The theory of constitutional pluralism as advanced by MacCormick and Walker witnessed immense success in its attempt to explain the relationship between courts of Member States performing constitutional review and the Court of Justice. Despite its success, the theory has often been criticized for its lack of normative prescriptions and legal certainty in resolving the question of the final arbiter in the EU. It is the aim of this Article to address and move beyond these criticisms by introducing and exploring the auto-correct function necessary for the proper and balanced functioning of the pluralist system.
The auto-correct has the function of preventing an outbreak of conflict between the constitutional jurisdictions involved—in the EU judicial architecture, an awareness on the part of all the actors involved of the benefits of a pluralist setting results in conflict management and control. The auto-correct function operates as follows: in the EU as we know it, issues prone to constitutional conflict arise regularly, and both the Court of Justice and national constitutional jurisdictions are able, through their respective procedural avenues, to control the extent of the conflict. There are also two legal imperatives driving this dynamic in two opposite directions—the principle of primacy of Union law on the one hand, and the obligation to respect the national identity of Member States on the other.
As analyzing judicial behaviour shows, the application of self-restraint and mutual accommodation avoids a clash between parallel sovereignty claims on EU and national levels. In particular, national and EU law interaction demonstrates the existence of in-built conditions for the auto-correct function's application, such as the principle of EU-friendly interpretation in national constitutional law, or the national identity clause in primary EU law. The auto-correct function manifests itself and brings about a balance between the different constitutional orders only through the interaction of parallel claims to sovereignty.