Unleashed dialogue or captured by politics? The impact of judicial independence on national higher courts" cooperation with the CJEU Articles uri icon

publication date

  • September 2021

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1350-1763

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1466-4429


  • Though the EU is a rule of law community it struggles to make all Member States engage fully in upholding its laws and values. Some issues have to do with concrete violations against basic rights others are more institutional having to do with the independence of the judicial system as such. In this article, we look at the institutional side demonstrating that there is a link between the degree to which the judicial branch of a Member State enjoys full independence and its national high court engagement with the CJEU through the preliminary reference procedure. While drawing on judicial dialogue instruments, it is demonstrated how higher courts that are less constrained by political power make more preliminary references. This finding supports the hypothesis that governments that keep courts in a short leach often discourage judges from engaging with Luxembourg, impacting in the longer run the uniform development of EU law.