Media Attention, Politicization, and the CJEU’s Public Relations Toolbox – Discovering predictors of newspaper reports about CJEU decisions

PluriCourts Lunch Seminar with Julian Dederke.


Authoritative decisions can lead to politicization, no matter whether they are of legislative, executive or judicial character. However, judicial decisions are often sheltered by the law and hidden from public attention. Decisions of international courts’ (ICs) in particular routinely remain hidden behind the scenes, and ICs’ actions might often seem detached from domestic public discourses. Meanwhile, many ICs have experienced an increase in authority, which makes their decisions more prone to reactions from the side of other institutions and societal actors, and bears potential for politicization. Amidst this trend, the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) evolved as the most powerful IC. With the continued judicialization of politics in the EU and the CJEU’s growing importance, court decisions should increasingly be subject to media attention and public display. The project addresses several research questions: (1) Which CJEU cases are salient in the media?; (2) Under which conditions do newspapers report about CJEU decisions?; (3) How does the CJEU promote judgements by means of press releases and social media?; (4) Is it successful in doing so? Inspired by US case salience data the project provides insight into newly collected data on newspaper coverage of more than 4,300 CJEU decisions in nine EU broadsheets. The project links theoretical expectations about the politicization of judicial authority and courts’ legitimation strategies with empirical data on CJEU case salience. The project provides evidence that the media salience of CJEU decisions varies depending on the standing of courts in national political systems, characteristics of the court cases, inter-institutional conflict, and the Court’s public relations activities. Additional empirical material reveals how the CJEU upgraded its public relations toolbox and professionalized its communication strategies. These findings have profound implications for the perception, legitimacy and accountability of international courts.


PluriCourt Seminars are a forum for pluridisciplinary discussion of core issues relating to international courts and tribunals. PluriCourts scholars or invited speakers present new and ongoing research or comment on current questions. The seminars are open to everyone.

Tags: CJEU
Published Feb. 18, 2019 2:14 PM - Last modified Feb. 11, 2021 2:41 PM