Global Community of Courts
Evaluating the Global Community of Courts Thesis: A Case Study of Counterterrorism Measures in Canada and Germany
The project (2010-11) was funded with support from the TransCoop-Programme of the Alexander von Humboldt foundation in cooperation with the Canadian Research Council (SSHRC).
Scholars of international law and politics have argued that the gradual development of a ‘global community of courts’ holds the potential to improve compliance of states with international law and advance the harmonization of legal systems in the world (e.g. Slaughter 2003, Benvenisti and Downs 2009). National courts increasingly use international norms in their decisions even when such norms have not been incorporated into their domestic legal systems, i.e. they are not binding in a formal sense. Judicial ‘cross fertilization’ also occurs as a result of mutual referencing of foreign decisions that have persuasive appeal, and through extensive networking initiatives – judicial conferences, visits, and workshops. It is argued that this phenomenon signals a deep conceptual shift from two legal systems – international and domestic – to one. Judicial cooperation thus has significant consequences for the way law is developed and applied at the national and international levels, since sovereign state borders matter less than interactions across them. However, the emergence of shared principles, as well as values and norms underlying this ‘global community of courts,’ remains to be documented.Current research on judicial cooperation draws heavily on court rulings in different jurisdictions and offers conclusive observations on the role played by international and comparative law in these rulings. In this project, we aim to formulate a more rigorous conceptual framework for the study of the domestic effect of international and comparative law. We hypothesize that increased judicial cooperation does not necessarily result in increased conformity across the globe because different interpretations of the meanings of norms are expected to persist. We define this overlooked dimension of normative change as the “cultural validation” of law, and posit that since distinct meanings of norms are derived from specific socio-cultural environments, the translation of meanings from international or foreign law to domestic law cannot simply be achieved by way of judicial interaction.
Please find information about activities and outcomes here:
TRANSCOOP Workshop “Global Community of Courts” in Hamburg, December 16-17, 2010.
- Wiener, Antje & Liste, Philip (2014). Lost Without Translation? Cross-Referencing and a New Global Community of Courts. Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies, 21(1), 263-296 (link).