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Domestic Courts as Administrators of Foreign Relations


Anne Peters

Angelo Jr Golia

About the Project:

The project investigated the role of domestic – mainly constitutional and supreme – courts in the management of foreign relations (FR). Combining insights on the ongoing trend towards the administrativisation of the judicial function in liberal-democratic jurisdictions and the theoretical approach of Global Administrative Law (GAL), it investigated whether and to what extent domestic judicial bodies manage FR, establish relationships of coordination, and potentially develop a common legal language, even in the highly politicized field of FR.

The project surveyed the procedural and substantive norms applied by courts, and focused on the growing trend to conceive the management of FR in terms of "administration". In particular, the GAL approach brings out the role of courts as "global regulators" in a domain where their influence is often underestimated. On the contrary, courts contribute to determine the FR of states, and this has increasingly become a structural feature in contemporary constitutional systems. At the same time, this trend might often lead to greater disorder, conflict and de-stabilization, thus frustrating the purposes of ordering the structures of global governance.

From an analytical perspective, the project aimed to, firstly, better conceptualize this role of courts in legal-theoretical terms, and, secondly, to show the possible shortcomings of the judicial expansion in the field of FR. From a normative perspective, the project aimed, firstly, to explore the instruments to strengthen the self-awareness and responsiveness of judicial bodies in the field of FR, and, secondly, to explore possible alternatives to GAL as a theoretical framework to order the structures of global governance, to compensate the normative limits of the latter.

Staff Member(s):

Angelo Golia


  • Golia, Angelo Jr: Judicial Review, Foreign Relations and Global Administrative Law. The Administrative Function of Courts in Foreign Relations. MPIL Research Paper Series, 2020.
  • Golia, Angelo Jr: La fortezza che resiste. Potere estero, conflitto di attribuzione e prescrittività costituzionale. In: 3, 47-100 (2019).