Background and activities

I am an interdisciplinary scholar in my field of research, using methodologies as diverse as those of political science, legal analysis, international relations, and sociology to research and write on a range of topics, especially at the boundary of politics and law and of politics and ecology. I specialise in transnational public policy makers and their interactions with domestic institutions (viz., courts and parliaments) and supranational regimes, especially the Council of Europe and the EU. I adhere to the realist tradition in science: – my research is data-driven rather than method-driven. Fieldwork that gives access to primary data has been the mainspring of my academic career, a hallmark of which is to carefully consider the perspectives that matter to my subjects, not just those that matter to me. I am open to inquiry into any topic of timeliness and interest. This overall approach has yielded a variety of publications, from analyses of public policies enacted in widely differing countries and contexts to studies of the behaviour and motivation of political actors making decisions across many domains (environment, European elections, judiciary revisions, etc.). I am noted for converting research agendas into questions or puzzles that lie outside their field of origin, offering counterintuitive insights into things ‘invisible’ to conventional methods; never minding the sources of data that inspired them.

My own research agenda has focussed on the evolution of institutions due to the power relations in majoritarian and non-majoritarian politics. My first monograph, funded by a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship, concerned the judiciary’s role in democracy and how and why ideas about its design had filtered into Europe from the US until they became the norm. I have also investigated the influence of Europeanization on State-civil society relations in Eastern Europe after the fall of Communism, which led to many (including Prize-winning) publications.

Current research project: I am currently researching the politics of Net Zero de-carbonization in response to the new global and transnational normative regime; which interlinks fossil fuel transition with air quality and climate change. My project is to explain the causal nexus of scientific knowledge, ideology, and the stratagems of competing actor-constellations or networks seeking to influence the politics of energy.

Reviewer: The British Academy, The Economic and Social Research Council, European Journal of Political Science, West European Politics, Comparative Politics, Comparative Political Studies, Administrative Sciences, Problems of Post-Communism, Studies in Ethnicity and Nationalism, East European Politics, South European Society and Politics, Europe-Asia Studies, Oxford University Press, Cambridge University Press

Editorial boards: British Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies

Research interests: 
The politics of energy transitions
The power of non-majoritarian institutions
The Judiciary’s relation to democracy
Elites and their transnational networks
Europeanization (in Eastern Europe)
Environmental governance


Parau, Cristina E. (submitted). 'The Philanthropic Privatization of Supranational Justice?' Modern Law Review.

Parau, Cristina E. (in progress). ‘Natural Resource Extraction & Human Health: Testing Effects of Resource Use & Environmental Quality on Multi-Dimensional Health, 1990-2019’ (with Indra de Soysa).

Parau, Cristina E. (submitted). ‘Fangst av overnasjonale domstoler og privatisering av rettssystemet.’ Norwegian Journal of Foreign Affairs. 

 Parau, Cristina E. (2022). 'Transnational Elite Self-Empowerment and Judicial Supremacy', Int’l J. Const. L. Blog, Jan. 16, 2022, at:

Parau, Cristina E. (2021). 'In the Court of Public Opinion: Judicial Supremacy v. The Rule of Law', OXPOL – The Oxford University Politics Blog, Aug. 25, 2021, at:

Parau, Cristina E. (2021). ‘Reply to Bogdan Iancu’s ‘“Not What We Were Promised” Four Answers to an Insoluble Question', VerfassungsblogOn Matters Constitutional, at

Parau, Cristina E. (2019). Transnational Networks and Elite Self-Empowerment: The Making of Judiciary in Contemporary Europe and Beyond, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Parau, Cristina E. (2015). ‘Explaining Judiciary Governance in Central and Eastern Europe: External Incentives, Transnational Elites and Parliament Inaction’, Europe-Asia Studies 67(3): 409 - 442.

Parau, Cristina E. (2015). ‘The Politics of a Written Constitution for Britain’, OXPOL – The Oxford University Politics Blog, at;  republished by the International Association of Constitutional Law Blog, at

Parau, Cristina E. (2014). ‘Environmental Network Governance in Romania: Transnational Norm Entrepreneurs in the Shadow of the EU’ in L. Stan (ed.) Post-Communist Romania at 25: Linking Past, Present and Future, Boulder CO: Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 241-259.

Parau, Cristina E. (2014). ‘The 2014 European Elections in Britain: The Counter-revolt of the Masses?’ Studia Politica XIV(3): 333-365.

Parau, Cristina E. (2014). ‘EU election: Romania's looming presidential ballot raises stakes’, The Conversation, at

Parau, Cristina E. (2013) (ed.) Courts and Representative Democracy. Special Issue of Representation – The Journal of Representative Democracy, 49(3). (with Richard Bellamy).

Parau, Cristina E. (2013). ‘Democracy, Courts and The Dilemmas of Representation’. Representation – The Journal of Representative Democracy, 49(3): 255-266 (with Richard Bellamy).

Parau, Cristina E. (2013). ‘The Dormancy of Parliaments: The Invisible Cause of Judiciary Empowerment in Central and Eastern Europe’. Representation – The Journal of Representative Democracy, 49(3): 267-280.

Parau, Cristina E. (2013). ‘Constitutional Designs: Lessons We Can Learn From The Early American Republic’, Romanian Journal of Comparative Law, 2, 348-382 (with J. W. Bains).

Parau, Cristina E. (2013). ‘Romania's Transnational Constitution: A Tradition of Elite Learning and Self-empowerment” in Galligan, D. & Versteeg, M. (eds) (2013) The Social and Political Foundations of Constitutions, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 497-531.

Parau, Cristina E. (2013). ‘Sadurski, Wojciech (2012) Constitutionalism and the Enlargement of Europe, Oxford University Press’ West European Politics, 36(5) (book review).

Parau, Cristina E. (2013). ‘Q&A with Dr Cristina Parau: Why do politicians let judges have so much power?’, OXPOL – The Oxford University Politics Blog,

Parau, Cristina E. (2012). ‘Judiciary-Elected Branch Power Relations and the Search for Truth’, Romanian Journal of Comparative Law, 2(2).

Parau, Cristina E. (2012). ‘The Drive for Judicial Supremacy in Central and Eastern Europe’ in Seibert-Fohr, A. (ed.) Judicial Independence in Transition, Springer (Max Plank Institute’s Series on Comparative and International Law), pp. 619-667.

Parau, Cristina E. (2012). ‘Thorson, Carla (2012) Politics, Judicial Review, and the Russian Constitutional Court, Palgrave Macmillan’, Law and Politics Book Review, 23(5). (book review)

Parau, Cristina E. (2011). ‘Morlino, Leonardo & Wojciech Sadurski (2010) Democratization and the European Union: Comparing Central and Eastern European Post-Communist Countries (London and New York: Routledge)’, West European Politics, 34(4). (book review)

Parau, Cristina E. (2011). ‘Piana, Daniela (2010) Judicial Accountabilities in New Europe: From Rule of Law to Quality of Justice (Farnham: Ashgate)’, Law & Society Review, 45(3). (book review)

Parau, Cristina E. (2011). ‘The Role of Courts in a Democracy. Report and analysis of a workshop and public debate held at Magdalen College, Oxford, 10–11 February 2011, Foundation for the Law, Justice and Society, Oxford.

Parau, Cristina E. (2011). ‘Courts and the Making of Public Policy: Alternatives to Judicial Supremacy’, Policy brief for the Foundation for the Law, Justice and Society, Oxford,

Parau, Cristina E. (2010). ‘East Side Story: How Transnational Networks Contested EU Accession Conditionality’, Europe-Asia Studies, 62(9):1527-1554.

Parau, Cristina E. (2009). ‘Impaling Dracula: How EU Accession Empowered Civil Society in Romania’, West European Politics, 32(1): 119-141. This article was awarded the 2010 Vincent Wright Memorial Prize by West European Politics. The prize recognizes significant contributions to the study of comparative European politics.

Parau, Cristina E. (2008). ‘Europeanization as Empowerment of Civil Society: All Smoke and Mirrors?’ in W.A. Maloney and J. W. van Deth (eds). From National toward International Linkages? Civil Society and Multi-level Governance, Palgrave.

Parau, Cristina E. (2008). ‘Environmental NGOs and EU accession conditionality‘, Newsletter on Development and Transition, LSE-UNDP.

Parau, Cristina E. (2001). ‘Michael Carley and Ian Christie (2000) Managing Sustainable Development, Earthscan’, Local Environment, 6(3). (book review)

Non-academic publications

Parau, Cristina E. (2012). 'From the Carpathian Peaks to the Dreaming Spires', Romulus: Wolfson College Magazine.

Parau, Cristina E. (2010). 'The Oxford Factor in Eastern Europe', Wolfson College Record.

Parau, Cristina E. (2005).  “Marine Conservation in Madagascar” (video)