This book provides a selection of interesting papers presented at the Third REALaw Research Forum, which was held in Utrecht on January 30, 2015. The overarching theme of the colloquium was Judicial Coherence in the European Union.
Ever since the establishment of the EU’s judicial system, coherence in the administration of justice within the EU has been an intriguing topic for debate amongst legal scholars and practitioners. Throughout the development of EU (administrative) law in recent decades, courts have been major players in shaping the EU legal order in law and practice. In the overwhelming majority of cases in everyday EU legal practice, national courts and tribunals fulfil the duty of ensuring that the law is observed in the interpretation and application of EU law. Recent judgments clearly illustrate that judicial coherence in the EU concerns a shared responsibility of the Court of Justice and the courts in the Member States. Between the lines, anticipation of the growing horizontal interaction between national courts of the EU Member States can be observed.
The formal hierarchy of public law legal rules is being eroded and, as a result, is proving less and less useful as a framework for analysis. It is submitted that pluralist concepts such as legal dialogue and legal competition are far more useful for studying the reality of public law today. No longer is the formal hierarchy central, but the debate between the various actors at the various levels. The idea that EU law has primacy over national law, based as it is on the formal hierarchy of legal rules, now seems far too simple.