Legitimisation – University of Copenhagen

iCourts > Research > Legitimisation


This photo was taken on May 13, 2011 in Bab el Luk, Cairo, Al Qahirah, EG

Photo: Gigi Ibrahim - Flickr

The thematic research group on legitimisation of international courts studies the legitimisation strategies adopted by international courts.

In recent years, debates over international courts have often turned into heated controversies over the future of democracy with regard to the balance to be struck between national legislators and international courts. It is against this background, this thematic research group sets out to explore the legitimisation of international courts by precisely tracing the controversies they cause in law, politics and society.

More specifically, the group will examine ICs' legitimating measures at three levels of external interface: the legal level (i.e. their interface with other courts in terms of for example jurisdiction and comity); the political level (i.e. their interface with national and international forms of governance in terms of accountability and ‘boundary disputes'); and the societal level (i.e. their interface with civil society in terms of outreach, access and legal entitlements).

Methodologically, the group will rely on both more theoretical explorations of the place of international courts in politics and society and in-depth empirical examinations of cases of controversy. We will combine, for example, discourse analysis and process tracing to map chains of events with the objective of establishing under what circumstances and at what times ICs are legitimized or delegitimized. And rather than resuming the politico-academic critique of international courts, the group explores the flip side of the object, namely how international courts develop means of legitimisation in their interface with democratic politics.

Core researcher of the group is Professor Marlene Wind.