The Quality of Decision-Making at the Court of Justice of the European Union

  • Gerard ConwayEmail author
Part of the Ius Gentium: Comparative Perspectives on Law and Justice book series (IUSGENT, volume 69)


The concept of quality of decision-making relates to the core function of courts: to give a legitimate and justified judgment according to an accepted legal method. Thus, while other types of social or political decisions might be largely judged by the acceptability of the eventual outcome (though political decisions often depend on a particular institutional procedure being followed), courts are expected to adhere to a distinctly legal method. The idea of a distinctly legal method can be understood in different aspects: normative or institutional legitimacy; epistemic quality; argumentative, dialectical or deliberative quality; consistency or coherence; moral and consequentialist quality; and jurisdictional quality. Following a discussion of each of these aspects of the Court of Justice’s legal reasoning, this chapter looks at the impact of the Lisbon Treaty and Fiscal Compact; recent scholarship; and, finally, the broader political context in which the Court operates. The chapter concludes that characterising the quality of the Court depends upon the conception of quality employed and that process-oriented and consequentialist justification can be contrasted in the institutional context of courts. Consequentialist reasoning is clearly less dependent upon legal sources and the discipline of legal method, thus raising a question mark over the legitimacy of effet utile arguments widely deployed, as they sometimes are, in the legal reasoning of the Court of Justice.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Brunel Law SchoolBrunel University LondonLondonUK

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