My interest in the subject-matter of this book arose rather incidentally when I attended the 1992 Centre for Studies and Research seminar of the Hague Academy of International Law on 'The External Debt'. It was my task there to focus on responsibility issues concerning debt rescheduling andthe international debts crisis; one of the side issues that emerged from thisinvestigation waswhether international organizationscould bemade responsible or liable for part of the crisis and, if so, whether international or national fora would be available to adjudicate such claims. As far as the latter were concerned, it was apparent that immunity from jurisdiction could impede the enforcement of liability. At first, I simply assumed that international organizations would enjoy a similar degree of immunity as states. After a second look, I realized, however, that most applicable international agreements and domestic statutes provided for functional and/or absolute immunity without making explicit what this difference implied. Later on, I found that some national courts, in particular, in the US and Italy, are in fact using a state immunity standard. It appeared that no predictions about any judicial outcomes could be readily made.
To some extent my book is an attempt to find answers to this puzzle. Its subject was soon broadened to include all the various types of reasoning employed by national courts when they have to decide whether or not they will hear cases involving international organizations. It also reflects my preference for 'real world' problems which should hopefully make it a useful companion for the practitioner. At the same time it will evidence my attempt to use strict systematic standards in classifying the types and rationales of judicial responses. If it thereby combines elements of a Common Law inspired case analysis with a more formal Civil Law approach, this was not wholly unintended.