International Courts

Cesare P. R. Romano

in International Law

ISBN: 9780199796953
Published online March 2012 | | DOI:
International Courts

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  • International Courts and Tribunals
  • Private International Law and Conflict of Laws
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The multiplication of international courts is one of the most remarkable changes in international law and relations of the post–Cold War era. Admittedly, international courts are not a recent phenomenon. The first international courts date back to the early years of the 20th century. However, since the early 1990s the number of international judicial bodies has multiplied, the scope of their jurisdiction has expanded, and the number of the cases handled and judgments rendered has grown from a few a year to a steady stream that often has considerable impact on international relations and the lives of individuals worldwide. Depending on how international courts are defined, one can count more than two dozen of such bodies currently active, at very different degrees, both at the global and the regional level. If one were to add also those that are inactive or barely active, have been terminated, or never started operating, the tally can easily reach more than three dozen. This phenomenon has been tracked and analyzed by a vast and rapidly growing literature, fed by two main wells of scholarship. Indeed, international courts have been intensively studied by legal scholars––specifically of international law––first, and then by political scientists––in particular, those specializing in international relations. By and large each of the two learned groups has approached the same object of study from different perspectives, often at different levels of resolution, focusing on different aspects and ultimately using different interpretative tools. Yet both have yielded theoretical and functional insight that must be taken into account if a proper understanding of the phenomenon is to be achieved. It should be noted that in the literature, international courts are also called international tribunals. Albeit the terms courts and tribunals do not designate exactly the same kind of institutions, they are often used interchangeably, so much so that the generic expression “international courts and tribunals” (ICTs) is often preferred. Other, more technical and usually employed, designations are “international judicial body” and “international adjudicative body,” although the latter expression usually includes both international courts and tribunals, which are permanent institutions, and arbitral tribunals, which are ad hoc and temporary (see Definitions).

Article.  15171 words. 

Subjects: International Law ; International Courts and Tribunals ; Private International Law and Conflict of Laws ; Public International Law

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