The Composition of the International Courts

Ruth MacKenzie, Kate Malleson, Penny Martin and Philippe Sands

in Selecting International Judges: Principle, Process, and Politics

Published in print July 2010 | ISBN: 9780199580569
Published online September 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191594489 | DOI:

Series: International Courts and Tribunals Series

The Composition of the International Courts

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Different factors determine the composition of the international bench. The most important are the court's governing rules and conventions, including individual selection criteria for judges and rules about the composition of the bench as a whole; the available pool of candidates; and the practice and priorities of member states. This chapter reviews the interplay of these factors as they affect the ICJ and the ICC. It also considers current debates and trends in relation to the composition of international courts more generally, including questions about the composition of the bench as a whole, in terms of geographic representation and the place of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council; the representation of different legal systems; the need for certain types of legal expertise and a particular combination of legal experience on the bench; and the promotion of gender balance.

Keywords: judges; international courts; International Court of Justice; International Criminal Court; judicial selection

Chapter.  20393 words. 

Subjects: Public International Law

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