The decision-making process of European constitutional courts. A comparative perspective

Mathilde Cohen, in her study on supreme and constitutional courts’ organizational cultures, hypothesised that there is a reciprocal influence between a court’s institutional design and the style of its opinions. I share her hypothesis. Thus, before exploring the practice of judicial dissent, I address its institutional and procedural contexts, since these exert a profound influence on this phenomenon. For this purpose the most relevant aspect of the decision-making process is represented by its personal dimension: the role of the judicial panel’s most prominent members (its president, the rapporteur judges and the opinion-writer) and that of law clerks.