9 January 2019

Dothan on Judicial Bias

Shai DothanAssociate Professor Shai Dothan (iCourts) published a paper in German Law Journal.

The paper is titled: The Motivations of Individual Judges and How They Act as a Group


States have a significant influence on the selection of judges to international courts. This raises the concern that judges will be biased in favor of their home states, a concern backed by some empirical research. To counter that danger, international courts usually sit in large and diverse panels. Scholars have argued that this gives judges only rare occasions to tip the balance in favor of their home states. The problem begins, however, when judges start forming coalitions among themselves, giving judges with national biases a practical possibility to change the result of cases. To assess the magnitude of this threat to judicial independence, the paper draws on decades of scholarship in the field of judicial behavior. By understanding how judges behave, scholars can come closer to deciphering the true impact of judicial selection to international courts on international judgments.

This paper is a part of a special issue "Judicial Self-Governance in Europe" edited by David Kosař (Masaryk University) in German Law Journal, Vol. 19 No. 7 (2018).

You can read the working paper here.