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Title: Doing things with international precedents : the use and authority of previous decisions in international adjudication
Author: Ridi, Niccolò
ISNI:       0000 0005 0287 5123
Awarding Body: King's College London
Current Institution: King's College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2019
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Although no one doubts that decisions of international courts and tribunals have, as a rule, no binding force beyond the parties and the particular case in which they were issued, few phenomena are as evident as the constant stream of citations made by international adjudicators to previous decisions. This thesis investigates the idea of authority from previous decisions in international adjudication and, specifically, the development of doctrines of precedent in that context. While some adjudicators and scholars have attempted to trace the contours of a doctrine of precedent in international adjudication, no comprehensive analysis of its role, nature, and authority has been carried out to date. Although the topic is a classic one, it has long been held hostage of an orthodoxy based on specific rules, methodologies designed to assess the scope and extent of judicial law-making, and approaches based on analogies with domestic law which have generally proved unhelpful. This study attempts to resituate the problem within the study of international adjudication and understand the nature, scope, and strength of precedential constraint, as well as the factors that affect it. I argue that the legal framework on sources is, at best, neutral on the matter, and that precedent has become an essential aspect of the argumentative practice consummated in international courtrooms. However, the practice lacks a clear direction and the authority of precedent appears to vary according to the argumentative needs of those in a position to exploit it. This thesis engages with these problems by addressing doctrinal, quantitative, sociological, and theoretical questions. It deals, first, with, the rules that govern (or purport to govern) the authority of judicial and arbitral decisions, challenging the orthodoxy and its genealogy. It then provides a comprehensive systematization of the use of previous decisions in international adjudication, also employing powerful text-as-data and network analysis instruments to collect all the citations to precedent made by international adjudicators and classify their use. The section includes case studies on different jurisdictions; I then assess the scope of precedential constraint through the lens of its avoidance; finally, it provides an explanatory and analytical framework of the practice of precedent application in international adjudication.
Supervisor: Schultz, Thomas Karl Peter ; Webb, Philippa Mahal Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available