International Adjudication

in The Perils of Global Legalism

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print September 2009 | ISBN: 9780226675749
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226675923 | DOI:
International Adjudication

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  • Public International Law


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International adjudication is the most distinctive and lasting contribution of global legalism, as well as a phenomenon to which global legalists point with pride. Any discussion of it must start with the International Court of Justice (ICJ), which was established in 1945, at the same time as the United Nations (UN) as an organ of that institution. The founders of the UN hoped that an international court would be able to resolve disputes between states, thus heading off war by applying law. Why did the founders believe that an international court was needed? International law, like domestic law, is often ambiguous; and governments, like ordinary people, can exploit legal ambiguities in order to attain their ends. Indeed, government officials rarely admit that state policy violates international law; instead, they argue that state policy is consistent with international law, rightly interpreted. This chapter argues that the move from episodic arbitration to a full-fledged international court could seem natural only to global legalists. The failure of the ICJ says a lot about the pitfalls of global legalism.

Keywords: global legalism; international adjudication; ICJ; United Nations; international law; arbitration

Chapter.  7042 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Public International Law

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