Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa

A cosmopolitan legal order: Constitutional pluralism and rights adjudication in Europe


The European Convention on Human Rights is rapidly evolving into a cosmopolitan legal order: a transnational legal system in which all public officials bear the obligation to fulfill the fundamental rights of every person within their jurisdiction. The emergence of the system depended on certain deep, structural transformations of law and politics in Europe, including the consolidation of a zone of peace and economic interdependence, of constitutional pluralism at the national level, and of rights cosmopolitanism at the transnational level. Framed by Kantian ideas, the paper develops a theoretical account of a cosmopolitan legal system, provides an overview of how the ECHR system operates, and establishes criteria for its normative assessment.

Corresponding author
Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

Sharon Anderson-Gold . 1988. “War and Resistance: Kant’s Implicit Doctrine of Human Rights.” Journal of Social Philosophy 19(1):37–50.

Charles Beitz . 2001. “Human Rights as a Common Concern.” American Political Science Review 95(2):269–82.

Samantha Besson . 2008. “The Reception Process in Ireland and the UK.” In A Europe of Rights: The Impact of the ECHR on National Legal Systems, edited by Helen Keller and Alec Stone Sweet , 31–106. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Eirik Bjørge . 2011. “National Supreme Courts and the Development of ECHR Rights.” International Journal of Constitutional Law 9(1):5–31.

Joshua Cohen . 2004. “Minimalism About Human Rights: The Most We Can Hope For?Journal of Political Philosophy 12(2):190–213.

Michael Doyle . 1986. “Liberalism and World Politics.” American Political Science Review 80(4):1151–69.

Alessandro Ferrara . 2003. “Two Notions of Humanity and the Judgment Argument for Human Rights.” Political Theory 31(3):392–420.

Stephen Gardbaum . 2008. “Human Rights as International Constitutional Rights.” The European Journal of International Law 19(4):749–68.

Lech Garlicki . 2007. “Constitutional Courts versus Supreme Courts.” International Journal of Constitutional Law 5(1):44–68.

Frank Hoffmeister . 2006. “Germany: Status of European Convention on Human Rights in Domestic Law.” International Journal of Constitutional Law 4(4):722–31.

Wade Huntley . 1996. “Kant’s Third Image: Systemic Sources of the Liberal Peace.” International Studies Quarterly 40(1):45–76.

İbrahim Kaboğlu , and Stylianos-Ioannis Koutnatzis . 2008. “The Reception Process in Greece and Turkey.” In A Europe of Rights: The Impact of the ECHR on National Legal Systems, edited by Helen Keller and Alec Stone Sweet , 451–529. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Helen Keller , and Alec Stone Sweet (eds). 2008. A Europe of Rights: The Impact of the ECHR on National Legal Systems. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Jan Klabbers , Anne Peters , and Geir Ulfstein . 2009. The Constitutionalization of International Law. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Nico Krisch . 2010. Beyond Constitutionalism: The Pluralist Structure of Postnational Law. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Mattias Kumm . 2009. “The Cosmopolitan Turn in Constitutionalism: On the Relationship between Constitutionalism in and beyond the State.” In Ruling the World: Constitutionalism, International Law, and Global Governance, edited by Jeffrey Dunhoff and Joel Trachtman , 258–324. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Mattias Kumm . 2005. “The Jurisprudence of Constitutional Conflict: Constitutional Supremacy in Europe before and after the Constitutional Treaty.” European Law Journal 11(3):262–307.

Mattias Kumm . 2004. “Constitutional Rights as Principles: On the Structure and Domain of Constitutional Justice.” International Journal of Constitutional Law 2(3):574–96.

Angelika Nußberger . 2008. “The Reception Process in Russia and Ukraine.” In A Europe of Rights: The Impact of the ECHR on National Legal Systems, edited by Helen Keller and Alec Stone Sweet , 603–74. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

John O’Neal , Bruce Russett , and Michael Berbaum . 1999. “The Kantian Peace: The Pacific Benefits of Democracy, Interdependence, and International Organizations, 1885–1992.” International Studies Quarterly 47(3):371–93.

Thomas Pogge . 2009. “Kant’s Vision of a Just World Order.” In The Blackwell Guide to Kant’s Ethics, edited by T. Hill , 196–208. Oxford: Blackwell.

Thomas Pogge . 2000. “The International Significance of Human Rights.” Journal of Ethics, 4(1-2):45–69.

Wojciech Sadurski . 2009. “Partnering with Strasbourg: Constitutionalization of the European Court of Human Rights, the Accession of Central and East European States to the Council of Europe, and the Idea of Pilot Judgments.” Human Rights Law Review 9(3):397–453.

Matthew Smith . 2008. “Rethinking Sovereignty, Rethinking Revolution.” Philosophy and Public Affairs 36(4):405–40.

Martin Shapiro , and Alec Stone Sweet . 2002. On Law, Politics, and Judicialization. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Eric Stein . 1981. “Lawyers, Judges, and the Making of a Transnational Constitution.” American Journal of International Law 75(1):1–27.

Alec Stone Sweet . 2010b. “The European Court of Justice and the Judicialization of EU Governance.” Living Reviews in European Union Governance. Published online at:

Alec Stone Sweet . 2004. The Judicial Construction of Europe. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Alec Stone Sweet . 1999. “Judicialization and the Construction of Governance.” Comparative Political Studies 32(2):147–84.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Global Constitutionalism
  • ISSN: 2045-3817
  • EISSN: 2045-3825
  • URL: /core/journals/global-constitutionalism
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *