30 March 2017 from 16:00 to 16:45

Elaine Mak: Towards a European Judicial Culture?

Last year we started with IOS Lectures, a get-together for scholars and research master's students who are interested in our strategic theme: Institutions for Open Societies (IOS). In these lectures we create a platform for sharing, exchanging and connecting knowledge and people in order to build new interdisciplinary research alliances within IOS. This lecture will be on the 30th of March introducing prof. dr. Elaine Mak and will be about the possibilities and constraints regarding further alignment of judicial cultures in the EU. (!!) The event will take place in the Sweelinckzaal, Drift 21.

About this lecture

The Lisbon Treaty (2009) has set new goals for judicial cooperation between member states of the European Union (EU) with an eye to providing effective legal remedies and fundamental rights protection. This cooperation is stimulated by the European Commission’s agenda (e.g. judicial training) and practices of ‘transnational borrowing’ between courts in the EU. However, it remains unclear to what extent national judicial cultures, i.e. ideas and practices regarding judging and judicial organisation which have developed over time, can and should converge into a shared ‘European judicial culture’.

This NWO Vidi project analyses the possibilities and constraints regarding further alignment of judicial cultures in the EU. Comparative-legal and empirical studies describe and explain the content and development of three aspects of judicial culture: 1) professional values for judges (moral dimension); 2) legal rules and concepts for European cases (legal dimension); and 3) leadership in judging EU law cases (institutional dimension). Focus is on civil, criminal, administrative and constitutional courts in selected member states and on European judicial networks. The empirical analysis consists of surveys and interviews with judges and with officials at councils for the judiciary, ministries of justice and EU institutions. A constitutional-theoretical normative analysis integrates the findings of these studies to establish whether European constitutional consensus on main aspects of judicial functioning can develop in accordance with the liberal-democratic objective of guaranteeing the ‘rule of law’, defined here as the prevention of the arbitrary use of power.
This research responds to the demands of legal professionals and citizens in the evolving European legal context by providing reference points for judicial cooperation. Academically, the project contributes to the emerging field of more systematic comparative-legal and multidisciplinary research on globalisation and legal systems.

About the Lectures to come

Belle Derks and Henk Kummeling are responsible for the annual programme. Should you have a suggestion for a lecture, please feel free to contact us.

Dates in 2017: May 4th, June 1th, September 7th, October 5th, November 2nd and December 7th.


  • Time: from 16:00 -16:45 followed by drinks
  • Location: Sweelinckzaal, Drift 21
  • Admission: Free
  • Language of communication: English


Start date and time
30 March 2017 16:00
End date and time
30 March 2017 16:45
Entrance fee