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 21 COMPULSORY JURISDICTION UNDER ARTICLE 36

§446. The Compromise in Article 36. The provision for the Court's compulsory jurisdiction contained in paragraph 2 of Article 36 of the Statute represented a compromise between the views of the 1920 Committee of Jurists and those of the Council of the League of Nations. The draft-scheme of the Committee of Jurists provided for extensive compulsory jurisdiction, applicable to all Members of the League of Nations; the Council thought that this would be inconsistent with the freedom of choice given to Members of the League of Nations by Article 12 of the Covenant and it wished to make no modification in that Article. A struggle between these opposing views in the First Assembly of the League of Nations resulted in a rejection of the views both of the Committee of Jurists and of the Council, and led to the inclusion of a provision for a system of compulsory jurisdiction which Members of the League of Nations and States mentioned in the Annex to the Covenant were to be free to adopt as they might wish.1

§447. Declarations Accepting Compulsory Jurisdiction. Various methods of accepting the Court's compulsory jurisdiction remained open to Members of the League of Nations and States mentioned in the Annex to the Covenant after the rejection of the proposal of the 1920 Committee of Jurists. Two or more Members or States could by treaty or convention confer jurisdiction on the Court with reference to themselves, within or outside the limits set by Article 36. Or any Member or State could by unilateral declaration submit itself to the Court's

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Article 36, paragraph 27 therefore provides: The Members of the League of Nations and the States mentioned in the Annex to the Covenant may, either when signing or ratifying the Protocol to which the present Statute is adjoined, or at a later moment, declare that they recognize as compulsory ipso facto and without special agreement, in relation to any other Member or State accepting the same obligation, the jurisdiction of the Court in all or any of the classes of legal disputes concerning: (a) the interpretation of a treaty; (b) any question of international law; (c) the existence of any fact which, if established, would constitute a breach of an international obligation; (d) the nature or extent of the reparation to be made for the breach of an international obligation.

On the drafting of this provision see §185, supra.

-449-

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