Judicial and Extra-Judicial Review: The Quest for Epistemic Certainty

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Boards of appeal have been set up in some EU agencies to offer legal protection attuned to regulatory fields requiring specialist knowledge. They also moderate the number of technically or scientifically complex cases reaching the generalist EU Courts. However, litigants have recently called in question the limited extent to which boards of appeal delve into contentious empirical appraisals adopted by EU agencies. Do the boards of appeal fulfil the hopes placed in them by exceeding EU judicial review capacities? This paper explores the review technique of the EU Courts and several boards of appeal employed in empirically complex cases decided between 2014 and 2018. It argues that neither the EU Courts nor the boards of appeals can perform a fully autonomous and exhaustive check of the contested empirical appraisals. Due to their institutional and procedural features, they struggle with epistemic uncertainty in regulatory fields in which decisions must be made despite persisting data gaps or the lack of rigorous scientific or technical methodologies. The judicial or extra-judicial review reaches only as far as the applicants themselves can prove the certainty of their scientific or technical assertions against those of the challenged EU institutions or agencies. This conclusion leads to fundamental questions regarding the rule of law’s requirements in relation to the contentious and uncertain empirical basis of a growing number of EU legal acts and the normative functions of EU judicial and extra-judicial review.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Boards of Appeal of EU Agencies: A New Paradigm of Legal Protection?
EditorsMariolina Eliantonio, Merijn Chamon, Annalisa Volpato
PublisherOxford University Press
Publication date2021
Publication statusPublished - 2021

    Research areas

  • Faculty of Law - Court of Justice of the European Union, General Court, board of appeal, Judicial review, administrative review, extra-judicial review, alternative dispute resolution, empirical uncertainty, administrative discretion, technical discretion, action for annulment, administrative appeal, Rule of Law, inquisitorial and adversarial trial

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