The International Judicial Governance project examines the legal, policy, and normative issues raised by the operation of entities entrusted by states and international organisations with governance tasks in respect of international courts and tribunals.
The role, functioning and jurisprudence of international courts and tribunals have been examined in minute detail in international legal scholarship. By contrast, the legal and institutional arrangements states and international organisations have employed to perform governance vis-à-vis international adjudicatory bodies have received only scant attention so far.
The notion of ‘judicial governance’ encompasses a broad range of ‘parenting’ and oversight functions exercised by external executive and political entities with regard to international courts – the functions which have critical importance for their existence and proper operation of international courts. These include, most notably, the adoption of legal frameworks for the establishment, operation, and closure of courts; putting in place their institutional structures and reviewing performance; electing and/or appointing court judges and other officials; securing adequate funding, approving court budgets, and carrying out financial audit; providing courts with management oversight; ensuring compliance with and enforcement of judicial decisions; providing political backing and other forms of support.
International courts are increasingly confronted with legitimacy critiques and challenges to their authority from states and other actors. To the extent that the courts’ alleged underperformance is rooted in the failures by the governance entities to perform their role properly, the critiques aim at the wrong target. Against this backdrop, the International Judicial Governance project examines the legal status, competences, and practice of the institutions governing international courts of general and specialist jurisdiction, regional integration and human rights courts, and international and hybrid criminal tribunals. Based on the critical review of the experience of judicial governance and lessons learnt from different contexts, it seeks to identify and articulate the legal standards and operational protocols which (should) inform and constrain the functioning of those institutions.
Has the operation of judicial governance institutions in practice compromised the principle of (institutional) judicial independence and how is one to see a legitimate intervention from undue interference by a governing body in the workings of a court? How should the relationship between courts and their parent and oversight bodies be (re)configured in order to avoid micro-management while at the same time ensuring competent and effective governance? What mechanisms do there exist to induce and ensure compliance by states, international organisations, and other entities with their obligations and ‘best practices’ in the sphere of international judicial governance?
Since January 2019
We are welcoming (external) PhD proposals on the topic
We will consider proposals for cooperation from states, organisations, NGOs and individuals