General Introduction: Autonomy and Heteronomy of the Judiciary in Europe


  • Joxerramon Bengoetxea Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea - Universidad del País Vasco
  • Heike Jung Universität des Saarlandes


Autonomy of Judges, Judicial Decision-Making, Judicial Adjudication, ADR, Judicial collaborators, Justice as service, Justice as power, conform interpretation


Judges and the judiciary have always been a subject of debate. The questions of legitimacy, activism v self-restraint; appointment or selection, accountability, the rise of alternatives to formal justice, ADR, are at the heart of the discussion. However, the law-job of dispute resolution is not actually done by the judges on their own, nor in isolation; judges have many different sorts of collaborators and some of these can develop some scope for autonomy. At the same time the judiciary claims to be an independent power, but it is also a basic public service to the citizens; how can the public administration be involved in securing-facilitating this service? Finally, when deciding and interpreting the law judges often need to take into account norms belonging to different but coordinated legal systems and find coherence between them, and it can be questioned whether the method of conform interpretation they resort to might enhance or diminish their autonomy.


Author Biography

Joxerramon Bengoetxea, Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea - Universidad del País Vasco

Reviewing interests: legal philosophy; legal theory; legal reasoning; EU law; Legal cultures and comparative law (legal pluralism, globalisation and law); Judiciary; Labour law-employment policy, lifelong learning policy; governance; regionalism and nationalism in Europe; European Integration and Constitutional Pluralism; European Human Rights; Soft Law and policy makin; Law-making, legislative drafting; Multilingualism; Reasonable Accommodation; Anti-terrorism in EU, risk and security; Sources of law; General Legal Principles; Cohesion policy; Serives of General Public Interest; Judicial dialogues




How to Cite

Bengoetxea, J. and Jung, H. (2012) “General Introduction: Autonomy and Heteronomy of the Judiciary in Europe”, Oñati Socio-Legal Series, 1(9), p. 3. Available at: (Accessed: 28 June 2022).