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 26 ORAL PROCEEDINGS

§512. Priority and Urgency. Article 61 of the 1936 Rules provides that "a request for the indication of interim measures shall have priority over all other cases." Subject to that provision, cases are taken up in the order in which they become ready for hearing, and when several cases are ready for hearing the order is determined by their position in the General List of Cases provided for in Article 20 of the 1936 Rules;1 but this order may be varied "in special circumstances."2 A case may be postponed at the request of the parties, but in this connection the interests of parties to other cases which might have to be advanced are to be taken into consideration.3

Urgency is one of the factors which determine priority. Whether a case is urgent depends upon its nature and the circumstances in which it has arisen. Article 61 of the 1936 Rules provides that the decision on a request for interim protection "shall be treated as a matter of urgency."4 As the Chamber for Summary Procedure is established "with a view to the speedy despatch of business," cases before it are in some degree urgent. In the Chorzów Case, "relative urgency" was ascribed to proceedings in regard to a preliminary objection because they were said to be "in the nature of summary proceedings";5 and the President's order of October 10, 1932 in the Pless Case recited that such proceedings "are of an urgent character."6 In 1927, a proceeding relating to the interpretation of a judgment was said to be urgent.7 A request for an advisory

____________________
1
The session list provided for by the earlier Rules was abolished in 1936.
2
Article 28 of the 1931 Rules referred to "exceptional circumstances." Series D, No. 2 (3d add.), p. 555.
4
See Series C, No. 13-1, p. 8. In 1933, the Court was twice convened in extraordinary session to deal with requests for the indication of measures of interim protection; the interval between the date of the filing of the request and the date set for the hearing was in each case eight days; in the second case, however, the hearing was adjourned for eight days at the request of one of the parties.
5
Series C, No. 13-1, p. 8.
6
Series C, No. 70, p. 443. But see Series D, No. 2 (3d add.), p. 820.
7
Series C, No. 13-V, p. 78; Series E, No. 4, p. 294.

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