Do Scandinavians Care About International Law?

Nordic Journal of International Law, Forthcoming

iCourts Working Papers Series No. 74

20 Pages Posted: 2 Sep 2016 Last revised: 15 Nov 2016

Date Written: September 1, 2016


Although Scandinavians are often celebrated as the vanguards of human rights and international law, we know little about whether courts and judges in these countries have embraced those international courts and conventions that they themselves helped establish after the Second World War. This article presents original and comprehensive data on three Scandinavian courts’ citation practice. It demonstrates that not only do Scandinavian Supreme Courts engage surprisingly little with international law, but also that there is great variation in the degree to which they have domesticated international law and courts by citing their case law. Building on this author’s previous research, it is argued that Norway sticks out as much more engaged internationally due to a solid judicial review tradition at the national level. It is also argued that Scandinavian legal positivism, has influenced a much more reticent approach to international case law than would normally be expected from this region in the world.

Keywords: Supreme Courts, citations analysis, Scandinavian judges, majoritarian democracy, judicial review, legal positivism, international law, international courts

Suggested Citation

Wind, Marlene, Do Scandinavians Care About International Law? (September 1, 2016). Nordic Journal of International Law, Forthcoming, iCourts Working Papers Series No. 74, Available at SSRN:

Marlene Wind (Contact Author)

University of Copenhagen ( email )

Øster Farimagsgade 5, University of Copenhagen
iCourts - Faculty of law, Uni of Copenhagen
Copenhagen, DK-1040

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