Explaining the Decline of Judicial Independence across Europe
The recent developments in Hungary and Poland show that judicial independence is under significant threat in the context of Europe. Focusing on the constitutional reforms adopted by Hungary and Poland, the main objective of the project is assessing the causal impact of judicial reforms on de facto judicial independence and explaining whether judicial independence decreases due to the structural change of the judiciary or due to the change in the political and social context that has triggered the adoption of the judicial reforms in the first place. In order to empirically analyze the causal impact of judicial reforms on de facto judicial independence in Hungary and Poland, “Synthetic Control Model” will be used. This method is similar to experimental research wherein the researcher creates a treatment and control unit and empirically shows the causal impact of any intervention. By using synthetic control method, it will be possible to empirically show what would have been the level of judicial independence if the constitutional reforms were not adopted by the ruling governments in Hungary and Poland. As a result, this study aims to make two important contributions to the literature. First, this project would help us to understand the causal mechanisms that lead to decreasing levels of judicial independence across Europe. Second, by using causal inference model this research will help us to empirically show the causal impact of judicial reforms on de facto judicial independence.