Bias in International Law

iCourts Working Paper Series, no. 277

Forthcoming, German Law Journal 2022

27 Pages Posted: 22 Dec 2021 Last revised: 27 Dec 2021

See all articles by Veronika Fikfak

Veronika Fikfak

University of Copenhagen - iCourts - Centre of Excellence for International Courts

Daniel Peat

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Eva van der Zee

Hamburg Universität - Institut für Recht und Ökonomik

Date Written: December 21, 2021

Abstract

This special issue looks at how cognitive bias matters to international law. We wish to shed light on the legal frames, labels, and cognitive biases that shape our understanding of international rules, the application of these rules and outcomes of international adjudicatory processes. Adopting the behavioural approach to international law, we focus on actual rather than assumed behaviour of actors taking part in the international legal process. The central idea of this approach is that human cognitive capacities are limited (or bounded) by a variety of cognitive, emotional and social or group-based biases. Our aim is to explore how these biases operate on the individual, group, and state level in various spheres of international law. This Symposium therefore looks beyond the traditional understanding of international law as applying between states and focuses on how individuals as actors in the international sphere use international law language to influence other people, to create communities and to shape identities.

This Introduction first serves to explain the type of shortcuts we make in our decision-making. This description of biases is followed by an overview of behavioural literature in international law that has thus far examined how bias operates in different aspects of international law – in relation to sources, to compliance, and individuals taking part in the international legal process. We then turn to introduce the Symposium and explain its contribution to the existing literature.

Keywords: behavioural approaches, bias, rational choice, international law, sources

Suggested Citation

Fikfak, Veronika and Peat, Daniel and van der Zee, Eva, Bias in International Law (December 21, 2021). iCourts Working Paper Series, no. 277, Forthcoming, German Law Journal 2022, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3990797 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3990797

Veronika Fikfak (Contact Author)

University of Copenhagen - iCourts - Centre of Excellence for International Courts ( email )

Studiestraede 6
Copenhagen, DK-1455
Denmark

Daniel Peat

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Eva Van der Zee

Hamburg Universität - Institut für Recht und Ökonomik ( email )

Johnsallee, 35
Hamburg
Germany

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