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The Promise and Limits of International Courts and Tribunals – Exploring the Conditions for Effective International Adjudication (ShanyEffectiveCourts)
Start date: Aug 1, 2008, End date: Jul 31, 2013 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The proposed project focuses on the factors that influence the effectiveness of international courts in light of the different social roles that they play in international life. The research hypothesis is that different international courts offer unique combinations of dispute settlement, law-interpretation and law-application services to diverse constituencies, in regard to varying subject areas and pursuant to changing jurisdictional structures. Hence, previous research work on the topic that sought to develop 'one-size-fits all' assessments of efficiency and calls for reform, needs to be supplemented with a more nuanced approach that captures the linkage between the courts' constitutive ethos, their social and political functions and potential impact. As a result, there is need to identify and consider more specific efficiency-enhancing elements and strategies that could help different courts in fulfilling their missions more effectively (e.g., judicial independence, dialogue with other courts, procedural innovations, etc.). The identification of factors influencing the effectiveness of international courts would be facilitated through theoretic research of the law and practice applied by the different courts by a team of junior researchers (post-doctoral, PhD and MA students), headed by a principal investigator, and more practical-oriented research work involving on-site visits, interviews with court officials and litigants and analysis of statistical data. The project will provide national and international decision makers with better tools for measuring the performance of international courts and will serve as the basis for improved decisions relating to the establishment and operation of international courts (e.g., whether to establish new courts, budgetary allocations, selection of cases to be referred, procedural reforms, etc.).

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