Intolerant justice: ethnocentrism and transnational-litigation frameworks

  • Asif EfratEmail author
  • Abraham L. Newman


In the age of globalization, a large number of transnational legal disputes come before domestic courts. To resolve these disputes, national legal systems have to cooperate with each other, yet their willingness to do so varies significantly. This article introduces the concept of transnational-litigation frameworks, which describes the extent to which national rules facilitate or constrain cooperation on litigation. Focusing on the socially embedded nature of law, we build an argument to explain variation in countries’ openness to legal cooperation. This argument suggests that ethnocentric societies are less willing to circumscribe their legal sovereignty and cooperate on transnational litigation. A cross-national analysis of legislative policy on extradition and foreign-judgment enforcement finds strong support for this argument; so does a sub-national analysis of foreign-judgments policy across the American states. This study highlights the importance of domestic law in global affairs as well as the role of socio-cultural factors in explaining the contours of globalization. It also suggests an important new research agenda concerning the interaction of domestic legal systems in an age of complex interdependence.


Litigation Domestic courts Extradition International cooperation Ethnocentrism Nationalism 



We thank Amir Licht and three anonymous reviewers for helpful feedback. Guy Freedman provided able research assistance. Online appendix and replication materials are available on the Review of International Organizations’ webpage.

Supplementary material (230 kb)
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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Lauder School of Government, Diplomacy and StrategyInterdisciplinary Center (IDC) HerzliyaHerzliyaIsrael
  2. 2.Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service and Department of GovernmentGeorgetown UniversityWashingtonUSA

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