The power of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) to promote European integration through law has been broadly acknowledged, but the court?s domestic impact has received less attention and remains contested. In particular, the ambiguity of many ECJ judgments is said to have two opposed effects: According to one logic, legal ambiguity enables national policy-makers to contain the impact of court rulings, i.e. to ignore potentially broader policy implications. According to another logic, ambiguous case law provides opportunities for interested litigants to pressure national policy-makers into (anticipatory) adjustments. Which of these two logics prevails, it is argued, depends on the distribution of legal uncertainty costs between supporters and challengers of the regulatory status quo. The argument is supported by two in-depth case studies on the domestic responses to series of ECJ rulings concerning the free movement of capital (golden shares) and services (posted workers).
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