Call for Papers: Empowering Domestic Judiciaries

The Role of European Actors in Defending Judicial Independence.

Call for Papers: Empowering Domestic Judiciaries
ELTE Institute of Political and International Studies and CNR Institute for International Legal Studies jointly organised conference titled "Empowering Domestic Judiciaries: The Role of European Actors in Defending Judicial Independence" will take place on 12–13 October 2023. Those interested in presenting a paper at the conference should send an abstract of no more than 500 words and a short CV with the most relevant publications by 31 July 2023.


The conference aims to discuss the role of European actors in promoting judicial independence across Europe. The conference focuses on formal and informal instruments used at the European level to help domestic judiciaries resist political pressure and autocratic tendencies undermining the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary. There has long been a lively debate about the use of European and international law in protecting the rule of law at the national level, and these debates regularly revolve around the developments in the relevant jurisprudence of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) and the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR). Besides these formal practices, the organizers of the conference are particularly interested in the role of informal or soft instruments (such as the work of judicial networks, transnational associations, advisory bodies or academies) in empowering and mobilising domestic judiciaries to stand for their independence. What have these actors done so far? How do they help European courts (CJEU and ECtHR) to address the challenges to judicial independence adequately? And what more can they do to help judiciaries under attack by their governments? Furthermore, we also seek to reveal how transnational and national actors can work together to promote the independence of judges. The conference's main goal is to provide tools for domestic judiciaries to stand for their independence effectively and combat the full-blown politicisation of their profession.

The conference concentrates on judiciaries in Southern Europe and Central and Eastern Europe. Courts from these regions have been facing increasing challenges regarding their independence, and the organisation of these judiciaries show some common patterns which suggest that they can learn from each other. We seek to deliberate on both formal and informal practices available for promoting the resistance of domestic judiciaries and to evaluate their effectiveness in fighting for judicial independence at the national level. As we focus on judiciaries in Southern Europe and the CEE region, we are also interested in how an essentially apolitical, career judiciary can tackle the problem of politicisation.


The organisers are pleased to have the following as keynote and plenary speakers at the conference:

  • András Sajó (Central European University, former judge of the ECtHR)
  • Dimitry V. Kochenov (Central European University)
  • Madalina Moraru (European University Institute)
  • Katarína Šipulová (Masaryk University)

As part of the programme, a roundtable discussion will be held on the potential of mobilizing judges to defend the rule of law and their independence. Panelists will include Duro Sessa (President of the European Association of Judges), Dorota Zabłudowska (judge, Poland), Tamás Matusik (judge, Hungary) and Luca Perilli (judge, Italy).

The conference will start with plenary sessions with invited speakers, followed by sessions with speakers selected by the scientific committee based on their submitted proposals.

Members of the scientific committee: Gemma Andreone (CNR-ISGI), Ágnes Kovács (ELTE), Gábor Halmai (ELTE, EUI), Balázs Majtényi (ELTE), Eugenio Zaniboni (UNIFG).

As the project's main outcome, the organizers plan to publish the selected papers in an edited volume.


Those interested in presenting a paper at the conference should send an abstract of no more than 500 words and a short CV with the most relevant publications to by 31 July 2023. Abstracts will be selected based on their quality and potential to trigger high- level discussion about the conference's core themes.

Suggested topics:

  • The role of international courts in addressing challenges to judicial independence at the national and international level
  • International soft law instruments in the service of judicial autonomy
  • The role of judicial associations and transnational judicial networks in empowering and mobilizing judges
  • How can transnational and national actors work together to defend judiciaries when the rule of law is under attack?
  • Horizontal protection of judicial independence: judicial dialogue between national courts of different EU Member States
  • Models of court administration and the role of judicial bodies in resisting the politicization of courts
  • Forms of judicial mobilization on and off the bench
  • Freedom of expression of judges as a tool for judicial self-defence
  • The role of the legal profession and academia in enhancing the autonomy and resilience of the judiciary
  • Judicial virtues and judicial culture: what can European judiciaries learn from each other?

Any other topics related to the general theme of the conference are welcome. Participation in the conference is free of charge. Should you have any questions, please contact Gemma Andreone ( or Ágnes Kovács (

Date and Venue of the conference

12–13 October 2023

Faculty of Social Sciences, Eötvös Loránd University (ELTE), H–1117 Budapest, Pázmány Péter sétány 1/A