Abstract

Despite the importance of the role of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in European integration, its decision-making process is little studied. In particular, the interactions between the political and the legal arena deserve greater attention. Member States’ governments and the ECJ are usually presented as two separate and competing entities, whilst in fact there is a great deal of interaction between these two institutional actors. This article, based on extensive comparative empirical research, uses US sociolegal scholarship on litigation to analyse governments’ litigation in a way which contributes to current theoretical understandings of judicial decision-making, European integration and Europeanization. It identifies, describes, compares and analyses governments’ EU litigation strategies, in order to assess whether and how governments influence European legal developments through litigation. It also stresses the need for governments of the new Member States and candidate countries to understand the importance of adopting a strong and consistent EU litigation strategy, so as to play their part in the development of EU law.