An Introduction to International Institutional Law

By Jan Klabbers | Go to book overview

12
Dispute settlement

Introduction

All legal systems will have found a way to settle disputes between their subjects in a legally prescribed manner. That may range from having disputes settled by the elders of tribe or village following their wisdom to highly formal and formalized procedures involving barristers, judges, juries and journalists, following strictly defined rules of law.

A similar variety can be seen within international organizations: most organizations will have some mechanism to settle disputes, and these may range from highly complex and organized ways where a premium is put on application of strict rules (the EC is the paradigm example) to rather more flexible ways where the ironing out of the conflict is deemed more important than the rigid application of strict rules (e.g., the old GATT1).

Those different mechanisms may well stem from the consideration that, within an organization made up of a relatively small number of states, strict judicial settlement is somehow incongruous: if those states embark on a common project, it may not be a particularly good idea to have them meet in court on a regular basis; litigation, with its connotations of winners and losers, guilty parties and victims, crime and punishment, is not conducive to fostering the spirit of community. This may explain why advisory opinions are relatively popular within international organizations,2 whereas binding judicial settlement is reasonably rare and usually deals with the legal protection of individuals or companies rather than with inter-state disputes.

1 The seminal study is Robert E. Hudec, The GATT Legal System and World Trade Diplomacy (New York, 1975).

2 For an overview of the popularity of advisory opinions, see Kenneth J. Keith, The Extent of the Advisory Jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice (Leiden, 1971), pp. 16–18.

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An Introduction to International Institutional Law
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page v
  • Contents vii
  • Preface xiii
  • Acknowledgements xvi
  • Table of Cases xix
  • A Note on Documentation xxxiii
  • Abbreviations xxxv
  • 1 - Introduction 1
  • 2 - The Rise of International Organizations 16
  • 3 - The Legal Position of International Organizations 42
  • 4 - The Foundations of Powers of Organizations 60
  • 5 - International Organizations and the Law of Treaties 82
  • 6 - Issues of Membership 104
  • 7 - Financing 128
  • 8 - Privileges and Immunities 146
  • 9 - Institutional Structures 169
  • 10 - Legal Instruments 197
  • 11 - Decision-Making and Judicial Review 226
  • 12 - Dispute Settlement 253
  • 13 - Treaty-Making by International Organizations 278
  • 14 - Issues of Responsibility 300
  • 15 - Dissolution and Succession 320
  • 16 - Concluding Remarks- Re-Appraising International Organizations 334
  • Bibliography 345
  • Index 373
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