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International Court Authority$
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Karen J. Alter, Laurence R. Helfer, and Mikael Rask Madsen

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198795582

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198795582.001.0001

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International Courts’ De Facto Authority and its Justification

International Courts’ De Facto Authority and its Justification

(p.391) 19 International Courts’ De Facto Authority and its Justification
International Court Authority

Ingo Venzke

Oxford University Press

This chapter argues that the framework chapter’s understanding of de facto authority above all fits the relationship between international courts (ICs) and the parties to a case. Questions arise when it comes to intermediate and extensive audiences. The way in which ICs exercise authority beyond any concrete dispute is, above all, due to the sway they hold over the legal discourse—their semantic authority. ICs have the capacity to establish content-laden reference points for legal discourse that other actors can hardly escape. The chapter also claims that the distinction of authority from persuasion should be maintained as a constitutive feature of both concepts. This is not only in line with a strong tradition of the authority concept, but also clarifies the legitimacy challenge.

Keywords:   de facto authority, international courts, semantic authority, legal discourse, authority, persuasion

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