Published online by Cambridge University Press: 23 June 2018
Scandinavia is often hailed as the cradle of peace studies and international law. However, apart from anecdotal evidence we in fact know very little about whether democracies that often portray themselves as the home of human rights actually legitimise these values at home by referring to them in their own case law. By applying original new data, this chapter sets out to develop and discuss a quantitative methodology to measure the impact and legitimacy of international law and courts on the ground among some of the world’s most advanced democracies. We thus provide an innovative analysis mapping how Supreme Courts in Scandinavia over a fifty-year-long time span have cited (or refrained from doing so) international courts’ case law, treaties and conventions. We argue that in conducting such a comprehensive study, we have acquired not only a unique historic picture of the impact of these supranational instruments on domestic legal orders; we also now have a much better idea of whether and to what extent the Supreme Courts in question consider a supranational rule of law legitimate. It is hypothesised, moreover, that majoritarian democracies generally cite significantly fewer international cases and conventions than democracies with a solid national judicial review tradition.