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International Law

2013

Economic Community of West African States

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Legitimacy And Lawmaking: A Tale Of Three International Courts, Laurence R. Helfer, Karen J. Alter Jan 2013

Legitimacy And Lawmaking: A Tale Of Three International Courts, Laurence R. Helfer, Karen J. Alter

Faculty Scholarship

This article explores the relationship between the legitimacy of international courts and expansive judicial lawmaking. We compare lawmaking by three regional integration courts — the European Court of Justice (ECJ), the Andean Tribunal of Justice (ATJ), and the ECOWAS Community Court of Justice (ECCJ). These courts have similar jurisdictional grants and access rules, yet each has behaved in a strikingly different way when faced with opportunities to engage in expansive judicial lawmaking. The ECJ is the most activist, but its audacious legal doctrines have been assimilated as part of the court’s legitimate authority. The ATJ and ECOWAS have been more ...