Working Paper 20
Networks, Courts and Regional Integration. Explaining the Establishment of the Andean Court of Justice.
Legal transplants have traditionally been believed to be the product of reason and informed decision-making that follow arduous deliberations and bargaining between lawmakers. This paper argues that some major legal transformations can be better explained with the help of networks. It delves into the history of the establishment of the Andean Court of Justice and asks who got to decide the major questions in regard to the institutional design of the court. I argue that contrary to dominant assumptions, consultants and think tanks play a decisive role in the shaping of legal transplants. They are the ones that decide which model to follow. They get to choose participants in relevant working groups and it is them who shape the final proposal that will be voted by the lawmaker. As the complexity of the topic increases, professional networks can use technical discourse that makes scrutiny unlikely. The research shows that in case of Andean regional integration, the personal background of consultant is also very relevant, because it determines what models will be considered for eventual benchmarking. However, the mere existence of networks is not enough for producing legal change; a window of opportunity is a necessary condition.