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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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The ECOWAS Community Court of Justice

The ECOWAS Community Court of Justice

A Dual Mandate with Skewed Authority

(p.82) 4 The ECOWAS Community Court of Justice
International Court Authority

Solomon T. Ebobrah

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines whether the ECOWAS Community Court of Justice (ECCJ or Court), as an international court operating in the West African region with its peculiar sociopolitical and economic context, enjoys any form or degree of actual authority in any of its main functions. The ECCJ’s two contrasting epochs represent a variation in the authority of the Court. Whereas under its 1991 Protocol, the Court enjoyed limited de jure authority with little potential for growing its de facto authority, the 2005 Supplementary Protocol introduced expansions that increased the potential for enhanced de facto authority. Ultimately, the Court’s authority varies significantly both in terms of areas of competence, as among different court-users and in relation to wider communities in its State Parties. Arguably, these variations indicate that different factors influence the responses that the Court attracts from different user-groups.

Keywords:   ECOWAS Community Court of Justice, international court, authority, de jure authority, de facto authority

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