Annual Workshop on The Political and Legal Theory of International Courts and Tribunals 2021

The Input and Output Legitimacy of International Courts

The Input and Output Legitimacy of International Courts

An important distinction has been made between the input and output legitimacy of political institutions—a distinction, roughly, between how well different stakeholders are included and represented in the decision-making process of an institution, and how the institution’s decisions bring about valued outcomes. In philosophical and legal debates, a similar distinction is often made between ‘procedure’ and ‘outcome’ (or ‘substance’), and theories of legitimacy can accordingly be classified into ‘proceduralist’ and ‘instrumentalist’ categories, depending on which element they stress as the main ingredient of legitimacy.

When applied to international courts, this distinction raises a number of questions. Unlike domestic courts, ICs are not part of a democratic system of checks and balances, and so a major source of input democracy is missing; neither is there an obvious global public to which ICs could be said to be responsive. Many defenders of ICs stress the beneficial outcomes they provide, raising questions about the nature of those benefits, whether ICs manage to achieve them, and whether these benefits alone are enough to confer legitimacy.

This year, we invited papers from any discipline that fall within the broad theme of the conference. The workshop welcomed, in particular, papers that contribute to our philosophical and/or normative understanding of ICs, whether this is developed in more abstract terms or in the context of a concrete case study. 

The Workshop will take place on Zoom on Monday 21 June 11.00 - 15.00 and Tuesday 22 June 11.00 - 16.00.


For more information about the workshop, please contact Mahalet Tadesse.

Call for Papers

The Call for Papers is available here. The deadline for submitting an abstract was 4 January 2021. 

Published June 2, 2021 4:07 PM - Last modified June 2, 2021 4:07 PM