September 23, 2020

Exit from International Tribunals

Rebecca J. Hamilton (with Joost Pauwelyn), Exit from International Tribunals, J. INT’L DISPUTE RES., 679 (2018).

This Commentary marks the first effort to provide a comprehensive overview of the attempts that States have made to exit international tribunals over the past decade. We identify the recurring drivers (and deterrents) of exit as well as the different outcomes that may result from exit pressure. In a time of growing populism, and its associated backlash against international law and courts in general, it is easy to lay the blame for tribunal exit at the feet of parochial national leaders. We conclude, however, that this represents an oversimplification of the exit story. As this Commentary suggests, changes at both the state and tribunal levels are fueling the push toward exit. State-centered drivers of populist ideology and the weight of sovereignty costs undoubtedly play a role. But tribunals need to take some share of the responsibility too.

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