Transnational Law’s Legitimacy Challenge for International Courts

  • Josephine van ZebenEmail author


Transnational law raises important but complex questions, not least with respect to our understanding of legitimacy. This chapter reflects on how the development of transnational law may affect the legitimacy of international courts, such as the European Court of Human Rights (ECrtHR). It does so through the adoption of an organizational sociology model of legitimacy, which is able to address some—though not all—of the new challenges raised by the characteristics of transnational law. It becomes clear that as international law is used as a vehicle for the development of transnational legal norms, international courts are increasingly used to legitimize such norms. While this can strengthen the position of international courts through continued and increased relevance in transnational processes, it can also weaken their legitimacy if such developments alienate the respective courts from their original constituencies.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Worcester College, University of OxfordOxfordUK

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