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http://ssrn.com/abstract=1643839
 
 

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Precedent in International Courts: A Network Analysis of Case Citations by the European Court of Human Rights


Yonatan Lupu


George Washington University - Department of Political Science

Erik Voeten


Georgetown University - Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service (SFS)

March 3, 2012

British Journal of Political Science, 2012

Abstract:     
Why and how do international courts justify decisions with citations to their own case law? We argue that, like domestic review courts, international courts use precedent at least in part to convince “lower” (domestic) courts of the legitimacy of judgments. Several empirical observations are consistent with this view, which we examine through a network analysis of European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) citations. First, the Court cites precedent based on the legal issues in the case, not the country of origin. Second, the Court is more careful to embed judgments in its existing case law when the expected value of persuading domestic judges is highest. These findings contribute to a developing literature that suggests international and domestic review courts develop their authority in similar ways.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 44

Keywords: European Court of Human Rights, International Law, Precedent, Network Analysis

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Date posted: July 19, 2010 ; Last revised: March 5, 2012

Suggested Citation

Lupu, Yonatan and Voeten, Erik, Precedent in International Courts: A Network Analysis of Case Citations by the European Court of Human Rights (March 3, 2012). British Journal of Political Science, 2012. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1643839

Contact Information

Yonatan Lupu (Contact Author)
George Washington University - Department of Political Science ( email )
Washington, DC 20052
United States
Erik Voeten
Georgetown University - Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service (SFS) ( email )
Washington, DC 20057
United States
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