State Consent to International Jurisdiction: Conferral, Modification and Termination

About the project

An international legal system to resolve disputes cannot be imposed ‘top-down’ because all depends on whether States are willing to give an 'external force', such as an international court or tribunal, the power to judge whether they have complied with their obligations. In legal terms, the question is one of 'State consent to international jurisdiction'. After the rise in the creation of new international courts in recent decades, States are now restricting the scope of their consent or even withdrawing it altogether due to allegations that courts are unduly limiting State sovereignty.

State consent to jurisdiction serves as a barometer indicating fluctuations in State support for the international legal system. For example, in October 2017, Burundi withdrew from the International Criminal Court (ICC), raising concerns about the effects on the ongoing ICC investigation into allegations of severe human rights abuses in Burundi. In February 2017, the UK modified the conditions under which it accepts the jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice (ICJ), which seems aimed at evading disputes regarding its compliance with the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.

The fundamental tension examined in this project is that, on the one hand, States wish to have ‘manoeuvring space’ by maintaining the possibility to avoid being sued before an international court, while on the other hand, they wish to restrict the behaviour of other States by ensuring that international rules are enforced through a well-functioning court system.

This project fulfils the need for an up-to-date analysis of how international law accommodates this fundamental tension by regulating when, how and with which legal consequences States confer, modify or terminate their consent to the jurisdiction of an international court or tribunal. In turn, this enables the identification of systematic policy patterns and strategies to improve State accountability at the international Level.

Read the research plan (pdf).

Objectives

The fundamental dichotomy underlying this project is that States wish to maintain the possibility of retreat from the international dispute settlement process while restricting the scope of unpredictable behaviour of other States by enforcing international law through the establishment of international courts. The primary objective is to explore this dichotomy through providing an up-to-date detailed analysis of the international law regulating States' ability to confer, modify or terminate consent to jurisdiction of such courts and tribunals.

Secondary objectives include:

  • constructing a database of documents through which States have conferred, modified or withdrawn consent to jurisdiction;
  • empirically analysing these documents to examine how international law enables States to tailor their consent;
  • identifying systematic policy patterns in States' conferral, modification or termination of consent; assessing how international law accommodates or restricts these patterns.

Methods and outcomes

Empirical analysis of a purpose-built database of consent-related documents will allow this project to fulfil the urgent need for an up-to-date detailed analysis of the international law regulating when, how and with which consequences States can confer, modify or terminate consent to jurisdiction. In turn, this will enable the identification of systematic policy patterns.

Sub-projects

Background

The project will run for a four-year period in 2018-2022, and is hosted by PluriCourts - Norwegian Centre of Excellence for the Study of the Legitimacy of the Global Judiciary.

Financing

Research Council of Norway, project number 274946.

Publications

  • Baetens, Freya (2021). CETA Article 8.21: Consultations. In Bungenberg, Marc & Reinisch, August (Ed.), CETA: A Commentary . Nomos. ISSN 9781509934676. p. 461–478.
  • Baetens, Freya & Lavista, Veronica (2021). Where is your tribunal? Bernard Loder (1849-1935) and the quest for international justice. In Morris, P Sean (Eds.), The League of Nations and the Development of International Law: A New Intellectual History of the Advisory Committee of Jurists . Routledge. ISSN 9780367897536. p. 195–217.
  • Nussberger, Angelika & Baetens, Freya (2020). Diversity on the Bench of the European Court of Human Rights: A Clash of Paradigms. In Baetens, Freya (Eds.), Identity and Diversity on the International Bench: Who is the Judge?. Oxford University Press. ISSN 9780198870753. p. 479–493.
  • Baetens, Freya (2020). Identity and diversity on the international bench: implications for the legitimacy of international adjudication. In Baetens, Freya (Eds.), Identity and Diversity on the International Bench: Who is the Judge?. Oxford University Press. ISSN 9780198870753. p. 1–26.
  • Baetens, Freya (2020). Introductory note to Jadhav case (India v. Pakistan) (ICJ). International legal Materials. ISSN 1930-6571. 59(2), p. 187–190. doi: 10.1017/ilm.2020.12.
  • Strain, Nicola Claire (2019). Regulating Collective Resources under Multilateral Treaties: The Decision in Whaling in the Antarctic (Australia v Japan). Melbourne Journal of International Law. ISSN 1444-8602. 20(2), p. 572–597.
  • Brandon, Emma Hynes (2019). Grave breaches and justifications: The war crime of forcible transfer or deportation of civilians and the exception for evacuations for imperative military reasons. Oslo Law Review. ISSN 2387-3299. 6(2), p. 107–124. doi: 10.18261/issn.2387-3299-2019-02-03. Full text in Research Archive
  • Baetens, Freya (2019). Combating climate change through the promotion of green investment: from Kyoto to Paris without regime-specific dispute settlement. In Miles, Kate (Eds.), Research Handbook on Environment and Investment Law. Edward Elgar Publishing. ISSN 978 1 78471 462 8. p. 107–130. doi: 10.4337/9781784714635.00010.
  • Baetens, Freya (2019). First to rise and first to fall: the Court of Cartago (1907-1918). In de la Rasilla, Ignacio & Viñuales, Jorge E. (Ed.), Experiments in International Adjudication: Historical Accounts . Cambridge University Press. ISSN 9781108565967. p. 211–239. doi: 10.1017/9781108565967.011.
  • Baetens, Freya (2019). Unseen actors in international courts and tribunals: challenging the legitimacy of international adjudication. In Baetens, Freya (Eds.), Legitimacy of Unseen Actors in International Adjudication. Cambridge University Press. ISSN 9781108641685. p. 1–28. doi: 10.1017/9781108641685.001.
  • Baetens, Freya (2019). Invoking human rights: A useful line of attack or a defence tool for States in investor-State dispute settlement? In Scheinin, Martin (Eds.), Human Rights Norms in ‘Other' International Courts. Cambridge University Press. ISSN 9781108499736. p. 227–262. doi: 10.1017/9781108584623.008.

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  • Baetens, Freya (2020). Identity and Diversity on the International Bench: Who is the Judge? Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780198870753. 592 p.
  • Baetens, Freya (2019). Legitimacy of Unseen Actors in International Adjudication. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9781108641685. 496 p.

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  • Strain, Nicola Claire (2021). Shai Dothan, International Judicial Review: When Should International Courts Intervene? Leiden Journal of International Law. ISSN 0922-1565. 34(1), p. 271–274. doi: 10.1017/S0922156520000576.
  • Baetens, Freya (2021). Must the age of the individual end? The push for collective rights in international lawmaking.
  • Baetens, Freya (2021). Attribution of Conduct of State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) to States:
New Prominence, New (Interpretation of) Rules?
  • Baetens, Freya (2021). Lifting the Corporate Veil between China and its State-Owned Enterprises.
  • Baetens, Freya (2021). State consent to jurisdiction under international investment agreements: pick and choose?
  • Baetens, Freya (2021). CBAM: reconciling EU climate ambitions with competitiveness.
  • Baetens, Freya & Bismuth, Régis (2021). Face à Face: Interview with Angelika Nussberger – Professor and Former Judge and Vice-President of the European Court of Human Rights. The Law & Practice of International Courts and Tribunals. ISSN 1569-1853. p. 225–233.
  • Baetens, Freya (2021). Public health rights vs international trade rules: how to resolve the tension’.
  • Baetens, Freya (2021). Structural Reform or Marginal Adjustment? Improving Nomination and Election Procedures to the International Bench.
  • Baetens, Freya (2021). Judges’ identity and diversity: differences between domestic and international adjudication.
  • Baetens, Freya (2021). Evaluating compromissory clauses: “Matters provided in treaties and conventions in force”.
  • Baetens, Freya (2021). Attribution of Conduct of State-Owned Enterprises to States: New Prominence, New Rules?
  • Baetens, Freya (2021). International Courts: Legitimacy, Perception and Outcomes.
  • Baetens, Freya (2021). Sustainable Investment: Mobilising Legal and Institutional Reform for Investment and Long-Term Sustainable Development.
  • Baetens, Freya (2021). Better or worse: comparing the new model BITs of India, Colombia, the Czech Republic, and the Netherlands with their respective predecessors or older treaties?
  • Baetens, Freya (2021). Mind the gap – Geographical Diversity between East and West in International Arbitration.
  • Baetens, Freya (2021). China and International Investment Law – An Emerging Rule-Maker?
  • Strain, Nicola Claire (2021). Invoking Systemic Ideals or Legal Rules? How International Economic Tribunals Approach Systemic Integration and Jurisdiction. völkerrechtsblog. ISSN 2510-2567. doi: 10.17176/20210901-112603-0.
  • Baetens, Freya (2020). Evaluating Compromissory Clauses Submitting Disputes to ICJ Jurisdiction: ‘Matters Provided in Treaties and Conventions in Force’ .
  • Baetens, Freya & Bismuth, Régis (2020). Face à Face: Interview with Giorgio Sacerdoti – Professor, Arbitrator and Former Member and President of the WTO Appellate Body. The Law & Practice of International Courts and Tribunals. ISSN 1569-1853. 19(3), p. 351–364.
  • Baetens, Freya (2020). State consent to jurisdiction under UNCLOS: divide and adjudicate?
  • Baetens, Freya (2020). COVID-19 Defences against International Trade Law Claims.
  • Baetens, Freya & Bismuth, Régis (2020). Editorial. The Law & Practice of International Courts and Tribunals. ISSN 1569-1853. p. 3–4.
  • Baetens, Freya & Bismuth, Régis (2020). Face à Face: Interview with Paolina Massidda – Principal Counsel of the Independent Office of the Public Counsel for Victims at the International Criminal Court. The Law & Practice of International Courts and Tribunals. ISSN 1569-1853. 19(2), p. 135–143.
  • Strain, Nicola Claire (2020). Confusion and Uncertainty in Procedure: The Forgotten Problem of Jurisdiction and Applicable Law in International Economic Disputes.
  • Strain, Nicola Claire (2020). Assessing emergencies before investor-state arbitral tribunals: BITs fit for purpose to address global health pandemics?
  • Baetens, Freya (2020). Working with authors: Second International Law Review Editors Roundtable.
  • Baetens, Freya (2020). Regionalism, Universalism and State Consent: Custom and the International Court of Justice.
  • Baetens, Freya (2020). Between Universalism and State Consent: Regional Customary International Law before the ICJ.
  • Baetens, Freya (2020). Regional integration organisations and dispute settlement (intensive lecture series).
  • Baetens, Freya (2019). Ejusdem Generis and Noscitur a Sociis. In Klingler, Joseph; Parkhomenko, Yuri & Salonidis, Constantinos (Ed.), Between the Lines of the Vienna Convention? Canons and Other Principles of Interpretation in Public International Law . Wolters Kluwer. ISSN 9789041184030. p. 133–160.
  • Baetens, Freya (2019). ‘UNCLOS: a tool for regional peace, stability and sustainable use of resources?’.
  • Baetens, Freya (2019). ‘Human rights norms before specialised courts and tribunals: WTO, ISDS, CJEU, African regional courts and ITLOS’.
  • Baetens, Freya & Bodeau-Livinec, Pierre (2019). Face à Face: Interview with ICJ President Yusuf – President of the International Court of Justice. The Law & Practice of International Courts and Tribunals. ISSN 1569-1853. 18(3), p. 267–278.
  • Baetens, Freya; Paparinskis, Martins; Mitrev-Penusliski, Ilija & Gaffney, John (2019). Modernisation of the Energy Charter Treaty (ECT), Special Issue. Transnational Dispute Management. ISSN 1875-4120.
  • Brandon, Emma Hynes (2019). Holding Signatories to Account: Applying interim obligations under Article 18 of the VCLT to states in the process of ratifying the Rome Statute.
  • Baetens, Freya (2019). State consent to the jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice: modify or perish.
  • Baetens, Freya (2019). High-jacking anticipated, prevented and overcome: how to safeguard the WTO appellate system - and beyond.
  • Strain, Nicola Claire (2019). The Murky Waters of Jurisdiction and Applicable Law in International Economic Disputes.
  • Strain, Nicola Claire (2019). The Murky Waters of Jurisdiction and Applicable Law in International Economic Disputes.
  • Baetens, Freya (2017). Blogpost: ‘Increasing importance of the transitory mechanism regulating EU Member States’ BITs with third countries: good intentions but problematic implementation?’, http://regulatingforglobalization.com/ (21 Dec. 2017).

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Tags: ICJ, Trade, Investment, Human Rights, Criminal law
Published Dec. 7, 2017 12:37 PM - Last modified Oct. 16, 2020 10:37 AM