A Centre of Excellence with NCHR origins

17,5 mill. Norwegian kroner yearly – over ten years. The Norwegian Research Council grant enables professors Andreas Føllesdal and Geir Ulfstein to establish and run a research Centre of Excellence – with roots in the Norwegian Centre for Human Rights.(NCHR)

Andreas Føllesdal (left) and Geir Ulfstein - happy recipients of a large Norwegian Research Council grant. (Photo: CBA)

Since the end of the Cold War, states have established a cascade of international courts and tribunals (ICTs) with functions far beyond the early aims of reducing the risk of war. Some hail ICTs as constitutional constraints on an anarchic system of states, as islands of effective world governance.
 To others this global judiciary suffers from several legitimacy deficits, ranging from whether they achieve their intended effects, to claims that ICTs 'judicialize' and 'hollow out' the powers of sovereign states, with little accountability or order.

NCHR origins

This is the foundation of the project The Legitimate Roles of the Judiciary in the Global Order that originates back to the time that Ulfstein was NCHR director and Føllesdal Head of research in nthe same centre. As it has developed, the project has become even more multi-disciplinary.

The primary objective of the PluriCourts project is to analyse the legitimate present and future roles of international courts and tribunals (ICTs) - an emerging global judiciary - in the international and domestic order.

This objective depends on empirical and legal analyses of three issues in five sectors of international law, pursued as secondary research objectives.

1) The Origins of the ICTs: what did states want to achieve with the ICTs,how have they been established and why do we have ICTs for some international challenges - but not others?

2) How ICTs Function, operate and are structured.

3) The Effects of ICTs, especially how well they promote their founders’ objectives, adjusted as these may have been.

The final, secondary objective is to explore and assess models for the future development national judiciaries. PluriCourts will also contribute to debates on legitimate global governance.

International and multidisciplinary

PluriCourts will consist of an international, multidisciplinary team of legal scholars, political scientists and political theorists, who pursue the research objectives by addressing five sectors of international law in which the ICTs have very different origins, design and effects:

  • human rights
  • trade
  • criminal law
  • investment
  • environment

The human rights portfolio consists mainly of the NCHR project MultiRights - The Legitimacy of Multi-level Human Rights Judiciary, headed by Ulfstein and Føllesdal. This poject will emerge as an integrated part of the new University of Oslo Centre of Excellence.


By Christian Boe Astrup
Published Nov. 16, 2012 2:10 PM - Last modified Nov. 16, 2012 2:18 PM