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  • Cited by 6
Cambridge University Press
Online publication date:
August 2019
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Book description

International courts and tribunals differ in their institutional composition and functions, but a shared characteristic is their reliance on the contribution of individuals other than the judicial decision-makers themselves. Such 'unseen actors' may take the form of registrars and legal officers, but also non-lawyers such as translators and scientific experts. Unseen actors are vital to the functioning of international adjudication, exerting varying levels of influence on judicial processes and outcomes. The opaqueness of their roles, combined with the significance of judicial decisions for the parties involved as well as a wider range of stakeholders, raises questions about unseen actors' impact on the legitimacy of international dispute settlement. This book aims to answer such legitimacy questions and identify 'best practices' through a multifaceted enquiry into common connections and patterns in the institutional composition and daily practice of international courts and tribunals.


‘Professor Baetens has brought a fascinating new perspective to the study of international law, looking at the role of unseen actors in various areas. While unseen, these actors are certainly not unimportant for the effective functioning of their respective institutions, and the discharge of their duties benefits parties, States and the rule of law. This volume demonstrates how the many unseen actors contribute to making international adjudication efficient and effective, and is a fresh approach to the study of international adjudication.'

Meg Kinnear - Secretary-General, International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes

‘Freya Baetens has put together a stellar collection of contributions highlighting the role of multiple actors involved in the work of international courts and tribunals. Some are visible, others are less visible. Some are directly involved in the litigation process, others are involved in a more indirect manner. This lifting of the stage curtains also places a welcome spotlight on issues concerning legitimacy, neutrality or transparency.'

Laurence Boisson de Chazournes - University of Geneva, and Director of the LL.M. in International Dispute Settlement (MIDS)

‘This book not only has the merit of exploring areas of international adjudication to which little attention has been paid to date, it also brings together an impressive array of experiences, information and insights from leading practitioners and researchers on essential aspects of the functioning of international courts and tribunals. By shining a light on the ‘unseen actors' in international adjudication, this work is a welcome and ground-breaking contribution to reflection on the role and responsibilities of these auxiliaires de justice in the sound administration of international justice.'

Philippe Couvreur - Registrar, International Court Of Justice

‘Finally, the missing piece of the puzzle! There have been numerous books on international judges, prosecutors and the so-called international bar, but rarely has scholarship focused on the unexplored world of the people who keep the lights of international adjudication on. This is a must-read for anyone who wants to understand how international adjudication actually works, in reality.'

Cesare Romano - Loyola University Chicago, Los Angeles

‘There are few works of international legal scholarship which shine the spotlight on the important ‘hinterland' of international legal adjudication – namely, the work of registries, secretariats, appointing authorities and others, which both enables and shapes international adjudication in typically unseen ways. In this volume, an impressive range of experienced and expert authors is marshalled to do just that, and to provide their perspectives on the nature, significance and, indeed, legitimacy of the work of such professionals. This will be of great interest and value to those working on international tribunals across a range of disciplines.'

Andrew Lang - Chair in International Law and Global Governance, University of Edinburgh

‘My advice to every practitioner of international law, to every advocate before an international tribunal, and to every State or private party to an international dispute is: read this book! Legitimacy of Unseen Actors in International Adjudication is a fascinating and well-researched study of how courts and tribunals actually function, the importance of court personnel and other behind-the-scenes actors, and the impacts they can have on outcomes. No international advocate, no matter how experienced, should step into court again without having read it.'

Paul Reichler - Partner, Foley Hoag LLP

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