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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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How Context Shapes the Authority of International Courts

How Context Shapes the Authority of International Courts

(p.24) 2 How Context Shapes the Authority of International Courts
International Court Authority

Karen J. Alter

Laurence R. Helfer

Mikael Rask Madsen

Oxford University Press

This chapter elaborates our authority framework, explaining how we measure narrow, intermediate, and extensive authority, and then identifies a range of institutional, social, and political factors that shape the authority of international courts. Institution-specific context captures features that are distinctive to a particular IC, such as its design and subject matter mandate. These features vary across courts, but there may also vary within a single IC over time or across issue areas. Constituencies context analyzes issues related to IC interlocutors, including government officials, judges, attorneys, legal experts, and civil society groups. Political context, considers how political dynamics at global, regional and local levels affect IC authority. We conclude by considering the difference between IC authority and power.

Keywords:   IC authority, international courts, IC interlocutors, political dynamics, legal experts, civil society groups

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