A Bureaucratic Perspective on International Courts

PluriCourts seminar with postdoctoral fellow Mikael Holmgren.

In this seminar, Mikael Holmgren will review some basic insights from the study of political control of domestic bureaucracies and discuss their relevance for research on the legitimacy of international judiciaries. The starting point is that, while governments typically create courts to prepare, formulate, and implement the law of the land, not all courts are created equally. Instead, much like when governments create administrative agencies, courts can receive more or less discretion to set their own agenda, more or less insulation from external interference, and more or less capacity to execute their own preferences. Yet, while the causes and consequences of different institutional designs are fairly well understood in the context of delegation to domestic bureaucracies, the question of why governments organize international courts in the way they do and what effects those arrangements might ultimately have on judicial performance remains open. The talk will consider a number of hypotheses concerning how and when governments can use institutions to control international judiciaries by way of analogizing courts to agencies, with substantive examples drawn from the Court of Justice of the European Union


PluriCourt Seminars are a forum for pluridisciplinary discussion of core issues relating to international courts and tribunals. PluriCourts scholars or invited speakers present new and ongoing research or comment on current questions. The seminars are open to everyone.

Tags: Independence and accountability, Performance, CJEU
Published Oct. 31, 2017 4:29 PM - Last modified Nov. 8, 2017 8:42 AM