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International Courts As Agents Of Legal Change: Evidence From Lgbt Rights In Europe, Laurence R. Helfer, Erik Voeten Jan 2014

International Courts As Agents Of Legal Change: Evidence From Lgbt Rights In Europe, Laurence R. Helfer, Erik Voeten

Faculty Scholarship

Do international court judgments influence the behavior of actors other than the parties to a dispute? Are international courts agents of policy change or do their judgments merely reflect evolving social and political trends? The authors develop a theory that specifies the conditions under which international courts can use their interpretive discretion to have system-wide effects. The authors examine the theory in the context of European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) rulings on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) issues by creating a new dataset that matches these rulings with laws in all Council of Europe (CoE) member states. The ...