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Supporting rule of law from abroad: a comparative assessment of two post-Arab Spring judicial reforms

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 July 2019

Gaia Taffoni*
Department of Social and Political Sciences, Università degli Studi di Milano, Milano, Italy; Research Associate, School of Public Policy, University College London, London, UK
*Corresponding author. Email:
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In the Southern Mediterranean region, the European Union (EU) supports the establishment of rule of law, pressuring for both the adoption of institutional guarantees of judicial independence and the enhancement of court administration capabilities. Drawing on a set of interviews with key EU and domestic actors, this study compares Morocco and Jordan, examining changes adopted at the institutional and administrative level since the ‘Arab Spring’ broke out. The findings show that external incentives for change penetrated only the administrative level of domestic judicial systems, while a path-dependent effect persisted at the institutional level. The evidence confirms the thesis that in areas of low politics even a mere normative pressure is able to drive rule adoption, whereas in more sensitive policy areas, as in the case of institutional judicial guarantees, the higher costs of adaptation make veto players resistant to external influences for change.

Research Article
Copyright © Società Italiana di Scienza Politica 2019

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