JUDICON is an international research project that compares the strength of the decisions of the constitutional courts in seven European countries to assess how they constrain the legislatures.
Until now, empirical analyses of judicial behavior have based their findings on a binary approach whether judges found a law constitutional or unconstitutional. JUDICON’s new methodological approach replaces the binary approach with a scale that allows for a more realistic measure of the strength of the decisions of the constitutional courts. JUDICON’s methodology breaks down the decisions of the courts and weighs the elements separately to exceed the binary approach. Our project considers the elements of a decision as options from which a judge or the constitutional court makes up a decision and a reasoning thereby adopting resolutions that constrain the freedom and the room for manoeuvre of the legislature on a different level. In a second phase, the project extends to legislative behavior to explore whether there are congruencies between the positions of the judges and their nominating parties. By this we will check whether the attitudinal model of judicial behavior is applicable on CEE constitutional courts. At the same time we will consider the wider political context and check for the external factors which might lead judges to strategic behavior. By connecting the two parts of the research, JUDICON allows for a systematic comparison of the political dynamics between constitutional courts and legislatures.
A comprehensive volume using the JUDICON methodology and database will be published this autumn at Routledge. The book ‘Constitutional Politics and the Judiciary: Decision-making in Central and Eastern Europe’ edited by Kálmán Pócza includes a detailed description of the approach adopted by the project as well as studies on the practice of the constitutional court of the Czech Republic, Germany, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, and Hungary.
Principal investigator: Kálmán Pócza
Kálmán Pócza (ed.) (2018 - forthcoming): Constitutional Politics and the Judiciary: Decision-making in Central and Eastern Europe. (London/New York: Routledge)
Pócza Kálmán, Dobos Gábor, Gyulai Attila (2017): How to Measure the Strength of Judicial Decisions: A Methodological Framework. German Law Journal 18:(6) pp. 1557-1586.