Perspectives on International Dispute Settlement from a Participant

38 Pages Posted: 19 Dec 2012 Last revised: 24 Feb 2015

See all articles by Sir Geoffrey Palmer QC

Sir Geoffrey Palmer QC

Victoria University of Wellington - Faculty of Law

Date Written: November 28, 2012


The author uses a variety of examples to explore international dispute settlement processes and to provide some suggestions for improvement. These examples, drawing on the author’s own career and New Zealand’s developing role in the international community, include the Rainbow Warrior affair, nuclear testing issues, the Gaza Flotilla inquiry and experiences at the International Whaling Commission.

It is an important ingredient of preparation to think carefully about what precisely the dispute is about. How the subject matter of a dispute is framed or characterised and the avenues both legal and political available to resolve it can be critical. The framing often determines the law that applies to the dispute. Also relevant is whether the dispute endangers the maintenance of international peace and security. The hierarchy of methods with which to arrive at a resolution of the dispute is extensive – from negotiation to adjudication and every modern method of dispute settlement in between. The Charter offers many dispute settlement menus that can be used with creativity where there is a desire to settle a dispute on the part of those engaged in it.

Keywords: international dispute resolution, international dispute settlement, Rainbow Warrior, Gaza Flotilla, International Whaling Commission, United Nations, United Nations Charter, international law, political resolution

JEL Classification: K33

Suggested Citation

Palmer QC, Sir Geoffrey, Perspectives on International Dispute Settlement from a Participant (November 28, 2012). (2012) 43 VUWLR; Victoria University of Wellington Legal Research Paper Series Palmer Paper No. 37. Available at SSRN:

Sir Geoffrey Palmer QC (Contact Author)

Victoria University of Wellington - Faculty of Law ( email )

PO Box 600
Wellington, 6140
New Zealand

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