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Contribution to Book
Introduction: Legitimacy and International Courts
All Faculty Scholarship
  • Harlan Grant Cohen, University of Georgia School of Law
  • Andreas Follesdal
  • Nienke Grossman, University of Baltimore School of Law
  • Geir Ulfstein, University of Oslo
Document Type
Book Chapter
Publication Date

Legitimacy and International Courts examines the underpinnings of legitimacy, or the justification of the authority, of international courts and tribunals. It brings together an esteemed group of authors, noted for both their expertise in individual courts, tribunals, or other adjudicatory bodies, and their work on legitimacy, effectiveness, and governance more broadly, to consider the legitimacy of international courts from a comparative perspective. Authors explore what strengthens and weakens the legitimacy of various different international courts, while also considering broader theories of international court legitimacy. Some chapters highlight the sociological or normative legitimacy of specific courts or tribunals, while others address cross-cutting issues such as representation, democracy, independence and effectiveness.

This Introduction surveys some of the key contributions of this volume and distills some of the lessons of its varied chapters for the legitimacy of international courts. Parts II and III are largely conceptual in approach, exploring what legitimacy means for each and all of the courts. Part IV takes a more functional approach, exploring how various factors internal or external to particular courts have contributed to those courts’ normative or sociological legitimacy. Part V provides thumbnail summaries of each the chapters that follow.

Citation Information
Harlan Grant Cohen, Andreas Follesdal, Nienke Grossman, & Geir Ulfstein, Introduction to Legitimacy and International Courts (forthcoming).