Strengthening International Courts and the Early Settlement of Disputes

Journal of Conflict Resolution, Vol. 54(1), pp. 5-38, 2010

Posted: 3 Apr 2013

See all articles by Michael J. Gilligan

Michael J. Gilligan

New York University - Department of Politics

Leslie Johns

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Department of Political Science

B. Peter Rosendorff

Independent

Date Written: 2010

Abstract

How does variation in the strength of a court’s jurisdiction and enforcement affect strategic behavior by states involved in international disputes? The authors construct a formal model and identify three important ways that legal institutions can have a deleterious effect on international cooperation by magnifying the bargaining problems arising from incomplete information about the quality of the legal claims. First, strong courts create less information revelation in pretrial bargaining. Second, strong courts reduce the likelihood of pretrial settlements between states. Third, strong courts lead to more brinksmanship over high-value assets, which leads to conflict if the court refuses to intervene. The authors argue that a key policy implication of their model is that attempts to strengthen international courts must be accompanied by increased precision of international law to ameliorate the deleterious effects of strong courts.

Keywords: international court, international law, enforcement, jurisdiction, rational design

Suggested Citation

Gilligan, Michael J. and Johns, Leslie and Rosendorff, B. Peter, Strengthening International Courts and the Early Settlement of Disputes (2010). Journal of Conflict Resolution, Vol. 54(1), pp. 5-38, 2010, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2243936

Michael J. Gilligan

New York University - Department of Politics ( email )

19 West 4th Street
New York, NY 10012
United States

Leslie Johns (Contact Author)

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Department of Political Science ( email )

405 Hilgard Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1472
United States

B. Peter Rosendorff

Independent

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