Delegating to International Courts: Self-Binding vs. Other-Binding Delegation

41 Pages Posted: 20 Jul 2007 Last revised: 2 Sep 2015

See all articles by Karen J. Alter

Karen J. Alter

Northwestern University - Department of Political Science; University of Copenhagen, Faculty of Law - iCourts Center of Excellence

Abstract

Most scholars think of courts as a single category of adjudicative bodies or triadic dispute adjudication. But courts play a variety of roles in the domestic political system. Increasingly, the roles and tasks delegated to International Courts (ICs) mimic in form and content the roles and tasks delegated to courts in liberal democracies. Thus where initially ICs were created to be dispute adjudication bodies, now they are also delegated the roles of administrative review, enforcement, and even constitutional review. This paper overviews the variety of judicial roles delegated to courts, explaining how each role primarily binds other actors, binds states, or both. Analyzing twenty founding treaties for international courts, the paper shows that delegation to ICs is extensive, and growing. It highlights how delegating a role to international courts is fundamentally different than delegating the exact same task to domestic courts, assessing the implications for national sovereignty of delegating specific roles to ICs.

Keywords: International Courts, Enforcement, Delegation, Dispute Resolution, International Law, International Administrative Law

JEL Classification: K10, K33, K42, F15

Suggested Citation

Alter, Karen J., Delegating to International Courts: Self-Binding vs. Other-Binding Delegation. Law and Contemporary Problems, Vol. 71, No. 1, pp. 37-76, 2008. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1001949

Karen J. Alter (Contact Author)

Northwestern University - Department of Political Science ( email )

601 University Place
Evanston, IL 60208
United States

University of Copenhagen, Faculty of Law - iCourts Center of Excellence ( email )

Karen Blixens Plads 16
Copenhagen, DK-2300
Denmark

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