What role for pluralism in inter-court relationships? – An explanatory framework

It has been observed in recent years that the relationship between domestic and international courts typically does not follow hierarchical patterns. Therefore, some legal scholars have coined the term ‘pluralism’ to describe relationships between domestic and international courts in which neither Court accepts the absolute supremacy of another court, but still seeks to establish a cooperative relationship. However, not all relationships between courts can be described as cooperative. Instead, we sometimes observe that domestic or regional courts deny paying respect to the rulings of an international court. Whether judges cooperate or show isolationist tendencies does not only vary between courts, but may also differ within one court. The paper tries to explain these differences. It argues that courts cooperate when they are dependent on each other in order to preserve their institutional position and establishes conditions under which such mutual dependency emerges.