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The Impartiality of International Judges: Evidence from the European Court of Human Rights

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Abstract:

This paper tests the observable implications of alternative theoretical threats to judicial impartiality using a new dataset on judicial dissents in the European Court of Human Rights. The analysis finds some evidence that career ambitions motivated judicial behavior and that judges were more lenient towards governments with the ability to undermine the court’s authority. There is no evidence that judges ruled based on cultural biases or that judges were socialized into judging more impartially. Even though these findings suggest that ECHR judges at times considered factors other than the law when evaluating cases, the impact of this bias on case outcomes was limited. Moreover, variation in judicial philosophies appears to be a stronger explanation for variation in the manner by which ECHR judges apply legal rules than bias towards certain respondent governments. This latter finding does not make the court apolitical as the results also indicate that governments more favorably disposed towards European integration were more likely to appoint judges with activist leanings.

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judg (255), court (134), intern (128), govern (124), nation (71), countri (60), legal (54), judici (54), bias (49), imparti (48), vote (46), case (43), right (40), cultur (38), dissent (36), echr (36), respond (35), polit (34), may (34), model (34), favor (34),

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international courts, international law
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Name: Midwest Political Science Association
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http://www.indiana.edu/~mpsa/


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MLA Citation:

Voeten, Erik. "The Impartiality of International Judges: Evidence from the European Court of Human Rights" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Midwest Political Science Association, Palmer House Hotel, Chicago, IL, Apr 12, 2007 <Not Available>. 2013-12-16 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p197493_index.html>

APA Citation:

Voeten, E. , 2007-04-12 "The Impartiality of International Judges: Evidence from the European Court of Human Rights" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Midwest Political Science Association, Palmer House Hotel, Chicago, IL Online <APPLICATION/PDF>. 2013-12-16 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p197493_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Abstract: This paper tests the observable implications of alternative theoretical threats to judicial impartiality using a new dataset on judicial dissents in the European Court of Human Rights. The analysis finds some evidence that career ambitions motivated judicial behavior and that judges were more lenient towards governments with the ability to undermine the court’s authority. There is no evidence that judges ruled based on cultural biases or that judges were socialized into judging more impartially. Even though these findings suggest that ECHR judges at times considered factors other than the law when evaluating cases, the impact of this bias on case outcomes was limited. Moreover, variation in judicial philosophies appears to be a stronger explanation for variation in the manner by which ECHR judges apply legal rules than bias towards certain respondent governments. This latter finding does not make the court apolitical as the results also indicate that governments more favorably disposed towards European integration were more likely to appoint judges with activist leanings.

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Document Type: application/pdf
Page count: 27
Word count: 11084
Text sample:
THE IMPARTIALITY OF INTERNATIONAL JUDGES: EVIDENCE FROM THE EUROPEAN COURT OF HUMAN RIGHTS Erik Voeten * ABSTRACT This paper tests the observable implications of alternative theoretical threats to judicial impartiality using a new dataset on judicial dissents in the European Court of Human Rights. The analysis finds some evidence that career ambitions motivated judicial behavior and that judges were more lenient towards governments with the ability to undermine the court’s authority. There is no evidence that judges ruled based
0.000 0.000 -0.000 (0.73) (1.40) (0.15) Constant 2.186 2.627 2.515 (1.36) (1.67) (1.32) Observations 6239 5962 3280 Number of issues 589 589 579 Fraction of .411 .395 .458 variance due to (S.E.=.020) (S.E.=.020) (S.E.=.028) issues (Rho) Absolute value of z-statistics in parentheses * significant at 5% level; ** at 1% level


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