PhD Topics 2018-2019

iCourts 2.0 seeks to explain and make intelligible the relative and often contested power of international courts, institutions and law. While the current resistance to international courts and law is interesting in this regard, we generally encourage projects that more broadly explore the power of international courts in relation to law, politics and society.  

  • The transformation of legal practices by international courts and institutions. For example, how international courts create new cognitive frames, principles and values, and whether or how these innovations change legal practices at the global, regional and national levels;  
  • The impact of international courts and institutions on politics, its processes and outcomes: For example, how different actors make use of ICs – directly and indirectly – and whether and how such actions generate new interests and preferences at the global, regional and national levels;  
  • Changes in society triggered by international courts, institutions and law. For example, how ICs influence state, group and citizen relationships, and whether and how they help to generate new rights, duties and processes at the global, regional and national levels.  
  • For the IMAGINE project, we particularly look for projects interested in interdisciplinary study of how key ideas have influenced EU constitutionalism.  

We are looking for projects that address these issues, or issues related thereto. In all cases, we are interested in comparative projects that analyse more than one form of international law and adjudication or how international courts cooperate with or affect multiple regions or states. We welcome both original project proposals and projects that aim at addressing the following ideas or related ideas:  

  • The relative power of European or international adjudication of human rights or economic law on domestic legal practices or politics. Projects could explore what structures in the member states enable or prevent the influence of international courts in law or politics, or both. Comparative studies could help lay bare how transforming law, politics and social structures (international, regional or national) affect the context within which international courts and law operate.  
  • The effect of European or international ideas of law in national societies. Projects could explore how nationally embedded or entrenched ideas of law or social order might counter the power of European or international legal practices and ideas. Such studies would help contribute original scholarship on the narratives and counter-narratives of law that are influential in transforming the perceived role and real power of international courts.  
  • How international criminal law is affected by the diffusion of ideas and practices related to crime. Projects could explore the importance of actors, professional networks and institutions in the developing new forms of legal practice, thinking and social ordering across domestic, regional and international law. Such perspectives could investigate, for instance, how new ideas and practices are developed and mobilized to push for new courts, the opening of new cases or the universalisation of specific rights and duties to prosecute, offer reparations or to protect victims.In the context of IMAGINE, we particularly welcome projects that investigate the impact of a particular EU constitutional scholar on the development of the discipline, or projects examining intellectual history of the debates on the relationship of national constitutions to the EU. The candidate will participate in conducting empirical analysis of the impact of various EU constitutional theories and the collection of relevant data through surveys. Experience in this respect may be an advantage, but relevant training can also be provided as part of the iCourts doctoral training programme.