Lunch Seminar with Mark Dawson

Accountability and Discretion in EU Economic Law


There seems little doubt that the evolution of economic governance has opened-up a significant discretionary space at the heart of EU law and politics. A key academic concern may be – if not to close this space altogether – at least to consider how legal and other tools could be used to address the normative concerns discretionary economic rules create (particularly their potential to challenge norms of accountability, transparency and democratic rule protected in the EU Treaties).

This paper’s aim is to explore the prospects and limits for various strategies for containing discretion in EU economic law and policy. These strategies include the establishment of more detailed and prescriptive rules to guide executive decisions, the use by Courts of procedural tools to manage discretion, the development of doctrines such as a ‘margin of appreciation’ in reviewing economic decisions, and the expansion of (in particular economic) knowledge among judicial actors.

As the paper will explore, each option contains distinct strengths and weaknesses, such that no single method may address the evolution of discretion adequately on its own. The paper’s objective will therefore be to provide judges and policy-makers with a map of possible tools for their attempts to contain economic discretion in future EU policy-making, and, most importantly to link debates regarding discretion with the broader accountability structure of the EU economy.

All interested are welcome to attend. Registration is not necessary.