Special Issue – Resistance to International Courts: Introduction and Conclusion

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iCourts - Centre of Excellence for International Courts
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iCourts Working Paper Series
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Today, international courts (ICs) are seemingly under pressure from a range of actors, including states, civil society and even legal professionals. At least that is the impression one gets from reading the press and specialised international law blogs. The question is, however, whether such conclusions are premature or are depicting an exaggerated picture of the state of international legal affairs. This introduction to a Special Issue on "Resistance to International Courts" introduces the contents and conclusions of this first ever comparative empirical assessment of instances and types of resistance to ICs. Drawing on five case studies of resistance to ICs across the world, we argue that backlash in terms of critique of ICs with the goal of diminishing or obliterating their authority is very rare. We find, however, that various forms of pushback are widespread. In conclusion we suggest that many legal regimes involving ICs lack adequate channels for voicing disagreement and that contributes the frequent occurrence of pushback against ICs.

International Courts, international tribunals, institutional reform, legal authority, resistance, empirical studies.