Assessing the Effectiveness of the International Court of Justice

Cambridge Companion to the International Court of Justice, Carlos Espósito, Kate Parlett and Callista Harris eds., Forthcoming 2021)

Hebrew University of Jerusalem Legal Research Paper No. 21-10

21 Pages Posted: 11 Mar 2021 Last revised: 18 Apr 2021

See all articles by Rotem Giladi

Rotem Giladi

University of Helsinki, Erik Castrén Institute of International Law and Human Rights, Faculty of Law

Yuval Shany

Hebrew University of Jerusalem - Faculty of Law and Institute of Criminology; Israel Democracy Institute

Date Written: December 25, 2020

Abstract

Through continuity with its predecessor, the Permanent Court of International Justice (PCIJ), the International Court of Justice (ICJ) is the longest-lived international court in existence. As the ‘World Court’, it embodies a crucial link between the present-day reality of international adjudication and its antecedent intellectual and ideological premises and institutional incarnation. As such, the ICJ serves as the archetype of international adjudication. Furthermore, as ‘the principal judicial organ’ of the UN, it enjoys a special position among other international courts and tribunals, and forms part of a global organization tasked with maintaining international peace and security. Among international courts and tribunals, it alone can claim to exercise jurisdiction that is potentially both general and universal, and its jurisdiction and jurisprudence may, and often does, touch on high politics and global governance. These unique features and the tensions they embody are crucial to the assessment of ICJ effectiveness.

The nature and magnitude of the challenges confronting the Court since 1945 are crucial for assessing its effectiveness. It survived, without major structural adjustment, dramatic changes in the world and in the nature of its business. Its constituency has radically transformed in numbers, identity, and outlook shortly after its establishment. All of these twists and turns underscore the high degree of institutional resilience of the ICJ in the face of exogenous pressures; the Court’s durability must also be accounted for when assessing its effectiveness.

The following Chapter offers a ‘broad brush’ discussion of the effectiveness of the ICJ. In Part 1 we introduce the evaluative framework used throughout this Chapter for assessing the Court’s effectiveness—a goal-based analysis. Part 2 discusses the goals of the ICJ as they derive explicitly and implicitly from its core documents. Part 3 introduces the structural features of the Court that facilitate, at times, and constrain, at other times, its potential for goal-attainment. Part 4 reviews the outcomes generated by the Court and juxtaposes them against its goals. Part 5 concludes.

Keywords: International Court of Justice, judicial effectiveness, jurisdiction, compliance, legitimacy, judicial goals, judicial independence, impact of international judgments

JEL Classification: K33, K41

Suggested Citation

Giladi, Rotem and Shany, Yuval, Assessing the Effectiveness of the International Court of Justice (December 25, 2020). Cambridge Companion to the International Court of Justice, Carlos Espósito, Kate Parlett and Callista Harris eds., Forthcoming 2021), Hebrew University of Jerusalem Legal Research Paper No. 21-10, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3801580

Rotem Giladi

University of Helsinki, Erik Castrén Institute of International Law and Human Rights, Faculty of Law ( email )

Finland

Yuval Shany (Contact Author)

Hebrew University of Jerusalem - Faculty of Law and Institute of Criminology ( email )

Mount Scopus
Mount Scopus, IL 91905
Israel
972 2 5882541 (Phone)
972 2 5823042 (Fax)

Israel Democracy Institute ( email )

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Jerusalem
Israel

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