Selection and Appointment in International Adjudication: Insights from Political Science

Olof Larsson, Theresa Squatrito, Øyvind Stiansen, Taylor St John

Research output: Working paper


This paper summarizes insights from political science and empirical legal scholarship concerning selection and appointment of adjudicators to permanent international courts. This scholarship suggests that designers of international courts face challenging trade-offs in balancing judicial independence and accountability, as well as in promoting descriptive representation and necessary qualifications on the bench. The paper considers different institutional design features related to appointment procedures: representation, reappointment, screening procedures, and procedures for removing judges. Representation is discussed in a series of sections considering full or selective representation, voting rules, and geographic and gender quotas and aspirational targets. Throughout, we draw on data on 24 international courts to illustrate the different appointment procedures and institutional features. The paper concludes with two shorter sections covering issues closely related to appointment procedures. Appointments are only one means through which states convey their preferences or communicate with international courts, so the paper briefly considers other means, including withholding funding, obstruction, and interpretive statements, which states may use alongside or in place of appointments.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherAcademic Forum on ISDS
Number of pages37
Publication statusPublished - 2 Oct 2019


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