Respecting Sovereign States and Running a Tight Courtroom<sup>*</sup>

Rosalyn Higgins Dbe Qc

in Themes and Theories

Published in print August 2009 | ISBN: 9780198262350
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191682322 | DOI:
Respecting Sovereign States and Running a Tight Courtroom*

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There was a time when international law was perceived as consisting of a manageable corpus of rules over a finite, ascertainable subject matter, relevant to the relations of states with each other. Today the corpus of norms is vast, the subject matter apparently expanding indefinitely. The more our world is globalised, the less the state retains its monopoly as an international actor and the more systems of dispute settlement we are likely to find. The International Court of Justice (ICJ) settles disputes between states. Cases cannot be brought by individuals and indeed, neither they nor non-governmental organisations have any standing to intervene in inter-state litigation by amicus briefs. An area in which the ICJ needs more firmly to assert its authority with sovereign states is that relating to the submission of late documents. There is no reason why there should be any further ‘value added’ to reflect state sovereignty, whether in the number of rounds of written pleadings to be allowed, the length of oral pleadings to be set, whether late documents will or will not be tolerated.

Keywords: International Court of Justice; international law; dispute settlement; litigation; late documents; sovereign states; state sovereignty; written pleadings; oral pleadings

Chapter.  6289 words. 

Subjects: Public International Law

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