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Über dieses Buch

This open access book provides an exhaustive picture of the role that annulment conflicts play in the EU multilevel system. Based on a rich dataset of annulment actions since the 1960s and a number of in-depth case studies, it explores the political dimension of annulment litigation, which has become an increasingly relevant judicial tool in the struggle over policy content and decision-making competences. The book covers the motivations of actors to turn policy conflicts into annulment actions, the emergence of multilevel actors’ litigant configurations, the impact of actors’ constellations on success in court, as well as the impact of annulment actions on the multilevel policy conflicts they originate from.

Inhaltsverzeichnis

Frontmatter

Open Access

Chapter 1. The Neglected Politics Behind EU Annulment Litigation

Abstract
Annulment litigation has become an increasingly relevant judicial tool in the struggle over policy content and decision competences in the European Union. With the expansion of EU competences has come an increasing need for judicial review of actions taken by supranational institutions. Accordingly, the list of EU institutions that find themselves before the Court defending the legality of their actions has become bigger and more diverse. Similarly, the list of applicants has become more heterogeneous over time to include not only member state governments but also private actors, regional authorities, the European Parliament, as well as the Commission and the Council themselves. This introductory chapter lays out our motivation to analytically engage with this legal tool from a perspective of political science.
Christian Adam, Michael W. Bauer, Miriam Hartlapp, Emmanuelle Mathieu

Open Access

Chapter 2. Towards an Analytical Framework to Study Annulments in the EU

Abstract
The political role of annulment litigation has long evaded scholars’ interest. To better understand this role, we need to know why different actors decide to initiate and join annulment actions. Moreover, we have to understand the structure of annulment litigation by assessing the actors that consider and engage in annulment litigation and kinds of configurations in which they act. Finally, we have to analyze the impact of annulment litigation. This chapter develops these research questions. Additionally, it lays the conceptual ground to answer these questions by distinguishing between horizontal and vertical conflicts and between simple and complex conflict situations. While the literature on multilevel governance has traditionally strongly focused on cooperative patterns of coordination, annulment actions offer a way to assess the conflictive aspects of this process. To do so, it is vital to take an integrated look at links between the emergence, structure, and outcomes of annulment litigation.
Christian Adam, Michael W. Bauer, Miriam Hartlapp, Emmanuelle Mathieu

Open Access

Chapter 3. The Legal Background

Abstract
Actions for annulment are the only legal instrument with which member states, other European Union institutions, and even citizens, companies, and interest groups can directly invoke the Court of Justice of the EU. The rules that define the access to the Court and the reviewability of supranational legal acts have evolved considerably since the early days of the European project. While many legal scholars continue to question whether the rules that guide the admission of actions brought by non-privileged actors provide effective judicial protection, the gradual extension of the scope of application of annulment actions, as well as the rising empirical importance of annulment actions over time, reflect the ever-greater powers delegated to the EU and the EU’s increasing internal sophistication.
Christian Adam, Michael W. Bauer, Miriam Hartlapp, Emmanuelle Mathieu

Open Access

Chapter 4. Studying Annulment Actions

Abstract
This chapter presents the empirical strategy to study annulment actions. It relies on a combination of statistical methods and case study research. An original data set is compiled including all actions for annulment that the Court dealt with until 2015. The chapter investigates member state governments’ participation in annulment litigation—and also provides detailed information on all types of actors involved in annulment proceedings, no matter which position in the EU’s multilevel system they occupy. The chapter advances by a systematic analysis of aggregate data with in-depth case studies that rely on extensive documentary enquiry and over forty expert interviews.
Christian Adam, Michael W. Bauer, Miriam Hartlapp, Emmanuelle Mathieu

Open Access

Chapter 5. Motivations: When Conflict Leads to Litigation

Abstract
Different actors and different types of actors initiate annulment actions for different reasons. Four motivations are identified that seem to drive the decision to litigate. These motivations result from the specifics of the political context of the underlying conflict situation. Sometimes, private and public actors are mainly motivated by the wish to maximize material gains or minimize financial loss. Moreover, the chance to expand institutional competences to make decisions is an important motivation for public actors. Furthermore, ideology and ideologically driven conflicts over policy design and conflict can also trigger the wish to litigate against EU institutions. Finally, the motivation to litigate can be driven by the wish to gain political trust from national electorates, subnational authorities, or important companies.
Christian Adam, Michael W. Bauer, Miriam Hartlapp, Emmanuelle Mathieu

Open Access

Chapter 6. Litigant Configurations: Turbulence and the Emergence of Complex Configurations

Abstract
Research on judicial politics typically treats litigant configurations as exogenous factors, which might or might not have an impact on judicial behaviour. Their emergence is, however, rarely subject to theorization. This chapter shows that there is a great variety of different litigant configurations that appear before the Court in annulment actions. These litigant configurations have a truly multilevel character as they combine EU institutions, member states, regional governments, companies, NGOs, and even individual citizens. It is shown that the emergence of complex litigant configurations that include more than just one applicant and one defendant is a typical feature of times of institutional turbulence. In these situations, litigation is particularly influential as the Court is asked to clarify the implications of new legal provisions and therefore particularly important to a variety of actors with different motivations.
Christian Adam, Michael W. Bauer, Miriam Hartlapp, Emmanuelle Mathieu

Open Access

Chapter 7. Litigant Success: How Litigant Configurations Relate to Legal Outcomes

Abstract
Annulment actions with different litigant configurations are associated with different legal outcomes. Chances of legal defeat for the defending EU institution are higher whenever litigant configurations are complex rather than simple. This is because success rates in cases with simple litigant configurations are substantially lower than 50%. In cases with complex litigant configurations, success rates move closer to this 50% benchmark. Complex litigant configurations thus emerge in cases that are less predictable. This is because different political and legal conflict situations give rise to different litigant configurations. Times of institutional turbulence, especially, create legal uncertainty that not only brings more actors to take an active role in litigation but also makes Court rulings harder to predict. Explanations of legal success rates thus cannot treat litigant configurations as exogenous factors. Instead, we have to integrate the emergence of different litigant configurations into our models of judicial behaviour.
Christian Adam, Michael W. Bauer, Miriam Hartlapp, Emmanuelle Mathieu

Open Access

Chapter 8. The Political Side of EU Annulment Litigation

Abstract
While actions for annulment are technical legal instruments, their use is more often than not motivated by political considerations. Annulments are thus a crucial part of the struggle over money, policy, competences, and votes within the European system of multilevel governance. Future research should therefore compare the role and use of annulment actions with the role and use of preliminary references and with infringement procedures. Only by including annulment actions systematically when analyzing judicial politics can a more appropriate understanding of the transformative role of legal conflict in the EU be produced. As shown in this book, such a research strategy is able to provide a more nuanced and context specific understanding of the power and influence of the Court of Justice.
Christian Adam, Michael W. Bauer, Miriam Hartlapp, Emmanuelle Mathieu

Open Access

Correction to: Taking the EU to Court

Christian Adam, Michael W. Bauer, Miriam Hartlapp, Emmanuelle Mathieu

Backmatter

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