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The Role of Courts in European and International Law. Constitutional Problems of "Judicial Governance"


Prof. Ernst-Ulrich PETERSMANN with Jürgen KURTZ (Fernand Braudel Fellow, EUI / University of Melbourne), and Dr. G. MARTINICO (Max-Weber Fellow, EUI / Scuola Superiore Sant’ Anna, Pisa)

Tuesdays, 17.15-19.15, Sala Triaria

Secretary: Anna Coda

Starts: 5 October 2010

6 credits



Seminar description:

In addition to dispute settlement and adjudication, courts also engage in clarifying disputed interpretations of rules, incomplete agreements and in progressively developing under-theorized, national and international legal systems.


The Seminar pursues five objectives:

(1) to discuss the role of courts from the perspective of diverse constitutional theories and 'theories of justice';

(2) to analyze the different judicial methods of ‘multilevel judicial governance’ in Europe involving national courts, EU courts, the EFTA Court, the European Court of Human Rights and arbitration procedures;

(3) to compare dispute prevention and dispute settlement procedures in regional and worldwide international agreements (like the WTO dispute settlement system, the ICJ, the International Tribunal of the Law of the Sea, NAFTA , investor-state arbitration based on ICSID and UNCITRAL procedures );

(4) to examine the relevance of the international private law traditions (e.g. ‘conflict of laws’, judicial comity) and constitutional principles (e.g. of human rights, due process of law, access to justice) for coordinating judicial governance at international and transnational levels (e.g. in case of ‘forum shopping’, conflicting judgments, investor-state arbitration); and

(5) to draw conclusions on the legitimate functions of international judges and the changing structures of international law (e.g. normalcy of conflicts in a world of ‘legal pluralism’, changing 'rules of recognition', emergence of ‘multilevel constitutionalism’ as conflict prevention and dispute settlement strategy).  

The seminar programme may be adjusted in response to the research projects/interests of participants. - In order to ‘pass’ the seminar, participants have to present their research projects or a brief summary of one of the reading materials or case-studies.





5 October 2010 - Introduction: Constitutional Theories of Adjudication

Reading material

M.P. Maduro,and Court decision of 30 June 2009 on the Lisbon Treaty on the European Union (Cf. Comment in CMLR 2009, 1023 ff)

See also:   

R. Mackenzie/C. Romano/Y. Shany/P. Sands, The Manual on International Courts and Tribunals (2nd ed. 2010)

D. French/M. Saul/N.D. White (eds), International Law and Dispute Settlement. New Problems and Techniques (2010)

D.M. O’Brien (ed.), Judges on Judging. Views from the Bench (2009)

P. Hamburger, Law and Judicial Duty (2008)

  12 October 2010 - Cooperation and interpretive competition between national and European Courts inside the European Union

Reading material

G. Martinico, Preliminary Reference and Constitutional Courts: Are You in the Mood for Dialogue? in: Fontanelli/Martinico/Carozza (eds), Shaping Rule of Law through Dialogue (2010), 221-253

H. Micklitz, Judicial Activism of the ECJ and the Development of the European Social Model in Anti-Discrimination and Consumer Law, in: Neergard/Nielsen/Roseberry (eds), The Role of Courts in Developing a European Social Model (2010), 25-61

Case studies:   

Kadi Cases C-402/05P and C-415/05P, ECJ judgment of 3 September 2008; the December 2007 judgments in the ‘Viking’ and ‘Laval’ cases (Viking Line, ECR 2007 I-10779; Laval un Partneri [2007] ECR-I 11767).

See also: 

A. Hinarejos, Judicial Control in the EU. Reforming Jurisdictions in the Intergovernmental Pillars (2009)


19 October 2010 - Cooperation among national courts, the European Court of Human Rights and the ECJ: National treatment of and primacy for the ECHR?

Reading material 

H. Keller, A. Stone Sweet, Assessing the Impact of the ECHR on National Legal Systems, in H. Keller, A. Stone Sweet (eds), A Europe of Rights: The Impact of the ECHR on National Legal Systems (2009), 677 ff

O. Pollicino, Conclusions. In the search of the final answers, in: G. Martinico/O. Pollicino (eds), The national judicial  treatment of the ECHR and EU laws: a constitutional comparative perspective (2010)

Case studies: 

The Italian Constitutional Court, decisions No. 348 and 349/2007 as discussed by F. Biondi Dal Monte-F. Fontanelli, The Decisions No. 348 and 349/2007 of the Italian Constitutional Court: the Efficacy of the European Convention in the Italian Legal System, in German Law Journal, vol. 9, n. 7, 2008, 889 ff; the Human Right of Access to Justice (Arts. 6, 13 ECHR); the ‘solange’- case law of the German Constitutional Court, the ECJ and the ECtHR

See also: 

G. Harpaz, TheECJ and its Relations with the ECtHR, CMLR 2009, 105 ff.

B. de Witte, Balancing of Economic Law and Human Rights by the ECJ, in: Dupuy/Francioni/ Petersmann (eds), Human Rights in International Investment Law and Arbitration (2009), 197-207

E.A.H. Abi-Mershed, The United States and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in: C.P.R. Romano (ed), The Sword and the Scles. The United States and International Courts and Tribunals (2009), 185-208


2 November 2010 - Multilevel Judicial Protection of ‘Constitutional Justice’ in the European Economic Area through Cooperation among the EU Courts, the EFTA Court and investor-state arbitration?

Reading material: 

C. Baudenbacher, The EFTA Court in Action (2010), 70-98  

H. Wehland, Intra-EU Investment Agreements and Arbitration: Is European Community Law an Obstacle? In: ICLQ 2009, 297-320

Case studies:  

Investor-State arbitration inside the EU


9 November 2010 - Multilevel Judicial Cooperation among Regional and Worldwide Trade Courts?

Reading material:

M. Mendez, The Legal Effect of Community Agreements: Maximalist Treaty Enforcement and Judicial Avoidance Techniques, in. EJIL 21 (2010), 83-104

N. Lavranos, The Brazilian Tyres Disputes in the WTO, MERCOSUR and Brazil, in: N. Lavranos, Jurisdictional Competition. Selected Cases in International and European Law (2009), 41-48

Case studies: 

CFI, Case T-69/00, FIAMM, ECR 2005 II- 5393; CFI, Case T-135/01, Fedon, ECR 2005 II-29; the Brazil Tyres Cases in Brazilian courts, MERCOSUR and WTO

See also: 

J.A. Huerta-Goldman, Trade Remedies Disputes – Reciprocal Relationships between WTO and NAFTA Tribunals, in: Fontanelli/ Martinico/Carozza (eds), Shaping Rule of Law through Dialogue (2010), 299-318

M. Dani, Remedying European Legal Pluralism: The FIAMM and FEDON Litigation and the Judicial Protection of International Trade Bystanders, in: EJIL 21 (2010), 303-340

Bronckers, From ‘Direct Effect’ to ‘Muted Dialogue’: Recent Developments in the European Court’s Case Law on the WTO and Beyond, in: JIEL 2008, 885-898.


16 November 2010 - Multilevel Judicial Governance in International Investment Law

Reading material:

A. Stone Sweet, Investor-State Arbitration: Proportionality’s New Frontier, in: Law & Ethics of Human Rights 4 (2010), Article 4

E.U. Petersmann, Introduction and Summary: ‘Administration of Justice’ in International Investment Law and Adjudication, in: Dupuy/Francioni/Petersmann (eds), Human Rights in International Investment Law and Arbitration (2009), 3-39.

Case study: 

CC Company v Argentine Republic (ICSID Case ARB/03/9- 2008)

See also: 

O.K. Fauchald, The Legal Reasoning of ICSID Tribunals: An Empirical Analysis, in: EJIL 2008, 301-364 

J. Kurtz, Adjudging the Exceptional at International Investment Law: Security, Public Order and Financial Crisis, in: ICLQ 59 (2010), 325-371

C. Knahr/C. Koller/W. Rechberger/A. Reinisch (eds), Investment and Commercial Arbitration – Similarities and Divergences (2010)


23 November 2010 - The International Court of Justice as the ‘principal judicial organ of the United Nations’

Reading material:

S. Wittich, The Judicial Functions of the ICJ, in: Buffard/Crawford/ Pellet/Wittich (eds), International Law between Universalism and Fragmentation (2008), 981-1000

Case study: 

ICJ Judgment of 20 April 2010, Case Concerning Pulp Mills on the River Uruguay

See also: 

P. Gautier, Urgent Proceedings before the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, in: Issues in Legal Scholarship 2009, Article 5

S.D. Murphy, The United States and the ICJ: Coping with Antinomies, in: C.P.R. Romano (ed), The Sword and the Scales. The United States and International Courts and Tribunals (2009), 46-110

H. Ruiz-Fabri/J.M.Sorel (eds), Indépendance et impartialité des juges internationaux (2010)


30 November 2010 - A Common Law of International Adjudication?

Reading material:

C. Brown, The Cross-Fertilization of Principles Relating to Procedures and Remedies in the Jurisprudence of International Courts and Tribunals, in: Loyola of Los Angeles International and Comparative Law Review 30 (2008), 219-246

Case studies: 

Principles of judicial comity, inherent jurisdiction, due process of law, good faith and proportionality in the case-law of national and international courts

See also: 

A. Stone-Sweet/J. Mathews, Proportionality Balancing and Global Constitutionalism, in: Columbia Journal of Transnational Law 47 (2008), at 73ff.


7 December 2010 - Competing Jurisdictions: Intellectual Property Disputes in the EC, the ECtHR, the WTO, WIPO and ICSID Arbitration

Reading material:

L. Helfer, The New Innovation Frontier? Intellectual Property and the European Court of Human Rights, Harvard International Law Journal 49 (2008), 1-52


Litigation over trademarks (e.g. ‘Budweiser beer’) in European courts and in the WTO dispute settlement system

See also: 

F.M. Abbott, WTO Dispute Settlement Practice relating to the TRIPS Agreement, in: F. Ortino/E.U. Petersmann (eds), The WTO Dispute Settlement System 1995-2003 (2004), at 421-454

How Human Rights Can Inform the WIPO Development Agenda, April 2010

L.R. Helfer/K.J. Alter/M.F. Guerzovich, Islands of Effective International Adjudication: Constructing an Intellectual Property Rule of Law in the Andean Community, in: AJIL 103 (2009), 1-47 


14 December 2010 - Judicial Comity, Complementarity and ‘Checks and Balances’ among National and International Courts

Reding material:

W.W. Burke-White, Proactive Complementarity: The International Criminal Court and National Courts in the Rome System of International Justice, in: Harvard International Law Journal 49 (2008), 53 ff

A. van Hoek, Private Enforcement and the Multiplication of Legal Orders, in: van Hoek/Hol/Jansen et alii (eds), Multilevel Governance in Enforcement and Adjudication (2006), 313-338

See also: 

Y. Shany, The Competing Jurisdictions of International Courts and Tribunals (2003)

Y. Shany, Regulating Jurisdictional Relations between National and International Courts (2007).



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