Pluralistic Deficit and Direct Claims to European Constitutional Courts

Serena Baldin
Researcher of Comparative Public Law
University of Trieste, Italy

Pluralistic deficit is connected to the difficulties of representing individual and collective interests. From this perspective, access to European Constitutional Tribunals, particularly in the newest Central and Eastern European countries, is broadly guaranteed to persons or organizations, such as constitutional bodies, territorial entities, political parties, labor unions, socioeconomic organizations, and religious associations. With few exceptions, such as Italy and France, European legal systems confer on citizens the option to resort to constitutional courts directly. Where individual direct access is regulated, constitutional jurisdiction works at the ideal level. This brief approach makes it difficult to discuss pluralistic deficit with reference to constitutional tribunals because the growth of individual and social rights runs parallel to their judicial protection through different sorts of instruments (extensive access, more competencies, expansion of parameters, and types of sentences). But this situation also produces a paradox: a generalized tendency to increase access to constitutional justice risks diminished accuracy in judgment, prevision of summary proceedings, and minor legal guarantees, as I explain below. In this way, public control and transparency–which are factors strictly connected to pluralism and used to anticipate the outcome of cases and thus guarantee legal certainty (and respect for precedent)–can be seriously affected.

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