The European Court of Justice (ECJ) is one of the most powerful courts in the European legal area. Yet, while its judgments and decisions are intensively discussed, surprisingly little is known about how they are crafted. Relying on empirical methods and employing the EU’s transparency rules, this book provides insights into the ECJ’s inner workings. Beyond discussing the Court’s Statute and Rules of Procedure, it lays bare the deeper layers of ECJ procedural and organizational law and discusses new aspects, such as the Court’s administration, its chamber system or the role of the judge rapporteur.
The book is guided by a central thesis: procedural and organizational law is not only concerned with regulating technicalities; but it is of crucial importance for the Court’s authority and legitimacy. Building on social science research on the genesis of judicial authority, the book traces the development of the ECJ’s procedural and organizational law – from that of an international court to a corpus of rules that has been instrumental for the ECJ’s rise to power since the 1960s. The book shows how rules on judicial self-government, on the selection of judges or the structure of third party intervention have been crucial for the Court’s uniform appearance, its smooth functioning and inner coherence and the acceptance of ECJ decisions. However, it also shows a number of deficits – notably from the perspective of the ECJ’s democratic legitimacy. The book addresses them by making detailed reform proposals that build on comparative insights from other, notably domestic constitutional courts.