The Permanent Court of International Justice, 1920-1942

By Manley O. Hudson; Bureau of International Research of Harvard University and Radcliffe College | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 14 THE REGISTRY

§346. The Office of Registrar . The Statute of the Court provides for its appointment of a Registrar, who is to reside at the seat of the Court (Articles 21,22). Though numerous articles of the Statute refer to the Registrar, it would seem that when the Statute was being drafted there was little appreciation of the importance of the post, and the later developments which have made the office so vital to the functioning of the Court were in no way foreseen. The Registrar has become much more than a clerk of court. He is the "head" of an institution called the Registry,1 nowhere mentioned in the Statute;2 as an administrative official he has manifold duties, which include the handling of the Court's finances; he has custody of the seals of the Court; he is the chief representative of the Court vis-à-vis Governments, the organs of the League of Nations, and the general public; he conducts important negotiations on behalf of the Court; and he plays a responsible rôle in the actual functioning of the Court as a judicial body.

Article 21 of the Statute provides that the Registrar's duties "shall not be deemed incompatible with those of Secretary- General of the Permanent Court of Arbitration." This provision was partly due to a desire to connect the two institutions, and partly to a desire for economy.3 At no time have the duties of the two offices been conferred upon a single person,4 though a combination would possess obvious advantages and it would not in any way militate against the interests of either the Permanent Court of International Justice or the Permanent Court of Arbitration.

____________________
1
Other names were suggested for the Registry, particularly "The Office of the Registrar."
2
Ten articles of the 1936 Rules (Articles 14-23) are devoted to the Registry.
3
Minutes of the 1920 Committee of Jurists, p. 455; Series D, No. 2, p. 242.
4
In 1929, when a vacancy in the post of Secretary-General of the Permanent Court of Arbitration was about to be filled, the Registrar addressed a letter to the President of the Administrative Council of the Permanent Court of Arbitration relative to the provision in Article 21 of the Statute. Series E, No. 5, p. 246.

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