Judicial responses to economic inequalities in Europe

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Amalie Frese


DKK 350,000




Internationalisation Fellowships


I investigate developments in case law from European Court of Justice during the economic crisis. The financial crisis that broke out in 2007 resulted in governments' rescue of banks, global decline in equity markets and a long-term unemployment situation in Europe. At present, we do not know enough about how the judiciary has responded to the economic crisis. Thus raises issues such as: are social and economic problems arising from the financial crisis addressed CJEU and how? Is there a change in case law before and after the crisis? What are the consequences of maintaining or re-interpreting legal principles in the context of the economic crisis? How should inequality be interpreted in EU law to effectively deal with material inequality?


Economic inequality, i.e. socio-economic differences between rich and poor, is at the core of social science research in economics, politics and sociology. Somewhat surprisingly, the subject is largely absent from the legal research field. It is surprising because international law and jurisprudence have the potential to shape norms and further develop specific legal rules in a number of economic areas including, for example, social security in the EU and international trade etc. that governs the distribution and redistribution of financial resources. This research project is important because it sheds light on a circuit: how an economical challenge from inequality transmits into the legal sphere and how judicial responses to this challenge becomes legal rules that governs economic life.


The project will rely on an empirical legal analysis of CJEU jurisprudence employing both quantitative and qualitative methods locating topics in the jurisprudence and by assessing the role and function of CJEU in complex environment of European Union law and politics. I will be utilising a unique research methodology by combining machine-learning methods as a tool for an empirical, exhaustive and systematic analysis of the internal perspective of CJEU jurisprudence with a methodological approach to the external forces that restrain the adjudicative powers of CJEU in developing the law in time of the economic crisis.

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