The Promise and Perils of Foreign Judges on Constitutional Courts

Several divided societies have reserved places for foreign judges on their constitutional courts.  Drawing on quantitative evidence and elite interviews from Bosnia-Herzegovina, this paper considers both the intended and unintended consequences of this practice.  First, the paper considers if a coherent theory for the practice can be gleaned from either constitutional structure and/or the subjective self-understanding of foreign judges themselves.  Second, the paper reviews the reality (at least as it has played out in Bosnia) to illustrate both the benefits as well as the moral hazards that may result.  It is argued that the practice, even if consistent with its underlying theory, may have unintended and potential negative effects on how domestic judges approach their own role.