Current Developments

Many presumptions and no guarantees

Preliminary observations on Shepherd C-472/13

Yesterday, several (German) newspapers reported that the ECJ empowered the Bavarian Administrative Court in Shepherd v. Germany C-472/13 to examine whether or not the United States committed war crimes in the course of the US-led invasion of Iraq. This certainly makes for a catchy headline, but a preliminary study of the decision reveals that it is unlikely that the Bavarian Court will need to get its hands dirty by engaging …



Judicial appointments and the right kind of politics

A response to Bilyana Petkova   Judicial appointments matter, but it is difficult to pinpoint why exactly. One possibility – mentioned by Bilyana – is that there is a connection between representation and legitimacy. It is easy to see that there is a link. Large groups in society might lose trust in the legal system if they are systematically underrepresented on the bench. However, the link is nebulous and never …



Selecting Europe’s Judges: on the Evolving Legitimacy of Appointments in Luxembourg and Strasbourg

What is judicial legitimacy?

The concept of legitimacy is a favorite debate among many political philosophers and lawyers. Since our perceptions of what is legitimate change over time, we look at legitimacy not as a static concept but as one evolving over time. Judicial appointments, particularly to constitutional, federal and international courts have always been a sensitive matter. In Europe, the impartiality and professional merit of both domestic and supranational judges are becoming a …