The Use of Court-Appointed Experts by the International Court of Justice
(2013) 84 British Yearbook of International Law 271
36 Pages Posted: 14 Sep 2014 Last revised: 14 May 2015
Date Written: September 12, 2014
Faced with increasingly complex cases, the International Court of Justice has come under criticism for failing to appoint neutral experts to assist the Court under Article 50 of its Statute. After examining the limited use of court-appointed experts by the ICJ and its predecessor, the Permanent Court of International Justice, this article argues that increased recourse to expert knowledge under Article 50 would result in a delegation of the judicial function to unaccountable experts. Acknowledging the demands of technically complex cases, the article evaluates three different methods adopted by other international tribunals, under the auspices of the WTO, ECJ, UNCC, WIPO, UNCLOS and PRIME Finance. Considering the institutional specificities of the ICJ, the article concludes by advocating the adoption of a new form of pre-trial procedure involving co-operation with specialist international organisations: this could be accomplished under an amended version of the Rules, which would limit provision for expert consultation to that necessary to determine the facts pertinent to the selection and application of the rules of law necessary for the Court to perform its function in the case at hand.
Keywords: International Court of Justice, ICJ, experts, Article 50, fact-finding, knowledge, complexity, science.
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