International Judicial Practices: Opening the “Black Box” of International Courts

This paper utilizes “practice theory” to identify and analyze the everyday practices of international judges, with particular focus on practices associated with judicial decision-making. Examining judicial practices illuminates a wide range of otherwise hidden activities that shape international judicial opinions; provides a pathway toward uncovering the subjective understandings that international judges attach to their own behaviors; and reveals underlying causal processes and mechanisms that influence tribunal decisions. By opening the “black box” of international courts, the practice turn permits us to shed light on their inner workings, and thereby enrich our understanding of these increasingly important bodies.