How Do Courts Use Statecraft Toward Self-Empowerment?

Event date
3 November 2023
Event time
14:00 - 15:00
Oxford week
MT 4
Members of the University
IECL teaching room

Yvonne Tew, Professor of Law and Anne Fleming Research Professor, Georgetown University


When courts seek to strengthen their own institutional power, they often need to be strategic. In many fraught political contexts, judiciaries lack a history of asserting authority against powerful political actors. How can courts with fragile authority establish and enhance judicial power? Yvonne Tew explores the phenomenon of strategic judicial empowerment, offering an account of how and when courts deploy various strategies aimed at enhancing their institutional position vis-à-vis other branches of government. Drawing on examples from apex courts in Pakistan, Malawi, Malaysia, and the United Kingdom, she explores the ways in which judges use tools of statecraft to increase the effectiveness of their decisions and enhance their role in the constitutional order. This account explores the particular mechanisms that courts employ in service of self-empowerment, such as strategies of maxi-minimalism and mini-maximalism.

This talk will be based on Yvonne Tew, Strategic Judicial Empowerment (American Journal of Comparative Law, forthcoming), available at:

Author Biography

Yvonne Tew, Professor of Law and Anne Fleming Research Professor at Georgetown University

Yvonne Tew is Professor of Law and Anne Fleming Research Professor at Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, D.C. She is the Faculty Director and Academic Co-Director (2023-2024) of the Center for Transnational Legal Studies in London. She has expertise in constitutional law, globally and in the U.S., as well as law and religion. She is the author of Constitutional Statecraft in Asian Courts (OUP, 2020).  Professor Tew holds a Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge, where she was a Gates Cambridge Scholar, a Master of Laws from Harvard Law School, and a B.A. from the University of Cambridge. She has held research fellowships at Columbia Law School and New York University School of Law.

Found within

Constitutional Law