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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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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 19 January 2021

Authority and International Courts

Authority and International Courts

A Comment on “Content-Independent” Social Science

(p.422) 22 Authority and International Courts
International Court Authority

Ian Hurd

Oxford University Press

This chapter considers efforts to assess the authority of international courts. The framework proposed in this book suggests that court authority can be inferred from the behavior of governments and it imagines an ideal-type authority relation by which subjects acquiesce to courts out of respect for their authority. These two constitute a research program that aims to identify changes in behavior that follow from court authority rather than from the interests of the actors. There is a mismatch between the concept of authority and the methodology of content-independent behavioralism. The behavioral approach severs courts from the political motivations of those who create and use them, and directs research away from questions about the political goals that animate international legalization. A more dialogic approach may be useful, that considers the internal perspective of the actor and explores the purposes of these agents to understand why they do the things they do.

Keywords:   de facto authority, international courts, court authority, behavioralism, behavior, authority

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