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Chilling or Learning?

The Effect of Negative Feedback on Interjudicial Cooperation in Nonhierarchical Referral Regimes

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  21 October 2022

Arthur Dyevre*
Centre for Empirical Jurisprudence, KU Leuven, Belgium
Nicolas Lampach
Centre for Empirical Jurisprudence, KU Leuven, Belgium
Monika Glavina
Erasmus Law School, Rotterdam University, the Netherlands
Contact the corresponding author, Arthur Dyevre, at


We exploit the nonhierarchical nature of the European Union legal system to investigate the effect of negative feedback on intercourt cooperation. We argue that, in the context of a nonhierarchical referral system, formal dismissals expose shirking, which the principal, the referral court, has no formal power to curb. Yet we find that when referring courts have experienced a formal dismissal, they are not only more likely to resubmit but also more likely to see their references accepted. This effect increases with the number of formal dismissals previously experienced. Our findings suggest that referring courts expect significant benefits from cooperation that the referral court is able to leverage to ameliorate the quality of the referring judges’ work.

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

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The authors gratefully acknowledge financial support from European Research Council grant 638154 (EUTHORITY). We are grateful to Tomas Adamec, Angelina Atanasova, Gilian Bens, Frauke Petra Hein, David Ketch, Russell Neudorf, and Anna Maria Tonikidou for invaluable research assistance.


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