The Function of Judges and Arbitrators in International Law

New York University School of Law Journal of International Law and Politics and PluriCourts at the University of Oslo co-hosted the 19th Annual Herbert Rubin and Justice Rose Luttan Rubin International Law Symposium on “The Function of Judges and Arbitrators in International Law”. This event included panels which offered reflections by President Theodor Meron of the ICTY on the role of customary law and the principle of legality as well as the pursuit of justice, while Judge Stephen Schwebel of the ICJ underscored the primacy of pleadings as sources over that of theory which was articulated by Geir Ulfstein. On another panel Eyal Benvenisti examined the internal nature of the Kadi decision while Alec Stone Sweet discussed the top-bottom evolution of the proportionality principle as an example of judge-made principles. Addressing international arbitration, Franco Ferrari declared allegiance to positivism as a ground for dismissing any allegation of obligation among arbitrators to maintain coherence among their decisions, while Brian King pointed to certain “law making” aspects of arbitration, particularly regarding procedural norms. Guided by Jose Alvarez, Andreas Follesdahl and Laurence Helfer debated the future of international courts of tribunals- reflecting on pluralistic tendencies, fragmentation, legitimacy concerns, as well as funding challenges. Judge Lech Garlicki of the European Court of Human Rights rounded up the symposium by reflecting that some courts will indeed endure and improve, while others will end accordingly. The symposium was a thought-provoking event which brought together common themes among different regimes and led to stimulating discussions on the function of judges and arbitrators. Kudos to the NYU editors of the Journal, Alyson Zureick and Carolin Guentert for their fine work!

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