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Networks, Dialogue or One-Way Traffic? An Empirical Analysis of Cross-Citations between Ten European Supreme Courts
Utrecht Law Review (2012)
  • Martin Gelter
  • Mathias M. Siems, Durham University

Today, according to Anne Marie Slaughter, "judges see each other not only as servants and representatives of a particular polity, but also as fellow professionals in an endeavour that transcends national borders." Such interaction may take place in various forms. There is some direct transnational cooperation between supreme court judges, but in our project we focus on cross-citations as a form of influence. To be sure, the citation of a foreign court does not necessarily mean that foreign ideas were really a decisive consideration for the outcome of a case. Still, cross-citations can show to what extent courts use foreign law as a justification for a judicial decision.

In this short paper, which is part of a wider research project, we present and analyse some of our findings on cross-citations between ten European supreme courts. We managed to get access to the full text of almost all decisions of these ten courts for the period between 2000 and 2007. It total we considered 636,172 decisions and found 1,426 cross-citations. The paper is structured as follows: first, we summarise the data considered and the search methodology used. The next two parts present different ways to visualise these data: on the one hand three types of bar charts showing the citations per citing court, and on the other hand two network presentations of the cross-citations between the ten courts. Subsequently, we examine the relationship between incoming and outgoing citations, in particular whether some of the ten courts may be regarded as "the core" and others as "the periphery". Finally, we discuss possible policy implications, in particular in the context of the European Union.

  • cross-citations,
  • supreme courts,
  • citation networks,
  • judicial dialogue,
  • network analysis,
  • comparative law,
  • comparative civil procedure
Publication Date
Citation Information
Martin Gelter and Mathias M. Siems. "Networks, Dialogue or One-Way Traffic? An Empirical Analysis of Cross-Citations between Ten European Supreme Courts" Utrecht Law Review Vol. 8 (2012)
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