Het Hof Van Justitie Van De Europese Unie En De Rechtsbescherming Van Burgers. Over Actieve, Afwachtende En Afwezige Particuliere Procespartijen (The Court of Justice of the European Union as a Guardian of Citizen Rights)

T Havinga, Jos Hoevenaars

Research output: Chapter/Conference proceedingChapterAcademic


The paper explores the notion of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) as a guardian of citizen rights, specifically focusing on the position of the individual litigant and his or her means of claiming rights before the CJEU. According to some scholars, the court could provide a remedy to the EU’s deficits by protecting individual rights, fostering a true European rule of law and by giving citizens a stake in EU governance. We employ a bottom-up approach to explore this notion. By means of analysis of the court’s case law combined with interviews with litigants we show large differences in types of litigants (active, passive and absent) and a gap between collective and individual gains as a result of the court’s decisions. We conclude that reality is not quite as rosy as the image of the CJEU as a people’s court may suggest. The far-reaching economic liberalization within Europe and the growing emphasis on individual rights (and obligations) of European citizens in EU legislation formally make the Court the highest authority in the field of the protection of a host of individual rights. In practice, however, due to formal, procedural, practical and financial barriers, it remains very difficult for individuals to actually reap the benefits thereof. From the perspective of the citizen, the significance of the CJEU thus lies more in the general social effects of its decisions than in individual rights protection.
Original languageDutch
Title of host publicationIssues that matter
Place of PublicationNijmegen
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes

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