Global Judicial Governance of Cultural Diversity: The Role of the European Judge

15 Pages Posted: 31 Dec 2015

See all articles by Jessica Almqvist

Jessica Almqvist

Universidad Autónoma de Madrid - Faculty of Law

Date Written: December 31, 2015


How to manage a growing cultural and religious diversity with its origin in human mobility across the globe is a pressing theme in Europe. A process of shrinking tolerance of diversity in favour of the imposition of prohibitions of certain acts grounded in culture is now observed. Both female genital mutilation involving unjustified violence against children and women and other cultural practices believed to be oppressive, such as the full-face Islamic veil in public places, have been criminalized. This development prompts the question about the role of European judges in the enforcement and review of these bans. More generally, it brings into focus the prospects of judicial governance in times of diversity, whether it is to provide justice in individual cases, protect fundamental rights, or promote transparency in law-making processes. In this light, the aim of this paper is to examine the nature and degree of European judicial engagement with cases involving law-breaking depending on cultural differences. Of main interest are the challenges currently facing European judges in the process of judging and sanctioning the new crimes as well as in the performance of judicial review.

Keywords: cultural diversity, female genital mutilation, Islamic veil, immigrant women, tolerance, religious freedom, judicial governance, and the European Court of Human Rights

Suggested Citation

Almqvist, Jessica, Global Judicial Governance of Cultural Diversity: The Role of the European Judge (December 31, 2015). European Society of International Law (ESIL) 2015 Annual Conference (Oslo). Available at SSRN: or

Jessica Almqvist (Contact Author)

Universidad Autónoma de Madrid - Faculty of Law ( email )


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