National courts take a pivotal role in making European Community law a living truth for citizens. Individuals may turn to the courts in order to invoke rights derived from Community law. However, the capacity of individuals to effectively enforce their Community law rights depends crucially on the correct application of Community law by national courts.
In line with developments in international law, and in particular with the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights, the ECJ has recently stepped up its level of scrutiny with regard to national courts incorrectly applying Community law. As a consequence of a sequence of strong rulings, there is now a clear trend towards holding states accountable for their courts. By contrast, national laws traditionally tend to shield states from accountability for judicial conduct.
This book is the first to deal with possible legal responses in the Community legal order and beyond, when national courts incorrectly apply Community law. Rooted in a rigorous contextual analysis of recent jurisprudence, this work discusses various alternatives for future developments in the Court´s case law. The author explains the often uneasy nature of the relationship between national courts and the ECJ. He explores common concerns voiced against an excessive degree of accountability for judicial conduct.
This work is based on extensive research on European Community law and adjacent areas of public international law. It is highly recommended to academics and advanced law students, as well as practitioners in the field of Community law, including national judges, policy makers and government officials.
Bernhard Hofstötter studied law at the Universities of Vienna, Oslo, Leuven (magna cum laude) and St. Gallen (magna cum laude). He is presently an Assistant Professor of European Law at the University of Fribourg and a visiting lecturer at the Academia Istropolitana Nova in Bratislava.