Project description

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. 

JUDICON covers the following countries: Albania, the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovakia.

For a detailed description of the project see the section on Methodology which includes the downloadable Codebook and the Coding Scheme. 

JUDICON is funded by the HAS Centre for Social Sciences (total amount: 5.000.000HUF) for the time period 2015-2017.