The Role and Limits of the International Court of Justice in International Environmental Law

The Cambridge Companion to the International Court of Justice, Carlos Esposito and Kate Partlett, eds. (Cambridge University Press, Forthcoming)

22 Pages Posted: 15 Jun 2020 Last revised: 12 Aug 2020

See all articles by Daniel Bodansky

Daniel Bodansky

Arizona State University Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law

Date Written: May 20, 2020

Abstract

The contribution of the International Court of Justice to international environmental law has been comparatively modest. Since it first emerged in the early 20th century, international environmental law has developed primarily through negotiations among States rather than judicial decisions. Although the increasing judicialization of international law in recent decades has included an uptick in environmental litigation, most of this litigation has taken place in specialized tribunals such as the regional human rights courts, the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, and the World Trade Organization’s Dispute Settlement Mechanism, not the International Court of Justice. Today, even on the most generous accounting, the ‘environmental’ decisions of the Court still number in the single digits and, for the most part, have taken a rather conservative approach, lending the Court’s authority to well-established principles rather than breaking new ground. This chapter reviews the substantive contributions of the ICJ to international environmental law, and assesses its role and limits as an actor in the international environmental process.

Keywords: International Court of Justice, International Environmental Law, courts

JEL Classification: K32, K33

Suggested Citation

Bodansky, Daniel, The Role and Limits of the International Court of Justice in International Environmental Law (May 20, 2020). The Cambridge Companion to the International Court of Justice, Carlos Esposito and Kate Partlett, eds. (Cambridge University Press, Forthcoming), Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3606268

Daniel Bodansky (Contact Author)

Arizona State University Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law ( email )

111 E Taylor St
Phoenix, AZ 85004
United States

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