From European Standard(s) to a European Space of Justice? Judicial Networks, Quality of Justice, and the EU.

Wednesday, 13 July 2016: 16:30
Location: Seminarsaal 20 (Juridicum)
Oral Presentation
Bartolomeo CAPPELLINA, Sciences Po Bordeaux, France
The concept of quality of justice appears nowadays a mandatory reference in every policy discussion over justice and its organizational dimension. However, its significance is far from being uniform depending on the context and the actors employing it. In the international sphere, a broad spectrum of activities and documents focuses on this issue. These standard-setting activities take place in various transnational arenas, promoted either by international organisations as the Council of Europe and the European Union or by the professionals of the justice sector themselves. This paper looks in depth at the transnational standard-setting activity on “quality of justice”, considering if and how this characterisation effort participates to the construction and definition of a proper European space of justice. A comparative study of the activities and instruments developed by three European judicial networks (CEPEJ, CCJE, ENCJ) particularly active on this topic is at the core of the analysis. Building on a theoretical framework inspired by political sociology and sociology of public policy instrumentation, I combine an analysis of the social fabric(s) of these policy instruments with an analysis of their circulation at the European level, considering in particular their reception and adaptation by the European Commission. Therefore, this paper provides, in first place, a theoretical reflection over the role of actors, of their professional backgrounds, and of their cognitive arguments in framing the connotation of “quality of justice” at the European level. Additionally, focusing on the process of reception-adaptation of these instruments, this paper draws attention to both the dynamics of learning through which the European Commission constructs its own expertise in matters of judicial organization, and the role played by the latter in sanctioning a certain view of the quality of judicial systems as an integrant part of the constituting European space of justice.