Judicial empowerment expanded: Political determinants of national courts' cooperation with the CJEU Articles uri icon

publication date

  • August 2019

start page

  • 374

end page

  • 393


  • 4


  • 25

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1351-5993

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1468-0386


  • Scholars in EU studies have developed diverse justifications for explaining why national judges cooperate with the Court of Justice of the European Union. In this regard, judicial empowerment theories have stressed the strategic importance of cooperation for empowering national courts vis-à-vis high courts and political actors. Nevertheless, these explanations have been restricted to the use of preliminary references by lower courts. This contribution expands the explanatory power of these approaches by exploring other potential scenarios and instruments that national judges can use to challenge the position of their governments and judicial superiors, for example, by emphasising the importance of CJEU precedent for their strategic behaviour. By offering new data collected from case-law and surveys, this article offers a more systematic assessment of the relevance of cooperation for national judges to reinforce their authority against other institutions. The findings call for a revision of the traditional understanding of judicial empowerment theories.


  • Law
  • Politics