The Decline of the International Court of Justice

39 Pages Posted: 6 Dec 2004

See all articles by Eric A. Posner

Eric A. Posner

University of Chicago - Law School

Date Written: December 2004


The International Court of Justice is the judicial organ of the United Nations and the preeminent international court, but its caseload is light and has declined over the long term relative to the number of states. This paper examines evidence of the ICJ's decline, and analyzes two possible theories for this decline. The first is that states stopped using the ICJ because the judges did not apply the law impartially but favored the interests of their home states. The second is that the ICJ has been the victim of conflicting interests among the states that use and control it.

Keywords: United Nations

Suggested Citation

Posner, Eric A., The Decline of the International Court of Justice (December 2004). U Chicago Law & Economics, Olin Working Paper No. 233; U of Chicago, Public Law Working Paper No. 81, Available at SSRN: or

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