It remains unclear what institutional characteristics determine the publication of press releases by constitutional courts. Research has revealed that courts use press releases to disseminate information; however, little is known about when exactly courts choose to publish a press release on a ruling. By focusing on institutional elements, this study argues that press releases form a part of judicial public relations and are used to enhance openness and transparency surrounding specific court rulings. This argument is tested empirically via a novel dataset on the activities of the German Federal Constitutional Court. Based on 1131 senate rulings decided between 1996 and 2018, this study demonstrates that proceeding types and changes to the status quo are the main characteristics that determine the publication of court press releases, whereas intra-judicial and internal conflicts are revealed to be less influential.
constitutional courts, judicial politics, political communication, political public relations, press releases