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Delegation, Compliance, and Judicial Decision Making in the Court of Justice of the European Union

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  21 October 2022

Sivaram Cheruvu*
University of Texas at Dallas, USA
Jay N. Krehbiel
West Virginia University, USA
Contact the corresponding author, Sivaram Cheruvu, at


Courts regularly delegate tasks to individual or small subsets of judges. While a substantial literature addresses delegation in the context of American courts, less is known about why and how courts delegate from a comparative perspective. With many of the world’s high courts using panel systems (also known as “chambers”) by which the court delegates cases to subsets of judges, this limitation of the extant literature leaves a number of empirical and theoretical questions unanswered. We argue that the threat of noncompliance presents one factor influencing a court’s delegation of cases to panels. From our expectation that a court will not delegate cases with a greater risk for noncompliance to panels, we then derive empirical implications for case disposition and a court’s willingness to rule contrary to the legal merits in a case. We analyze panel usage at the Court of Justice of the European Union to support our account.

© 2022 Law and Courts Organized Section of the American Political Science Association. All rights reserved.

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Data and supporting materials necessary to reproduce the numerical results in this article can be found in the JLC Dataverse at


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