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International Law in Domestic Courts Through the Empirical Lens: The Swiss Federal Tribunal’s Practice of International Law in Figures

This article consists in an empirical study of the Swiss Federal Tribunal’s practice of international law. It provides statistical data on the practical significance of international law across time, on the relevance of various sources of international law, and on the context in which international law is cited. It also complements a number of intuitively plausible remarks legal scholars have made about the domestic judicial practice of international law, based on their legal analysis of this practice. The use of the verb «complement» is deliberate, as such statements are typically not meant to be full-fledged empirical claims which would need to be «tested» or «verified» through empirical work. In this article, I first reflect on the relationship between empirical research and legal scholarship. I then define the scope of the study, present its results, and point to topics that could be explored in future empirical studies.