Not a Simple 'You are Fired!' – or the Importance of Proper Challenges Procedures in International Courts and Tribunals

Posted: 3 Mar 2016 Last revised: 24 Apr 2016

See all articles by Chiara Giorgetti

Chiara Giorgetti

Richmond University School of Law

Date Written: March 1, 2016


International courts and tribunals play an increasingly fundamental role in the maintenance of peace and stability, economic development, and the protection of human dignity. Indeed, the cases they hear and resolve originate and touch upon such diverse spheres as boundary disputes, the use of force, the regulation of trade and investment, and violations of human rights. With increased visibility and relevance, however, also comes increased scrutiny. Issues of scrutiny have included and highlighted concerns related to the procedures to remove judges and arbitrators, as a fundamental principle of due process.

Indeed, robust and effective challenges procedures of judges and arbitrators are fundamental control mechanisms, and are of vital importance to guarantee the legitimacy of international courts and tribunals. Yet, challenges of judges and arbitrators in international courts and tribunals remain an understudied subject.

This article seeks to correct this unbalance by making three novel contributions. First, it compares for the first time challenges procedures across a variety of international courts and tribunals, including both permanent and ad hoc institutions. Second, it provides unique data on challenges, purposefully collected for this article, and analyses their outcome in details. Third, it suggests the use of two specific challenges procedures, namely for decisions on challenges to be taken by an external or semi-external institution, and the adoption of a common standard of review based on a reasonable third-party observer.

Keywords: International judiciary, Challenges of judges and arbitrators, International Courts and Tribunals, Judicial ethics

Suggested Citation

Giorgetti, Chiara, Not a Simple 'You are Fired!' – or the Importance of Proper Challenges Procedures in International Courts and Tribunals (March 1, 2016). Available at SSRN: or

Chiara Giorgetti (Contact Author)

Richmond University School of Law ( email )

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