Our research topics

PluriCourts studies the legitimacy of international courts and tribunals (ICs) from legal, political science and philosophical perspectives. The centre explores the normative, legal and empirical soundness of charges of illegitimacy, to understand and assess how ICs do, could and should respond.

PluriCourts explores the multidimensional legitimacy standards  which include multilevel separation of authority, independence and accountability, performance and comparative advantages. PluriCourts also aims to identify best practices and models to establish, improve or abolish ICs.

Visualisation of the research topics at PluriCourts

Research plan

PluriCourts' research plan describes the scope and focus of the work at the Centre.

Research plan

Research Themes

Legitimacy standards

Why and when do international Courts merit criticism and deference?

Multilevel separation of authority

Vertical and horizontal relationships with international courts

Independence and accountability

Checks and balances and delegation problems of international courts


How do international Courts select, decide and justify cases?

Comparative advantages

When do international courts perform their functions better than alternative institutions and practices?

Best practices and models

Standards to establish, improve, or abolish international courts

Issue areas

Human rights

Multi-level human rights courts and tribunals at regional and international levels


Dispute settlement under the World Trade Organization (WTO)

International criminal law

International criminal courts and tribunals


Investment arbitration


Dispute settlement in a field without a specialized international court

International Court of Justice

International court with general jurisdiction

Law of the Sea

International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS)

European Union law

Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU)