The full text of the article is available only in Russian.
The courts of countries that are part of integration projects in Europe – the European Union or the Council of Europe – operate under conditions where their decisions may differ from the positions of transnational courts, the European Court of Justice and the European Court of Human Rights, respectively. By joining these organizations, participating countries have made certain commitments, including taking into account the requirements of transnational legal systems. However, in practice, the limits of these obligations are the subject of disagreement between transnational courts and the constitutional or other apex courts of particular countries. The main issue is the question which court plays the decisive role by resolving hard cases. Both sides are responsible for increasing tensions between national and transnational courts. For example, ECtHR judges may be less informed about the situation that caused the dispute in a particular country and about the consequences of their decision for that country. In turn, the national courts may not exceed transnational courts in understanding and quality of interpretation of transnational law. Because of this, courts at both levels seek cooperation, which can take place in different forms. This can be publication of books and articles that express the position of a particular court, as well as meetings between judges of different courts, among which the annual conference under the auspices of the ECtHR should be highlighted. Additionally, cooperation can also be established while considering specific cases. Courts can put statements that are not crucial for the substantiation of a decision, but which express the position of the court on the issue under consideration (obiter dictum). Requests for interpretation of transnational law submitted by national courts to transnational courts also play an important role. Responses to such requests may be mandatory (European Court of Justice) or advisory (ECtHR). For illustration of the relationship between the Federal constitutional court of Germany and transnational courts, the article provides the following two examples. The FCC and the ECtHR held somewhat different views on the issue of the so-called preventive detention of persons who are considered dangerous. After several decisions by both courts, they managed to bring their positions closer together. The relationship between the FCC and the European Court of Justice over the European Central Bank’s right to buy government bonds of Euro zone member states has become more complicated. The main reason for this is the fact that this issue from the sphere of economic policy is difficult to settle in court. At the end of the article, the author points out that reaching compromises between national and transnational courts can bring advantages as well as disadvantages. Compromises are a sign of political activity that is not typical for courts, and under certain circumstances can reduce the effectiveness of the judiciary.
About the author:
Gertrude Lübbe-Wolff – Professor of Public Law, University of Bielefeld, Germany; judge of the Federal Constitutional Court of Germany (2002–2014)
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