Judicial diplomacy describes the courts' efforts to promote liberal democracy and protect their institutional authority. Bilateral court meetings are an essential aspect of judicial diplomacy, encompassing both jurisprudential (e.g., discussion of case law) and strategic (e.g., maximizing influence) aims. This study presents a novel approach to assess such meetings. It analyzes meeting reports by the German Federal Constitutional Court between 1998-2019, using content and semantic network analysis. The content analysis shows that court meetings are focused on jurisprudential aspects, while strategic considerations also play a role, particularly in discussions with interlocutors from emerging democracies. These findings are validated by the semantic network analysis, which discloses that the main issues discussed are: recent case law, Europeanisation, and globalization. Hence, this study presents an analysis of a novel data source. Further, it contributes to judicial politics research as transnational court meetings could be the missing link to understand mutual decision citations.
judicial diplomacy, transjudicial communication, qualitative content analysis, semantic network analysis