Trust and distrust in courts in a multi-level judicial system

Trust in governance is generally seen as crucial for the legitimacy and stability of democratic systems. It is a concept that has been widely studied across different disciplines, but legal scholars have given it less attention, which may explain why trust in courts is understudied, especially in Europe. Yet, courts have largely expanded their visibility and impact on politics over the last few decades, with attacks on judicial independence in backsliding democracies and reproaches as to the CJEU’s restraint control on the ECB by the German Constitutional Court. This paper gives an overview of empirical studies on trust/distrust in courts in Europe to explore gaps and introduce a research agenda. It contributes by emphasizing the multi-level context of courts in Europe, linking it with the idea o multilevel trust, and highlighting the need to distinguish between types of courts – national vs supranational, general vs specialized, judiciary vs constitutional courts.