International Courts and the Success of International Agreements
Most major international agreements—and many smaller ones as well—provide for dispute resolution through a court. For example, courts are active in agreements covering human rights and international trade. These courts typically lack any independent power of enforcement and yet are expected to ensure member-states comply with the agreement. In this course, we consider why such courts are formed and, based on that, examine arguments for why and under what conditions they will contribute to the performance of the international agreement. We will pay specific attention to one particularly successful international court—the European Court of Justice (ECJ). The ECJ has played an important role in the development and management of the European Union. It provides a valuable setting in which to understand how international courts matter and, perhaps, advance an agenda independent of the signatories of the agreement.