The exercise of institutions’ powers inevitably leads to frictions with other bodies. The political toolbox of dispute settlement by EU institutions involves unilateral measures, interinstitutional dialogue or negotiation, and litigation. Insufficient attention has been paid in scholarship to the motives pushing institutions to choose the CJEU as an arbiter for their competing interests. This research offers a comprehensive look into litigation between the European Parliament and the Council before the CJEU. Case-mapping yields novel findings on the scope and target areas of disputes submitted to the Court. The resort to the CJEU entails a certain risk as to the outcome and so intra-institutional rational choice decisions should thus balance both the expected benefits and the uncertainty of the outcome when choosing litigation as a suitable conflict resolution tool. The criteria are tested in a frozen bilateral conflict in the field of budgetary discharge that has not yet reached the Court.