Choosing for Europe: judicial incentives and legal integration in the European Union

  • Nicolas LampachEmail author
  • Arthur Dyevre


We investigate the factors influencing the choice of domestic judges to pass on cases to the Court of Justice of the European Union. While EU judicial scholars have typically relied on integration theory or ad hoc theories of adjudication to explain referral activity, our theoretical framework draws on general judicial decision making theory and focuses on the incentives and constraints national judges face when deciding whether to submit a references to the Court of Justice. Consistent with our rationalist account of judging, we find empirical evidence that the rate at which national courts refer cases is influenced by familiarity with EU law, power-seeking motives and political fragmentation.


European Court of Justice Fixed effects negative binomial regression Judicial behaviour Legal integration 

JEL Classification

C26 C11 K10 K40 N34 



The authors acknowledge financial support from ERC Starting Grant 638154 (EUTHORITY). We are grateful to Tomas Adamec, Angelina Atanasova, Gilian Bens, Monika Glavina, Frauke Petra Hein, David Ketch, Michal Ovádek and Anna Maria Tonikidou for research assistance.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Law, Centre for Legal Theory and Empirical JurisprudenceKU LeuvenLeuvenBelgium

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