In 2023, PluriCourts Centre of Excellence will close its doors after ten busy and rewarding years studying the legitimacy of international courts and tribunals. However, PluriCourts’ research contributions will live on and several of its initiatives will be continued at the Faculty of Law as legacy activities.
Two happy centre leaders receiving flowers: Andreas Føllesdal and Geir Ulfstein have co-led PluriCourt over the last decade. At the Concluding Conference in June, they reiceved flowers from the Faculty of law. Photo: Lara Marie Nicole Eguia/UiO
Looking in the rearview mirror
PluriCourts was set up by Professors Andreas Føllesdal and Geir Ulfstein in 2013 with funding from the Research Council of Norway (RCN). Over the past ten years, the centre has explored the multidimensional legitimacy standards, separation of authority, independence and accountability, performance, and comparative advantages of a variety of international courts and tribunals. Its researchers have studied an array of courts and tribunals dealing with questions related to human rights, trade, criminal law, investments, environmental cases, the law of the sea and EU law.
Multidisciplinary research has been an important pillar at PluriCourts, where lawyers, political scientists, and philosophers have collaborated closely to better understand the legitimate roles of international courts and tribunals. PluriCourts has shown that multidisciplinary collaboration allows for better answers to complex puzzles that require insights from several disciplines. This has led to research in each of these fields published in world-renowned journals and publishing houses.
In addition, several long-standing multidisciplinary partnerships between researchers have blossomed within our offices.
Over the period, PluriCourts has had the honor to host several research projects financed by RCN. They include:A visible presence at the Faculty of law: Over the past decade, PluriCourts has made a visible and lasting impact on the Faculty of Law. The photo is from PluriCourts' closing conference when PluriCourts' banner adorned Domus Academica. Photo: Mahalet Tadesse/UiO
While PluriCourts’ ten-year mandate has ended, some of its initiatives will be carried on under the auspices of the Department of Public and International Law.
PhD course on the legitimacy of international courts and institutions
In line with its multidisciplinary approach, PluriCourts has organized two PhD courses integrating law, philosophy, and political science to discuss different yet overlapping concepts (and conceptions) of the legitimacy of international institutions. In 2023, the course had a thematic focus on legitimacy in light of the recent backlash against international institutions.
The course has provided students with an overview of theoretical and methodological challenges involved in assessing the legitimacy and justice of international law and international institutions. Professors at the Department of Public and International Law will carry on the legacy and continue to teach the next generation of researchers.
The Ryssdal Seminar Series
Since 2014, PluriCourts has hosted the Ryssdal Seminar particularly for Norwegian judges. In the spirit of the former Norwegian judge and President of the European Court of Human Rights Rolv Ryssdal, the seminar raises questions relating to the interaction between domestic and international law, especially human rights. The seminars are co-hosted with the Norwegian Courts Administration. Some of the topics covered so far include Sami cases in Norwegian courts, the UN human rights treaty bodies and their significance in Norwegian law, the independence of the judiciary and judges, the European Convention on Human Rights at 70, the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration scandal, legislation during the Covid-19 pandemic, Norway’s relations with the European Court of Human Rights, and the judiciary’s challenges related to independence, quality, and efficiency.
The seminar series will continue under the Faculty of Law’s research group on international law. The next Ryssdal seminar is scheduled for 30 October 2023, with a focus on climate cases and international institutions.
Research initiative on the interface between international and national law
The interface between international and national law is an initiative put to life by PluriCourts and the Faculty of Law in 2021 with the aim to research the legal dimensions of the interrelationship between domestic law and a variety of branches within international law in a comparative context. PluriCourts established the initiative to analyze and explain how international law is currently being implemented and how it should be best implemented in Norwegian legislation, administration, and case law. The initiative will continue to live on also after PluriCourts as part of the Faculty of Law’s Research Group on international law.