The Politics of Invisibility: Why Are International Judicial Bureaucrats Obscured from View?

Book Project, Conference on the Legitimacy of Unseen Actors in International Adjudication (The Hague, 26 and 27 October 2017)

18 Pages Posted: 30 May 2018

See all articles by Tommaso Soave

Tommaso Soave

Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (IHEID); Central European University (CEU)

Date Written: October 26, 2017

Abstract

Despite their pervasive role in international dispute settlement, the legal bureaucracies assisting international courts and tribunals (registries, secretariats, clerks, arbitral tribunal secretaries, etc.) are surrounded by a deafening silence. Judicial institutions remain reluctant to acknowledge their functions, while scholars acquiesce to the fiction that judges handle every aspect of proceedings.

This Chapter investigates the socio-political determinants of the silence surrounding international judicial bureaucrats. First, it reviews the techniques by which such actors have been made invisible in international law discourse. Second, it addresses two narratives most commonly deployed to justify this state of affairs, namely:

(a) concerns about the perceived legitimacy of international adjudication; and

(b) accusations of bad faith on the part of judicial bureaucracies themselves.

As neither narrative seems fully convincing, the Chapter identifies the deep roots of silence in the professional reflexes and the self-constructed image of the international law community.

Keywords: international law; international courts and tribunals; legal sociology; legal discourse; registries; secretariats

JEL Classification: K33

Suggested Citation

Soave, Tommaso, The Politics of Invisibility: Why Are International Judicial Bureaucrats Obscured from View? (October 26, 2017). Book Project, Conference on the Legitimacy of Unseen Actors in International Adjudication (The Hague, 26 and 27 October 2017), Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3180735

Tommaso Soave (Contact Author)

Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (IHEID) ( email )

PO Box 136
Geneva, CH-1211
Switzerland

HOME PAGE: http://https://graduateinstitute.ch/academic-departments/faculty/tommaso-soave

Central European University (CEU) ( email )

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Budapest, H-1051
Hungary
+436764514355 (Phone)

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