International courts and tribunals (ICs) are increasing in number, impact and importance. They are dealing with an increasing variety of issues, ranging from the law of the sea to international criminal law. And the formal possibility that states may remain unbound withers when faced with the de facto need for the benefit wrought by ICs, be it trade regulations under the World Trade Organization (WTO), foreign investment under bilateral investment treaties (BITs), or EU membership conditional on accession to the European Court of Human Rights.
This judicialization of international law has been hailed as a glimmer of more effective and legitimate world governance promoting human rights, justice and peace. New ICs are called for to solve ever more problems, be it climate change or corporate wrongdoing. But critics abound. Some fear the judicialization of world politics others question the effectiveness of the ICs and fear new turf wars among them. Some critics lament the circumvention of national legislators and the neglect of cultural differences. Yet others worry that some ICs will fall victim to their own success, pointing to the overburdened European Court of Human Rights.
The topography of ICs is uneven; there are some important areas that are not judicialized by sector-specific courts or tribunals, including military issues, global financial governance, and the environment. This conference will address the international law aspects of increased judicialization from an interdisciplinary perspective. Critical questions will be asked about how ICs work, whether ICs are needed in new areas, whether there are alternatives to judicialization, and if we should expect further judicialization in the years to come.