Finding traces of transnational legal communication: cross-referencing in international case law
National and international judicial systems are today in constant interaction. This interaction has been mainly studied by legal scholars, who termed it "transjudicial communication". This communication manifests itself in case law and may also be of interest for linguists. The focus in this chapter is on one of the possible linguistic manifestations of transjudicial communication in the judgments delivered by the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR). They consist in "external
... nal cross-references", i.e. references that point to sources of legislative or judicial law other than the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (ECHR) and its Protocols or the ECtHR case law. The chapter presents a feasibility study conducted on a small corpus of three English judgments delivered by the Grand Chamber of the ECtHR. The aim of the study is first to develop a language-specific methodology for the semi-automatic extraction of cross-references and then to conduct a qualitative analysis of the extracted cross-references that fall within the category of "external cross-references". These cross-references are analysed to identify both the type of sources they point to and the function they perform. As regards the sources, they are both judicial (case law) and normative (legislation); therefore, an alternative term to refer to the communication that emerges is proposed, namely "transnational legal com-5. Finding traces of transnational legal communication: cross-referencing in international case law katia peruzzo ". The three functions cross-references are seen to perform are: (i) description of the factual background and the legal history of the case, (ii) recall of relevant domestic law or other legal provisions, and (iii) provision of a backbone for the legal reasoning and argumentation of the ruling.