Judicial Dialogue in Action: International Judges Reflect

The Center’s Brandeis Institute for International Judges (BIIJ) is the only regular meeting of international judges in the world. Since 2002, judges from around the world have come together every 18 months to exchange ideas about the practical challenges and the philosophical aspects of their work. A report is published based on each Institute.

Key sections are now available as PDFs, summarized and linked below.

The complete reports are available here.

The international rule of law and global justice

  • "The Authority of International Courts and Tribunals" (BIIJ 2016). International judges explore what the concept of “authority” means in relation to international courts and tribunals and discuss the unique challenges to authority faced by different types of jurisdictions.
  • "Evaluating the Performance of International Courts and Tribunals" (2016). Participants consider a critical question that is inevitably linked with how authoritative international courts and tribunals are perceived to be—how well do they perform? Different approaches to evaluating performance are presented and discussed.
  • "Relationships Between International and Domestic Legal Orders in a Globalizing World" (BIIJ 2015). What are the challenges that arise when the requirements of the international legal order do not correspond with those of the domestic legal order? How is international law both incorporated and implemented at the domestic level? How can coherence between international and domestic legal orders be improved?
  • "The Expanding Impact of Human Rights Law on International Courts and Tribunals" (BIIJ 2013) - How does the "humanization" of international law affect the work of courts whose mandate is not specific to human rights, such as interstate dispute resolution bodies and international criminal courts and tribunals? Might the increased inclusion of human rights issues across all categories of international courts result in a fragmentation of norms?
  • "Issues of Concurrent Jurisdiction" (BIIJ 2012) - An exploration of the issues that emerge from increasing jurisdictional overlap found among international, regional, and domestic courts.
  • "The Appropriate Role of International Courts and Tribunals in Enhancing Global Justice" (BIIJ 2012) - What are the various ways in which international courts and their judges can and should build the overall capacity of national justice systems, and how might they assist developing countries to participate in international justice procedures?
  • “What is the International Rule of Law?” (BIIJ 2010) – What does it mean to extend the notion of the rule of law beyond the national level?
  • “Fairness in International Judicial Institutions” (BIIJ 2010) – To what degree should international judicial institutions make the content and application of international law more fair, by revising procedural rules and promoting transparency and public understanding of their work?
  • “The Accessibility of International Courts and Tribunals” (BIIJ 2010) – Participants discuss the various patterns of access to international courts and tribunals – e.g. making an application either directly or via one’s state, through participating as a victim, or through submission of an amicus brief – and whether increased access can serve as one of the indices of a robust international rule of law.
  • “The Impact of International Justice” (BIIJ 2010) – How might the impact of the work of international judges be measured? What are the rates of compliance with the decisions of these courts and tribunals? What are the “alternative” impacts, such as increasing legal awareness among the general public and changes in legal education?

Politics and international justice

Judicial ethics in the international sphere

The impact of diversity – cultural, linguistic, gender, etc. – on the work of international judges

  • "Making a Place for Indigenous Rights in Global Justice" (BIIJ 2012) - Participants consider the potential impacts of the body of law emerging around the concept of indigenous rights, and how it might influence the work of international courts and tribunals as well as the future development of international law.
  • “What Does Diversity Imply for an International Rule of Law?” (BIIJ 2010) ­– How do different experiences with the rule of law across the globe, as well as imbalanced representation in decision-making bodies in the international arena, influence the establishment of an international rule of law?
  • “Language and International Courts” (BIIJ 2009) ­– Judges discuss the multilingual challenges they face in their diverse institutions, including the perils of translation and interpretation, the challenge of communicating about their work to a diverse public, and the role of individual language skills in judicial selection processes.
  • “The Impact of Legal and Cultural Diversity on International Justice” (BIIJ 2006) – Participants examine several dimensions of diversity in the legal domain, the familiar one of common vs. civil law practices as well as the more fundamental and problematic diversity that is encountered when international law meets local cultures.
  • “Gender, Culture, and Human Rights” (BIIJ 2004) – Conflicts between international norms and local beliefs and practices are particularly salient in issues surrounding gender. International judges discuss how courts can address these conflicts, along with the obvious gender inequity found on their own benches.

 Challenges to the development of international justice and its institutions