International Law and National Law

Forum 2: Judicial Dialogue

International law is applied both by international and national courts. Questions of international criminal law, diplomatic immunity, human rights, use of force or state succession may be raised and decided by courts at the international or national level. In order to secure the coherence of international law, a minimum of judicial dialogue is often regarded necessary. But do courts actually engage in such vertical or horizontal judicial dialogue? While there are acclaimed examples of vertical judicial dialogue (for instance the Solange jurisprudence of the German Constitutional Court and the ECJ’s development of fundamental rights protection) it may be questionable to what extent this also permeates other fields. Do national courts seriously engage in scrutinizing the decisions of courts of other states? If so, do they have an agenda by doing so? And how should the (limited) practice be assessed in terms of the claimed ability of judicial dialogues to increase coherence of international law?

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