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Public and Elite Perceptions of Supranational Courts: The European Perspective

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image of Review of Central and East European Law
For more content, see Review of Socialist Law.

This article investigates the perceptions of legal insiders (i.e., those working professionally with law) and legal outsiders (i.e., those affected by law) of European supranational courts in general, and the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) in particular. Drawing on largescale qualitative and quantitative data collected in Norway, UK, Poland, Bulgaria and Ukraine, the article shows that support for such courts is widespread across Europe—though less so in the UK than elsewhere. Support is predominantly ‘informed’ by practical considerations of usefulness rather than by ideology. Our data suggest that national legal cultures are highly responsive to ECtHR case law as a legal transfer. This, in turn, has implications for the debate on the legitimacy of the ECtHR and, thus, also for its future.

Affiliations: 1: Fafo Institute for Applied International Studies, Oslo, Norway


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