Lunch seminar with Monika Glavina

National judges as EU law judges? The incentives and constraints for the application of EU law


With a Member State’s accession to the EU, its national judges have been given a new role as EU law judges with both the power and duty to apply EU law in cases that appear before them. A national judge, acting as an EU law judge at the same time, is expected to, inter alia, recognise the principle of supremacy of EU law; interpret national law in conformity with EU law; apply EU law ex officio; and send a preliminary question to the CJEU in case of interpretative doubts. But is this feasible?

This seminar will start by exploring the application of EU law by Member States’ judges by focusing on both the application of EU law inside and outside the preliminary ruling procedure. Monika will then discuss her research on the incentives and constraints for the application of EU law at the national level. Her research is based on the representative and novel data collected by surveying 450 and interviewing 32 judges from two new EU Member States: Slovenia and Croatia.

The seminar will consist of two parts. The first part will cover the results of qualitative interviews with judges. It will discuss the incentives and constraints for the application of EU law outside of the preliminary ruling procedure as well as the incentives and constraints behind judicial decision to refer or not to refer preliminary questions to Luxembourg. The second part of the seminar will focus on the results of statistical analysis where the unit of analysis are judges nested in Member States’ courts. 

The preliminary results show that the application of EU law at the national level is effected by broader set of factors: from the individual characteristics of judges and litigation rates, to factors deriving from the broader institutional context in which they operate. The referral and referral-free behaviour of national judges is further effected by the existence of legal rules, that is—by their duty to apply EU law and send preliminary questions to the CJEU. Institutional factors (which include, inter alia, workload, court quotas and resources), nonetheless, prevail over others.

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