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International Law: Courts, Tribunals and Case Law

A library subject guide detailing handy resources for the study of international law.

Courts and Tribunals

Courts, Tribunals and Case Law

Hague Peace Palace, seat of the International Court of Justice

Sources of International Law: Judicial Decisions

A judicial decision can be a decision of an international tribunal or a  domestic body regarding a question with international implications, although generally decisions of international tribunals are considered more influential in terms of the development of international law. Consistent decisions of national courts over time carry some impact regarding interpretation. 

Since WWII decisions of international tribunals have played an increasingly important role in interpreting rules of international law even though Article 59 of the International Court of Justice Statute provides that such decisions only have application regarding the parties to the particular case in which those decisions are made. 

Although the ICJ for example does not treat prior decisions as precedent in the same manner as a domestic common law court, it does attempt to maintain consistency within its decisions via this means.

Source: Gerhard Von Glahn & James Taulbee, Law Among Nations: An Introduction to Public International Law (Longman, 9th ed., 2010)

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