Private litigants and the new international courts

Karen J. Alter*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


Scholars expect International Courts (ICs) with private access and compulsory jurisdiction to be more independent and effective. This article shows a trend of creating and using ICs with compulsory jurisdiction and private access, using as evidence the founding statutes and usage rates of 20 ICs created since 1945. Analyzing where and for what private actors are granted access to ICs, the author finds that what is driving the expansion of private access and compulsory jurisdiction is an attempt to extend the types of juridical checks found at the domestic level to the international governance level. Although this trend will likely lead to more rights claiming by private actors, limitations on the types of cases that can be raised combined with a lack of usage suggests that outside of Europe, private right claiming potentials have yet to be exploited.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)22-49
Number of pages28
JournalComparative Political Studies
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2006


  • Courts
  • Delegation
  • Europe
  • International law
  • International organizations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science

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