Globalization & Law Network Seminar 'Trust in Multi-Tiered Systems: A legal perspective' by Prof. Patricia Popelier

On 13 March 2023, the latest Globalization & Law Network seminar took place. We had the pleasure to listen to prof. Patricia Popelier speak about her ongoing research on “Trust in Multi-Tiered Systems”. Dr Šejla Imamović acted as a discussant.

Prof. Popelier pointed out that trust is not a legal concept but a psychological disposition. Nonetheless, trust is fundamental in institutional design and public regulation. The question of citizens’ trust in the government has been investigated by social and political scientists. A question which remains unanswered, however, is how this trust can be translated into law.

Striving to close a gap in the scholarly literature, prof. Popelier presented the two papers shedding a legal perspective on the role of trust as a vital fact for good governance. The first paper, “(Dis)trust in federal systems” (co-authored with Prof. Peter Bursens), analyzes the interconnected dynamics of a multi-tiered system in search of a constitutionally defined and contested balance between cohesion and autonomy. It also explores how, through a series of indicators developed to measure the balance between the two factors, one can determine the level of federalism in a state.

The second paper presented by prof. Popelier focused on mutual trust, the European Arrest Warrant and the rule of law in an interdisciplinary context (published in European Law Journal in co-authorship with Dr Giulia Gentile and prof. Esther van Zimmeren). It poses the question of whether trust can be imposed as a legal obligation in a federal system. After examining the shortcomings in the CJEU's interpretation of mutual trust, prof. Popelier concluded with a proposal for a system that constantly tries to build trustworthiness and takes care of mechanisms of trust-building but that leaves room for exceptions as well. 

If you are interested in the work of the Globalization & Law Network and would like to join the upcoming seminars, please register here.

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