Friday, October 3, 2014

Call for Papers: The Judicialization of International Relations

The journal International Organization and the IO/IL working group of the Buffett Center for International and Comparative Studies at Northwestern University have issued a call for papers for a workshop on "The Judicialization of International Relations" to take place June 12-13, 2015. Here's the call:

The Judicialization of International Relations 2015 Workshop

A Workshop Sponsored by International Organization and the IO/IL working group of the Buffett Center for International and Comparative Studies, Northwestern University

Karen J. Alter and Erik Voeten Co-Conveners

Application deadline: December 1, 2014 sent to

Workshop date: June 12-13, 2015

The end of the Cold War introduced a new era of international adjudication marked by the proliferation of international courts, an increased use of permanent and ad hoc international adjudicatory mechanisms, a widening of the issue areas that fall under the jurisdiction of adjudicatory bodies, and a rise in the domestic judicial enforcement of international laws, agreements, and court judgments. This workshop examines if and how the increased involvement of domestic and international judicial actors is transforming international relations; a process often referred to as the judicialization of politics.

Our common starting point is the judicialization in international relations via the introduction of a new set of institutions and actors with the authority to interpret and issue binding rulings involving international law. We define adjudicatory bodies broadly to include any institution, domestic or international, so long as it is composed of quasi-independent adjudicators that have the formal authority to issue binding legal determinations. This definition includes arbitral tribunals, ad hoc courts and domestic courts. Judicialization generates the possibility that decision-makers will begin to make decisions in the shadow of potential domestic and/or international judicial review.

The workshop will bring together scholars working on issues such as regional integration, terrorism, investment, trade, human rights, war crimes, law of the sea, the environment and other issue areas where adjudication is increasingly shaping international relations. We invite proposals for papers that make theoretical and/or empirical contributions towards understanding what, if any, effect this increased judicial application of international law has on international politics. Although we will consider papers that examine the causes and varied design of judicialized institutions, our primary interest is in the effects of judicialization in international relations. We especially welcome papers that address the following sets of issues (although we are open to others):

  • Studies that examine whether states, international institutions, firms or other nonstate actors act differently in the shadow of adjudication
  • Studies comparing politics in non-judicialized to judicialized contexts
  • Studies of the impact of judicialization across countries, regions or issue areas
  • Studies that analyze whether and when adjudicators are becoming consequential creators of international law
  • Examinations of the potential counter-responses to the increased authority of judicial institutions. For example, how and when do state actors successfully seek to influence adjudicators or otherwise reduce their jurisdiction or authority?
  • Analyses of whether international law differentially influences states depending on how much authority domestic judicial bodies have to utilize international law.
  • Inquiries into the larger theoretical implications of the emergence of these judicial actors.
  • Studies that provide generalizable insight into the practices, processes, politics and decision-making of adjudicatory bodies that have an international or transnational jurisdiction.

Application and Workshop Logistics

The ultimate goal of this workshop is to improve scholarly papers that might some day be published in International Organization. Interested participants should submit a paper proposal of no more than 500 words, and the name, institutional affiliation and contact information of the author(s) to Selected participants will be notified by January 10 and invited to attend a two-day workshop to be held at Northwestern University June 12-13, 2015, where IO editors and participants will discuss each paper.

A paper of no more than 14,000 words is required in advance of the workshop, and all participants will be asked to write a review that provides feedback on at least one workshop paper. Travel expenses, economy class, and lodging for at least one author will be reimbursed by International Organization.

Questions can be addressed to Erik Voeten ( and Karen Alter (