Courts as Global Policy Actors

Course Description: 

This course explores the ‘world of courts’, and examines their evolving role in international relations and global governance. It draws mainly on scholarly literature stemming from the IR and global/multilevel governance fields, but also to a more limited extent from legal studies. It also involves a direct engagement with case law and news items. Threading together theoretical elements and empirical observations, it aims to develop a grounded understanding of judicial dynamics which affect the nature and outcomes of IR and global governance processes.

Learning Outcomes: 

At the end of the course, the students should:
 Be familiar with the most important international courts and domestic courts which are influential in world politics;
 Identify the basic features of international and domestic judicial institutions which matter in IR and global governance;
 Understand the dynamics of judicialization of IR and global governance;
 Identify the implications of judicialization for IR and global governance;
 Be aware and able to present core elements of the various theoretical perspectives which assess the judicialization of IR and wolrd governance;
 Be aware of the different methodological approaches used to assess the dynamics and impact of judicialization;
 Understand the policy implications of the increased role of courts in IR and global governance, and be able to devise suitable policy recommendations;
 Have developed a certain familiarity with legal texts and sources, to be able to make use of them to better understand the role of courts in IR and global governance;
 Have improved their policy and academic research skills;
 Have developed policy or academic writing skills, through practice with different writing genres.


The course offers a ‘dual-track’ assessment framework, with a Track 1 being more policy-oriented and Track 2 more theoretically focused. Students may choose which track they opt for, in line with their own degree program requirements or personal preferences. The various assignments, whilst different in nature, are building upon one another, and enable the students to integrate feedbacks from earlier assignments into the development of later ones.

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