International Courts as Agents of Legal Change: Evidence from LGBT Rights in Europe

  title={International Courts as Agents of Legal Change: Evidence from LGBT Rights in Europe},
  author={Laurence R. Helfer and Erik Voeten},
  journal={International Organization},
  pages={77 - 110}
Abstract Do international court judgments influence the behavior of actors other than the parties to a dispute? Are international courts agents of policy change or do their judgments merely reflect evolving social and political trends? We develop a theory that specifies the conditions under which international courts can use their interpretive discretion to have system-wide effects. We examine the theory in the context of European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) rulings on lesbian, gay, bisexual… 
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