The Interest Group on International Courts and Tribunals is organising a webinar sponsored by the Max Planck Institute Luxembourg for Procedural Law on ‘Biases and International Adjudication’. The webinar will be held on 10 September 2020.

Studies of biases are not a novelty in international law, including in the field of international adjudication. The institutional decisions of international courts and tribunals cannot be immune from some of the biases of individuals who shape the outcomes of international adjudication. It is ‘common knowledge’, as Thomas Franck acknowledged in 1966, that we all have biases and that ‘subjective’ and ‘socially conditioned’ attitudes of the decision maker play a role (T. M. Franck, (1966) 19 Stanford Law Review 1217 at 1247). According to Martin Kuijer’s analysis published in 1997, national bias among the judges of the International Court of Justice was proved to be ‘more than a hypothesis’ (M. Kuijer, (1997) 10 LJIL 49 at 66). More recently, a growing number of (experimental) findings shed light on the role of adjudicators’ intuitive and automatic thinking. The analyses of biases have also led us to critically consider the question of transparency in decision- making processes (including the selection of judges and the issues of recusal to the openness of the procedure to third parties). Other studies have challenged, for example, the assumption about decision-making that groups usually enhance the quality of the outcomes of deliberative processes, by investigating groupthink behaviour.

Against this background, the seminar will explore the implications of (broadly defined) biases in the practices of, and analysis about, international courts and tribunals.

You can register (free of charge) at https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_ALvBSRqJTayl0Vk4u4Kpuw.

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