Universiteit Maastricht

Montesquieu Institute Maastricht University


M. Scholten, the Political Accountabilitiy of EU Agencies: Learning from the US Experience, 2014

The delegation of public authority to EU independent regulatory agencies raises the question of such agencies’ political accountability. So far this subject has been understudied largely due to the fact that most EU agencies have been entrusted with formally weak powers. In the recent years, however, the number, de facto influence as well as de jure powers of EU agencies have grown considerably. There are 35 EU agencies, which are no longer merely information-gathering assistants of the Commission and national authorities; they may enjoy decision-making and supervisory powers.

This book offers an in-depth analysis of the laws and practices of the political accountability arrangements of all 35 EU agencies. An important added value of this study is that it compares the EU situation with a jurisdiction that has more than a century-long history concerning the matter at stake, the US. The US experience offers valuable lessons to consider for the EU, sends warning signals in relation to some experiences that would be better avoided, and demonstrates similar concerns that indicate the fundamental character of certain questions in the field of the political accountability of independent regulatory agencies.

In light of the ongoing reform on EU agencies’ creation and operation at the EU level, this book concludes with a few recommendations for the EU representative institutions on how the political accountability of EU agencies should be adjusted.

Miroslava Scholten is a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Utrecht Centre for Shared Regulation and Enforcement in Europe (RENFORCE) and at the Europa Institute, Faculty of Law, Economics and Governance, Utrecht University.

M. de Visser, A Comparative Analysis, Constitutional Review in Europe, European and National Constitutional Law Series, Hart Publishing, Oxford, 2013

Constitutions serve to delineate state powers and enshrine basic rights. Such matters are hardly uncontroversial, but perhaps even more controversial are the questions of who (should) uphold(s) the Constitution and how constitutional review is organised. These two questions are the subject of this book by Maartje de Visser, which offers a comprehensive, comparative analysis of how 11 representative European countries answer these questions, as well as a critical appraisal of the EU legal order in light of these national experiences. Where possible, the book endeavours to identify Europe's common and diverse constitutional traditions of constitutional review.
The raison d'être, jurisdiction and composition of constitutional courts are explored and so too are core features of the constitutional adjudicatory process. Yet, this book also deliberately draws attention to the role of non-judicial actors in upholding the Constitution, as well as the complex interplay amongst constitutional courts and other actors at the national and European level. The Member States featured are: Belgium, the Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Hungary, the Netherlands, Spain, Poland, and the United Kingdom.
This book is intended for practitioners, academics and students with an interest in (European) constitutional law. More information >>

H. Geursen and A.W. Heringa, China in blogs en tekeningen, Boom Juridische Uitgevers, 2013

In 2013 the Maastricht director of the Montesquieu Institute spent a year in China as co-dean of the China-EU School of Law in Beijing. In this book he and his wife described in blogs and drawings their observations of legal and daily life in China. More information>>

D.R.P. de Kok en Prof. dr. G.J.Veerman, Over wetgeving, derde herziene druk, Principes, paradoxen en beschouwingen, SDU Uitgevers, 2013

Het gaat over de lusten en de lasten ervan, over de redenen waarom  wetten gemaakt worden en waarom er zoveel van zijn, over hoe zij gemaakt worden, over de werking (waarom werken ze wel en waarom werken ze niet), over de Europese  Unie als relatief nieuwe wetgever en over de paradoxen, bijvoorbeeld dat  mensen een hekel hebben aan regels, maar er ook dol op zijn.

G.J. Veerman, Een empathische wetgever, SDU Uitgevers, 2013

Een effectieve wetgever is een empathische wetgever. In dit boek wordt niet alleen verslag gedaan van een empirisch onderzoek, maar worden ook processen en mechanismen beschreven die zich bij de voorbereiding en de werking van wetten voordoen. Daarmee wordt een beeld geschetst van wetgeving en de mogelijkheden van wetgeving, en wordt duidelijk waarom politici en burgers zo dol zijn op regels, maar zij er tevens een hekel aan kunnen hebben.

S. Hardt, Parliamentary Immunity. A Comprehensive Study of the Systems of Parliamentary Immunity in the United Kingdom, France, and the Netherlands in a European Context, Intersentia, september 2013.

Is it necessary and just that parliamentarians are immune from legal action? If so, to what extent is such immunity justified and which purpose does it serve? These questions reveal a constitutional dilemma. On the one hand, parliamentary immunity safeguards the necessary independence of the legislature. It protects members of parliament from politically motivated legal action and facilitates freedom of parliamentary debate. On the other hand, however, it distorts equality before the law, limits the rights of citizens and obstructs the administration of justice. This dilemma touches the very core of constitutional law. Immunity rules are intimately linked to the basic setup of the democratic state, to the separation of powers, the concept of representation, the rule of law and fundamental rights.

This book contains a comprehensive study of parliamentary immunity in the United Kingdom, France and the Netherlands. It explores and compares the material legal rules as well as the historical and theoretical background of the three systems with a view to identifying common norms and principles. It also takes into account the -European dimension of parliamentary immunity by placing the national immunity systems in the context of the relevant case law of the European Court of Human Rights and providing an analysis of the immunity regime of the European Parliament. While no universal blueprint for parliamentary immunity is in sight, this book demonstrates that a common legal understanding of the function and purpose of immunity is slowly emerging.

S.C. Loeffen, Parlementair onderzoek. Een studie van het onderzoeksrecht in Nederland, het Verenigd Koninkrijk en de Verenigde Staten (diss. Maastricht), Den Haag: Sdu Uitgevers 2013.

Parlementair onderzoek is de afgelopen decennia een vertrouwd verschijnsel geworden in Nederland. Vaak vormen incidenten de aanleiding voor de Tweede Kamer om een tijdelijke onderzoeks- of enquêtecommissie in het leven te roepen. Ervaringen in het Amerikaanse Congres en het Britse parlement laten zien dat een meer structurele, kleinschalige inzet van het onderzoeksinstrument belangrijke kansen biedt om de informatiepositie van de volksvertegenwoordiging te versterken en participatie van burgers te vergroten. Dit boek biedt een analyse van parlementair onderzoek in recht en praktijk in Nederland, het Verenigd Koninkrijk en de Verenigde Staten en bevat, mede vanuit vergelijkend perspectief, voorstellen om de onderzoeksfunctie van de Tweede Kamer verder uit te bouwen. ISBN 9789012391115. Meer informatie en bestellen >> 

Aalt Willem Heringa, Legal Education, Intersentia, 2013 

This book on Legal Education was written based upon many of the author's experiences as professor and dean. The author noted that there is relatively few literature and research about legal education and felt it was necessary to discuss legal education in present times. The book focuses on many issues such as teaching itself, employability, mission and focus of law schools, the future of law schools in this age of internationalisation, student intake, the link with the labour markets and many other issues. One of the conclusions is that law schools will have to seek their own position and niche and that law schools will have different roles. This book also focuses on the need for law school deans and leaders to set clear missions and strategies and work towards education with all the necessary skills and knowledge, which the students can take with them far into the 21st century. No teaching as we did for many years, but analysing what lies ahead and what is needed for future careers.

Christine Neuhold, Sophie Vanhoonacker and Luc Verhey, Civil Servants and Politics, a delicate balance, Palgrave Macmillan, 2013

The relationship between civil servants and politicians is as fascinating as it is complex with their mutual interdependence requiring to cooperate despite the ever-present risk of tension and conflict. For reasons of efficiency it is important that the civil service has a certain degree of independence and detachment from the political process. The requirement of democratically legitimate and accountable decision-making however demands control at the political level.This comparative study focuses on the changing relations between civil servants and politicians in the European Union in the past two decades. In addition to national case studies this book also looks into politico-administrative relations in supranational institutions such as the European Commission and the European Parliament.

Christian Syrier, The investigative function of the European Parliament, Wolf Legal Publishers, 2013

The European Union is said to suffer from an accountability deficit. The most frequently heard explanation for the alleged deficit is that the transfer of national executive powers to the EU level has not been matched by an equivalent increase in the intensity of parliamentary supervision over the exercise of these powers. Rather than asking whether the EU in its entirety suffers from an accountability deficit, this book focuses on one specific instrument the European Parliament can use to hold executive action to account in the EU context: parliamentary investigations. This book analyzes the legal position of the three types of parliamentary committee which conduct investigations - temporary committees of inquiry, temporary special committees and standing committees - and examines specific investigations conducted by them. Conclusions are drawn on the ways and the extent to which they can contribute, and actually do contribute, to holding EU executive actors to account. The book ultimately advances concrete recommendations on how to strengthen the investigative function of the European Parliament in order to prevent and reduce accountability deficits.

Philipp Kiiver, Wytze van der Woude en Luc Verhey, Institutionele aspecten van constitutionele toetsing, Kluwer, 2012

Naar aanleiding van het initiatiefwetsvoorstel-Halsema en in opdracht van het ministerie van BZ en Koninkrijksrelaties, belicht deze studie enkele procedurele aspecten van de mogelijkheid voor rechters om wetten in strijd met de Grondwet.

Aalt Willem Heringa, Boom Basics Staatsrecht, vijfde druk, Boom Uitgevers Den Haag, 2012.

Deze uitgave van Boom Basic Staatsrecht biedt snel en schematisch inzicht in het staatsrecht. De schema's en voorbeelden komen tot de kern van de zaak. De Boom Basics zijn het startpunt voor juridische kennis! Dit deeltje biedt de student een ideale mogelijkheid om snel inzicht te krijgen in het staatsrecht.
Alle delen van de Boom Basics zijn nu ook online te raadplegen. Met een abonnement doorzoek je in één keer alle boeken en heb je snel adequaat antwoord op heel basale kennis- en begrippenvragen. De voorbeelden en schema’s zijn opgenomen, maar ook vind je er hyperlinks naar wet- en regelgeving.

Aalt Willem Heringa and Philipp Kiiver, Constitutions Compared. An Introduction to Comparative Constitutional Law, Ius Commune Europaeum, vol. 104, Intersentia, 2012

This handbook provides a user-friendly introduction to comparative constitutional law. For each area of constitutional law, a general introduction and a comparative overview is provided, which is then followed by more detailed country chapters on that specific area. The subjects covered are the origins and main features of constitutions; federalism and related concepts; parliaments and law-making; governments, their parliaments and their heads of state; and judicial review, including the role of European law and human rights. The country chapters cover the constitutional systems of the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Germany, France and the Netherlands.
Now into its third edition, this book is a helpful guide for students who are for the first time exploring comparative constitutional law, and a solid foundation for more advanced graduate-level courses. The book includes a table giving an overview of the systems discussed, a glossary and an index, model exam questions, fresh translations of the relevant constitutional texts and a selection of important international treaty provisions. For more information, click here

Ph. Kiiver, The Early Warning System for the Principle of Subsidiarity: Constitutional Theory and Empirical Reality, London: Routledge 2012.

This book offers a comprehensive systematic analysis of the European Union’s Early Warning System for subsidiarity, which was introduced by the Treaty of Lisbon. The book includes both a detailed theoretical analysis of the EWS as well as an assessment of how national parliaments have responded to EU legislative proposals under the system. Philipp Kiiver explores whether the System could function as a mechanism of legal accountability offering a partial remedy to the European Union’s much-discussed accountability deficit. The book provides an overview of the historical developments of national parliamentary involvement in the EU and also considers the broader implications of the EWS, including its relationship to democracy and legitimacy. ISBN: 978-0415685221. For more information, click here.

A.W. Heringa (ed.), Bram Akkermans (ed.), Educating European Lawyers, Ius Commune: European and Comparative Law Series, Volume 98, Intersentia, december 2011

Educating European lawyers

The continuing and accelerating process of European integration impacts on European legal education, or ought to have its impact on our ideas about legal education in Europe. Although legal education in Europe is mainly national and usually conducted in the national language, there are initiatives that seek to break through the national barriers and move towards a truly European legal education. The Maastricht European Law School, which focuses on European Union law, international law and comparative law, fully taught in English, is one of these initiatives. In this edited volume we have endeavoured to reflect upon European Legal education in the light of that program, which has been on offer for a couple of years now and which attracts a great deal of students from all over Europe and the world as well, and to offer to interested readers ways forward as well as obstacles and points to ponder.This books pays attention to the developments in European law and the effects these have on legal education in general as well as in other fields. Drawing from their own experiences, the authors describe the current state of law, offer perspectives on future developments and explain how they translate these developments in the law school curriculum. All the contributions in this book have in common that each author seeks to better prepare students for a future in a more integrated Europe.

It is our purpose to generate a European debate about the subject and to move the European discussion forward to concrete steps to effectively establish European legal education for new generations of lawyers that will work in an increasingly Europeanised legal domain. For more information, click here

A.W. Heringa , mr. J. van der Velde , e.a., Staatsrecht, Kluwer, 2011


Dit boek is door de jaren heen ingrijpend herzien. Ook de elfde druk behelst een substantiële herziening van de vorige druk. Hierdoor is het boek de afgelopen jaren niet alleen in omvang toegenomen, maar is het staatsrecht ook uitvoeriger en diepgaander behandeld. Door deze ontwikkeling kan van een compendium niet meer gesproken worden. Eén en ander heeft de redactie doen besluiten dit boek met ingang van deze druk de titel staatsrecht te geven. Deze titel komt beter overeen met de huidige inhoud van het boek dan de vroegere titel Compendium staatsrecht.
De substantiële herziening betreft in de eerste plaats een gedeeltelijke wijziging van het boek. Daarmee wordt beoogd de stof overzichtelijker en beter gestructureerd aan te bieden. Het boek bestaat in de nieuwe opzet uit acht delen. Na de behandeling van constitutionele begrippen en de verhouding van het staatsrecht tot het internationale publiekrecht in respectievelijk deel I en II wordt in deel III de samenstelling, organisatie en werkwijze van de wetgevende en bestuurlijke organen van de centrale overheid besproken. Vervolgens komen in deel IV de functies van deze organen aan de orde. De bespreking van de decentrale overheidsorganen en hun functies, alsmede hun verhouding tot het Rijk vindt daarna plaats in deel V. In een nieuw deel VI wordt ingegaan op de staatkundige verhoudingen in het Koninkrijk der Nederlanden zoals deze gelden krachtens het Statuut. De delen VII (rechtspraak) en VIII (rechten van de mens) ten slotte bestonden ook al in de tiende druk en zijn alleen geactualiseerd.
Naast wijziging van de structuur van het boek zijn enkele belangrijke inhoudelijke wijzigingen aangebracht. In het in deel I opgenomen hoofdstuk IV wordt uitvoeriger dan voorheen aandacht besteed aan het democratiebegrip. In dit hoofdstuk worden diverse democratietypen en theorieën besproken. Voorts hebben de belangrijke verdragswijzigingen die voortvloeien uit de inwerkingtreding van het Verdrag van Lissabon hun weerslag gevonden in deel II van het boek. Het in dat deel opgenomen hoofdstuk IX over de Europese integratie is ingrijpend herzien. In het deel over het staatkundig bestel van de centrale overheid is onder andere meer aandacht besteed aan presidentiële en parlementaire stelsels in het algemeen De staatkundige hervorming van het Koninkrijk die in 2010 haar beslag kreeg was aanleiding om in een separaat deel VI de verhoudingen binnen het Koninkrijk opnieuw tegen het licht te houden. Dit deel is vrijwel volledig nieuw ten opzichte van de tiende druk. De overige delen van het boek zijn deels geherstructureerd en geactualiseerd.
Het boek leent zich bij uitstek voor gebruik in het (bachelor)onderwijs aan instellingen van wetenschappelijk en hoger-beroepsonderwijs. Meer informatie en bestellen >>

Martijn Zwiers, The European Public Prosecutor’s Office. Analysis of a Multilevel Criminal Justice System, Antwerp: Intersentia 2011

After years of debate, the Treaty of Lisbon introduced a legal basis for the introduction of a European Public Prosecutor’s Office. The provision indicates that the Council may establish this new Office from Eurojust, and that it will be competent to combat crimes affecting the financial interests of the Union and possibly serious cross-border crime. However, this provision leaves more questions than it answers. This book takes a broad look and addresses several issues including the Office’s embedding in the EU institutional structure, democratic accountability, and the prosecutors’ mandates. ISBN 978-17-8068-029-3. For more information and to order, click here.

Wytze van der Woude, Financiële controle in het gemeenterecht. Een juridisch onderzoek naar de ‘dualisering van de financiële functie’, Deventer: Kluwer 2011

Waar publieke middelen uitgegeven worden, horen behoorlijke controlemechanismen te bestaan. In het gemeenterecht hebben deze controlemechanismen het afgelopen decennium forse wijzigingen ondergaan. Er zijn nieuwe financiële controleurs geïntroduceerd, de opzet van de gemeentelijke begroting en jaarrekening is ingrijpend gewijzigd en er heeft een aanscherping van de rechtmatigheidscontrole plaatsgevonden. Deze wijzigingen vormden een belangrijk onderdeel van de 'dualisering van het gemeentebestuur'. In dit proefschrift komt het proces van dualisering dan ook uitgebreid aan de orde. Tegen die achtergrond is getracht een antwoord te geven op de vraag in hoeverre de controlepositie van de gemeentelijke volksvertegenwoordiging (de gemeenteraad) verbeterd is. ISBN 9789013097504. Meer informatie & bestellen >>

Joop van den Berg & Bert van den Braak, Zonder last. Beschouwingen over de regels in de politiek, Elsevier 2011

Politici kennen nauwelijks nog de regels van hun eigen vak. De afgelopen twee decennia is de gemiddelde parlementaire ervaring van Tweede Kamerleden gehalveerd. Gelukkig kunnen zij altijd nog te rade gaan bij Joop van den Berg en Bert van den Braak. Deze twee gepassioneerde wetenschappers verzorgen beurtelings een zeer inzichtelijke column op de website van het Parlementair Documentair Centrum van de Universiteit Leiden. In hun stukken voorzien zij de actuele politieke gebeurtenissen van staatsrechtelijke en historische achtergronden. Deze bundel bevat hun beste beschouwingen. Meer informatie en bestellen >>

Philipp Kiiver, Sources of Constitutional Law, Groningen: Europa Law Publishing 2010 (2nd ed.)

This volume contains important constitutional and legislative texts from the United States, France, Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, as well as provisions from the European Convention on Human Rights and the Treaty on European Union. It helps students to work with, and to cite, written sources of constitutional law from various systems. All texts are reproduced in the original or authentic English or are freshly translated into English under critical editorship. ISBN 978-90-8952-090-6. For more information and to order, click here.

Aalt Willem Heringa & Philipp Kiiver, Constitutions Compared, Antwerp: Intersentia 2009 (2nd ed.)

This updated and expanded second edition of the successful Constitutions Compared handbook provides a user-friendly introduction to comparative constitutional law. The book covers the constitutional systems of the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Germany, France and the Netherlands. It is intended as a helpful guide for students who are for the first time exploring comparative constitutional law, and as a foundation for more advanced graduate-level courses. ISBN 978-90-5095-955-1. For more information, click here.

Jan Wouters, Luc Verhey & Philipp Kiiver (eds.), European Constitutionalism Beyond Lisbon, Antwerpen: Intersentia 2009

As Europe’s leaders seek to finally secure the ratification of the Treaty of Lisbon after the Irish “no” vote, it is time to take a step back and review the past decade of attempts at European constitutional reform in a broader perspective. This book not only discusses the changes that had been envisaged under the EU’s Constitutional Treaty and the Treaty of Lisbon. It also shows, in a number of areas of European integration, the continuity of Europe’s constitutional development before and beyond Lisbon. Subjects covered are treaty-making and understanding the outcome of referendums; the process of de-pillarization and the development of the Union’s human rights agenda; citizenship, migration and foreign policy; the EU’s “social market economy”; the role of national parliaments and the pursuit to maximize executive accountability and democratic legitimacy in the EU; and issues surrounding democracy and transparency. Views on the future of European constitutionalism conclude the discussion. ISBN 978-90-5095-888-2. For more information and to order: click here.

L. Verhey, Ph. Kiiver & S. Loeffen (eds.), Political Accountability and European Integration, Groningen: Europa Law Publishing 2009.

This volume addresses the future of political control and accountability in a European and comparative perspective. It is based on the contributions to an international conference hosted by the Montesquieu Institute Maastricht in March 2008. The conference concluded a larger research project that was devoted to identifying features of domestic constitutional law that could help develop a system of effective accountability for the European Union. This volume contains contributions from Thomas Christiansen, Paul Craig, Deirdre Curtin, Bruno de Witte, Philipp Kiiver, Veith Mehde, Dawn Oliver, Jit Peters, Michael Shackleton, Jan Jacob van Dijk, Walter van Gerven, Luc Verhey and Anchrit Wille. ISBN 978-90-8952-055-5. Voor meer informatie en bestelling, klik hier.

Political Accountability in Europe: Which Way Forward?
Edited by Luc Verhey, Hansko Broeksteeg and Ilse Van den Driessche

There seems to be a growing tendency, as prominently shown by the fall of the Santer Commission in 1999 and more recently in the Constitutional Treaty, to construe the relationship between the Commission and the European Parliament as a parliamentary system. In a parliamentary system, the government gives account to Parliament and, where appropriate, suffers the consequences if errors have been made. The aim of this project is to further develop a European concept of political accountability. Therefore, it can be relevant to identify what political accountability precisely means in the various Member States. In order to identify common principles (ius commune), twelve distinguished constitutional lawyers and political scientists have analysed the concept of political accountability from their national perspectives. In a comparative chapter, the parallels and the differences between the national systems are identified and the extent to which common ground can be found in Europe is explored. In a final chapter, an analysis is made of the extent to which this ‘ius commune’ can be applied to the EU-level.

Political Accountability in Europe: Which Way Forward. A Traditional Concept of Parliamentary Democracy in an EU Context, edited by Prof. Luc Verhey, Dr. Hansko Broeksteeg and Dr. Ilse Van den Driessche, Groningen: Europa Law Publishing 2008. ISBN: 978-90-76871-82-0. For more information and to order, click here.