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‘Playing the Judicial Card’: Litigation Strategies during the Process of Ratification of the Lisbon Treaty


  • Pablo José Castillo Ortiz

    1. School of Law (Faculty of Social Sciences), University of Sheffield
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    • I am very grateful to Carlos Closa Montero and Daniela Vintila for valuable comments. This research was funded by the Project CSO 2009-06971 of the Spanish Ministry for Research (Micinn).


During the process of ratification of the Lisbon Treaty, a number of constitutional jurisdictions were activated by political actors. In playing ‘the judicial card’, opponents of ratification decided to seek political goals through judicial means, and thus they were obliged to develop litigation strategies. This article explores such strategies and the responses that courts gave them. It shows that constitutional proceedings with regards to the Lisbon Treaty became a political battleground governed by legal logics, in which the interpretation of European clauses, the democratic deficit of the Union and the tensions underlying the European judicial dialogue were privileged objects of discussion between claimants and courts in which law and politics intertwined.