Court of Justice's judgments as a source of law?

The projects seeks to examine how the European Court of Justice ́s (ECJ) case law is important as a source of law. Unlike most national legal systems in Europe, the law of the European Union can be found in and is developed through court judgments, most importantly the case law of the ECJ. Several areas of EU law has been developed by the ECJ adjudicating individual cases and then expanding upon those cases in future cases. Despite its central importance in Europe, very little is known about how the Court creates its case law. The primary reason for this lack of knowledge is that the legal methods traditionally used to examine the Court ́s decisions are poorly suited for identifying patterns in the vast material that is the case law (ca 9 000 judgments). The project shall analyze research in network analysis and statistical analysis capable of identifying such patterns in the case law from a legal perspective. Through its different parts the project will (1) compare and evaluate various methods for grouping ECJ judgments together; (2) analyze and compare the different methods for identifying the ECJ?s most important judgments; (3) determine if citation choices affects the outcome of a case; (4) explain what guides citation choices; (5) describe and explain the historical development of the ECJ?s case law; (6) develop a model capable of detecting changes in the ECJ?s case law at an early stage; and (7) identify citation preferences of different ECJ judges.

Project overview

Project period

2012-01-01 2014-12-31

Research subject

Computing science, Law, Statistics

Project description

The projects seeks to examine how the European Court of Justice ́s (ECJ) case law is important as a source of law. Unlike most national legal systems in Europe, the law of the European Union can be found in and is developed through court judgments, most importantly the case law of the ECJ.

Several areas of EU law has been developed by the ECJ adjudicating individual cases and then expanding upon those cases in future cases. Despite its central importance in Europe, very little is known about how the Court creates its case law. The primary reason for this lack of knowledge is that the legal methods traditionally used to examine the Court ́s decisions are poorly suited for identifying patterns in the vast material that is the case law (ca 9 000 judgments).

The project shall analyze research in network analysis and statistical analysis capable of identifying such patterns in the case law from a legal perspective.

Through its different parts the project will (1) compare and evaluate various methods for grouping ECJ judgments together; (2) analyze and compare the different methods for identifying the ECJ?s most important judgments; (3) determine if citation choices affects the outcome of a case; (4) explain what guides citation choices; (5) describe and explain the historical development of the ECJ?s case law; (6) develop a model capable of detecting changes in the ECJ?s case law at an early stage; and (7) identify citation preferences of different ECJ judges.