The Construction of Trans-Regional Human Rights: IACtHR and ECtHR

PluriCourts seminar with Professor Wayne Sandholtz

The two most active regional human rights courts in the world – the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACtHR – have developed similar and overlapping doctrines and principles. Some of that overlap is natural, given that both the ECtHR and the IACtHR are embedded in the global human rights regime. But the courts have also engaged in active sharing through judicial dialogue. We argue that the exchange of ideas and principles between the two is beginning to construct elements of a trans-regional human rights jurisprudence and look for evidence of it in cross citations between the ECtHR and the IACtHR. Jurisprudential imports are more likely when a court seeks to interpret rights in areas where it has little or no existing case law. Jurisprudential exports are a means of enhancing the international reputation of a court. From these premises Prof. Wayne Sandholtz infers a set of propositions, which he analyzes using the empirical record of citations between the IACtHR and the ECtHR. He finds general support for his arguments.


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: Human Rights
Published Nov. 13, 2017 9:55 AM - Last modified Nov. 13, 2017 9:55 AM