Leiden Journal of International Law


Challenging the Role of Judges in Slaughter's Liberal Theory of International Law


Article author query
mills a   [Google Scholar] 
stephens t   [Google Scholar] 


Judges are at the very centre of Anne-Marie Slaughter's influential liberal theory of international law. More than a century after liberal internationalists were making bold plans for a permanent international court, Slaughter's theory offers an alternative liberal account of the constitution of a global community of law. For Slaughter, domestic courts are responsible for enforcing a ‘new’ transnational legal order established by the interactions between citizens, corporations, and governmental agencies of increasingly disaggregated and porous states. This article challenges the role of adjudication in Slaughter's theory by unpacking the normativity inherent in her ostensibly descriptive liberalism, and identifying problems with the values and commitments at its foundation.

Key Words: globalization; international courts and tribunals; international relations; liberal theory.


1 Alex Mills is at Gonville and Caius College, University of Cambridge, adm50@cam.ac.uk. Tim Stephens is at the Sydney Centre for International and Global Law, Faculty of Law, University of Sydney, tims@law.usyd.edu.au. The authors are very grateful for the comments offered by Susan Marks, Wouter Werner, and the anonymous referees on earlier versions of this article.