Abstentions and recusals in European constitutional courts: a comparative analysis of conflict of interest prevention

In a few countries, there are currently ongoing debates and proposals about whether or not their respective highest judicial bodies interpreting the constitutionality of statutes or other public acts should be subject to explicit or more stringent conflict of interest rules and, in particular, abstentions and recusals. This paper will look at this issue comparatively by focusing on mainland European constitutional courts, by classifying the existing solutions, and by analysing how well these mechanisms function in practice. Overall, this will provide indications on whether or not more stringent conflict of interest rules for constitutional court judges are necessary and why this might be the case.