The Legitimization Strategies of International Judges: The Case of the European Court of Human Rights
Forthcoming at Oxford University Press, 2015, in Michal Bobek, Selecting Europe’s Judges
iCourts Working Paper Series, No. 12
26 Pages Posted: 13 Dec 2014 Last revised: 9 Mar 2016
Date Written: December 11, 2014
Most research into the legitimacy of international courts shows very little interest in the judges of international courts and their selection and behaviour. Above all, mainstream research has been focused on the normative challenges to liberal democracy implied by international courts in terms of an alleged juridification and denationalization of politics. This paper raises the question of how international judges’ practices impact the legitimation of international courts. More specifically, it examines international judges’ ability to issue judgments that balance the development of the underlying legal frameworks of their courts with member states’ support and socio-political evolutions in society. To to do it replaces the dominant political science framework of inquiry with a sociological one which highlights the interplays between the agency of international courts and their surroundings. It argues in conclusion that international courts develop ways of legitimization which are contingent on historical socio-political developments, and particularly geopolitical developments causing structural change, the actual cases brought before them, and the forms of support they do or do not enjoy.
Keywords: International courts, international judges, sociology of international courts, legitimacy of international courts.
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