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Materials from the International Court of Justice
The UN's International Court of Justice issues both:
- Judgments in contentious cases, resolving disputes between two states. The ICJ can only hear cases involving states that have accepted the ICJ's jurisdiction, either by agreeing to submit the specific dispute to the ICJ or by ratifying a treaty which specifies that disputes under the treaty will be submitted to the ICJ.
- Advisory opinions, advising other UN bodies on legal principles. As explained by the ICJ's website, "[t]he United Nations General Assembly and Security Council may request advisory opinions on 'any legal question'. Other United Nations organs and specialized agencies which have been authorized to seek advisory opinions can only do so with respect to 'legal questions arising within the scope of their activities'."
Just like a domestic court, the ICJ also issues other orders along its way to the final judgment, such as rulings on its jurisdiction to hear the case, requests for extensions of time, and requests by other parties to intervene in the case.
Generally, the best choices for researching ICJ cases are the ICJ's website and Oxford Reports on International Law (ORIL):
International Court of Justice Judgments, Advisory Opinions, Orders, and Filings- Court Website
The ICJ website is the best option for retrieving all materials from a specific case. For each case, the ICJ website provides a page listing all ICJ judgments, advisory opinions, and orders in the case, plus additional materials including filings by the parties, oral argument transcripts, and press releases. Generally, these materials are scanned from the print ICJ publications (see below) and are appropriate for use in Bluebooking and source collecting.
The ICJ website does not provide a search function for cases but users can perform basic searches by running a Google search for the relevant keywords and adding site:http://www.icj-cij.org/files/case-related/ to the beginning or end of the search to restrict your results to ICJ cases. Results for older cases may be less accurate because the cases have been scanned from print and then converted to text through optical character recognition (OCR) programs that are not always accurate. Accordingly, other sources are more effective for searching.
International Court of Justice Judgments, Advisory Opinions, and Orders- ORIL
Oxford Reports on International Law (ORIL) is the best option for retrieving all relevant cases on a specific subject. Browse the Subject filter in the left sidebar to quickly retrieve all cases on a subject. For each case, ORIL provides headnotes summarizing each holding in the case and a citator (Oxford Law Citator) that allows you to locate other cases and secondary sources that cite your case.
ORIL allows basic keyword searching in the left sidebar. Clicking Advanced Search in the upper right corner allows for slightly more advanced keyword searching using AND, OR, NOT,
and fields such as date and party name.
Additionally, both Lexis and Westlaw allow complex terms and connectors searching of ICJ materials:
International Court of Justice Judgments, Advisory Opinions, Orders, and Filings- Lexis
Lexis allows complex terms and connectors searching of ICJ judgments, advisory opinions, and orders. Additionally, it is the only online source other than the ICJ's website that includes a significant collection of ICJ filings. Lexis does not provide headnotes or a citator (Shepardize) for ICJ cases.
International Court of Justice Judgments, Advisory Opinions, and Orders- Westlaw
Westlaw allows complex terms and connectors searching of ICJ judgements, advisory opinions, and orders. It does not provide filings, headnotes, or a citator (Citing References) for ICJ cases.
The traditional print sources of ICJ materials are also available at the library and scanned on HeinOnline:
Pleadings, Oral Arguments, Documents Series
Call Number: Law Main Stacks KZ218 .P54
The ICJ released a series of books compiling pleadings, oral arguments, and other documents for specific cases. Many of these books are available in print at the library and one volume of the series is available on HeinOnline.
The traditional print digests used to look up ICJ cases by subject are also available at the library:
Books on the International Court of Justice
Other International Court of Justice Materials