Institutionalisation – University of Copenhagen

iCourts > Research > Institutionalisation


The thematic research group on Institutionalisation of international courts studies the emergence and crystallisation of an international judiciary. The group analyses the creation and use of international courts (ICs), and how ICs interact with domestic and transnational interlocutors. The aim of the group is to examine the deeper global processes explaining why governments in the first place delegate power to international courts and how delegated authority evolve over time in geopolitically changing contexts and eventually translates this into actual legal practice.

We seek to comprehend the proliferation of ICs by exploring the forces and dynamics behind the creation of new international legal institutions and whether these institutions succeed in developing a legal and political authority. To do so, we map the broader transnational movements for international law and courts in the regions and substantive areas of law concerned by international courts. In particular, we seek to understand the groups of actors involved in the creation of specific international courts and how these actors also link to other international courts, as well as the "outreach" efforts of specific ICs in building constituencies and support.

The research group examines a key sample of the most active, productive (in terms contributing to legal development), or nascent ICs. The tentative total list of courts to be examined by the thematic research group as listed by legal issue-area include: economic courts (The European Court of Justice (ECJ), The OHADA (Organisation for the Harmonisation of Corporate Law in Africa), SADC (Southern African Development Community), Central American Court, Mercosur Permanent Review Tribunal, The WTO legal system), human rights courts (The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), The inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACtHR), The African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights (ACtHPR), The ECOWAS Court (Economic Community of the West African States)), international criminal law courts (International Criminal Law Courts, The International Criminal Court (ICC), The International War Crimes Tribunals for Yugoslavia (ICTY) and Rwanda (ICTR), and general international courts (The International Court of Justice (ICJ).

You can get further information on each of these international courts, by using the iCourt Finder.

Core researchers of the group include Professor Karen Alter and Professor Mikael Rask Madsen.