iCourts / PluriCourts PhD Summer School 2022

PhD Summer School

The Centre of Excellence for International Courts (iCourts) and Centre for the Study of the Legitimate Roles of the Judiciary in the Global Order (PluriCourts) are hosting a Summer School for ambitious PhD students working on international courts and international bodies and organizations broadly in their social and political contexts. We particularly welcome applications from students whose projects have a strong empirical approach, who are from the Global South and whose projects center on non-European institutions.

The idea

The iCourts/PluriCourts PhD Summer School is a celebration of intellectual curiosity, academic cooperation, and professional networking. In its 10th year, the Summer School has challenged and assisted more than 200 PhD students from around the world. Students who sign up for the Summer School will meet an engaged group of both young and senior scholars who look forward to sharing their experience and knowledge with you.

Listen to PhD Student Sarah Scott Ford describing her experience as a participant of the digital Summer School 2020.

As a participant

You are expected to take an active part in the scholarly discussions, to present your own work, and to give feedback to your co-participants. The 2022 Summer School will be held in person at the University of Copenhagen’s Faculty of Law.







The summer school will admit up to 24 PhD students and is designed for students in the early stages of their research. To be admitted to the program, students must be enrolled in a doctoral program.

Students must submit a description of their research project as part of the application as the key focus of the summer program is to help students improve their research projects.

Students should be prepared to refine and change their projects in light of the feedback given during the summer school; thus, the optimal time to participate in the summer school is after students have an approved project and after they have surveyed the relevant literature.

The students may have begun research, but it is better to participate before any serious writing up of findings.








Faculty members will teach a session related to their own research interests and methodological approaches. They will present some of their own work and discuss methodological issues related to researching a specified topic. Students will have assigned readings (approximately 200 pages) that they prepare in advance.

Working group sessions

Small groups of 4-5 students will be formed based on similarity or complementarity of topics and methods. These groups of students will meet every day with a professor and a post-doctoral researcher from iCourts or PluriCourts to work on methodological issues related to their own projects. In order for participants to receive diversified input to their work, professors will rotate between groups, while the postdocs will function as directors throughout the week maintaining continuity and a keen eye for specific takeaways for individual projects.

Social programme

As an integrated part of the Summer School, iCourts’ PhD students and Postdocs will arrange sightseeing tours in the city of Copenhagen.


Most evenings will involve homework — doing readings for the next morning’s lecture and preparing assignments for the working group session.










iCourts is a research centre dedicated to the study of international courts, their role in a globalising legal order and their impact on politics and society. iCourts opened in March 2012 as a Centre of Excellence funded by a large grant from the Danish National Research Foundation. After a successful midterm evaluation in 2016 it was extended until 2022.

Since its founding, iCourts has contributed to transforming the scholarly and practical understanding of international courts (ICs) at both the global and regional level by developing and applying novel theoretical and methodological tools. Research from iCourts provided the first systematic, comparative, and empirical analysis of the creation and evolution of a growing number of ICs throughout the world and generated new ways to investigate and explain the operation and authority of ICs across the globe. Since its inception, iCourts has continually expanded its remit to foster and promote a diversity of techniques to contextualise and break open the international legal sphere. It is these methodological insights in particular that the staff at the summer school work to pass on to young, innovative PhD scholars.

To read more about iCourts’ current projects, click here.

Founded in 1479, the University of Copenhagen is among the oldest universities in Northern Europe. The Faculty of Law was among the four original faculties and about 4,500 students are enrolled in the legal programmes.  In 2017, the Faculty of Law moved to South Campus in completely new buildings with excellent facilities and green outdoor areas.







PluriCourts, the sister-centre of iCourts,  is also a Centre of Excellence located at the Department of Public and International Law, The Faculty of Law at , the University of Oslo. The centre is funded by the Research Council of Norway.

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.

The University of Oslo is Norway's oldest institution for research and higher education and celebrated its 200th anniversary in 2011. At the Faculty of Law about 1,500 full time students are enrolled.







All faculty of the iCourts/ PluriCourts Summer School are experienced and leading researchers from Europe and the United States.


  • Professor Mikael Rask Madsen, Director of iCourts, University of Copenhagen, DK
  • Professor Andreas Føllesdal, Director of PluriCourts, University of Oslo
  • Professor Karen Alter, Political Science and Law, Northwestern University, US/DK
  • Professor Mikkel Jarle Christensen, iCourts, University of Copenhagen, DK
  • Professor Joanna Lam, iCourts, University of Copenhagen, DK
  • Associate Professor Shai Dothan, University of Copenhagen, DK

Organising Committee

  • Associate Professor Veronika Fikfak, iCourts, University of Copenhagen, DK
  • Assistant Professor, Zuzanna Godzimirska, iCourts, University of Copenhagen, DK
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Jacob Livingston Slosser, iCourts, University of Copenhagen, DK







The fee for attending the Summer School is 250 EUR.

iCourts will offer financial support to 3 PhD scholars taking into account the quality of the projects.  The grants will cover travel and accommodation during the conference, as well as the registration fee.

If you wish to apply for an iCourts grant, please indicate so in the registration form . It is important for us to know whether your participation is contingent on obtaining an iCourts grant.

Applications for grants must be submitted at the time of registration.