The International Law Bar: Essence Before Existence?
15 Pages Posted: 5 Dec 2013 Last revised: 19 Mar 2014
Date Written: January 2014
It is almost an axiom that ‘[t]here exists no ‘international bar’ regulating forensic advocacy before international courts and tribunals’. 1 The ‘cardinal principle remains the freedom of choice by the State of the persons who will assist its agent’. 2 There is clearly no international law bar comparable to domestic bars – there are no qualifications which someone must attain before appearing before international courts and tribunals, no international code of ethics with which they must comply, and no international association to sanction them for misconduct. Here I will discuss, first, why there is no international law bar, focusing on the development of international advocacy and its regulation over the past century; and, secondly, what we have in the place of an international law bar. I conclude by asking whether things could, and should, change.
Keywords: international law; international bar; international courts; international ethics; international advocacy
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