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The Politics of Precedent in International Law: A Social Network Application

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  22 August 2014

McGill University
Krzysztof J. Pelc is William Dawson Scholar and Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, McGill University (


The concept of precedent is fundamental to domestic courts, especially in Anglo-American common law systems, where judges are bound to the court’s past decisions. By contrast, precedent has no formal authority in international law. Legal scholars point to Article 59 of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) Statute in this respect, according to which international legal rulings are binding only on the parties in the dispute at hand, and have no bearing on matters outside of the case.

Research Article
Copyright © American Political Science Association 2014 

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