Creating EU law judges: the role of generational differences, legal education and judicial career paths in national judges' assessment regarding EU law knowledge Articles uri icon

publication date

  • May 2014

start page

  • 1120

end page

  • 1141


  • 8


  • 21

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1350-1763

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1466-4429


  • The judicial protection system in the European Union (EU) is premised on the fact that national judges are supposed to act as decentralized EU judges. This role is exercised through tools enshrined in, inter alia, primacy, direct and indirect effect of EU law, and the preliminary ruling procedure. However, a number of studies show that national judges experience difficulties in exercising EU competences due to their lack of knowledge in the field of EU law. In this contribution we study the differences in the level of self-evaluation of EU law knowledge among judges, which consequently influence the way judges approach EU law. For that purpose we question the relevance of several institutional and socio-legal factors, such as organization of the judiciary, generation, the system of legal education and judicial training and practical experience with EU law. Our analysis is based on data collected from German, Dutch, Polish and Spanish judges.


  • Education
  • Law
  • Politics
  • Sociology