State Consent: Team presentations during the PluriCourts Annual Conference
Freya Baetens, Nicola Strain and Emma Brandon presented updates on their research at the PluriCourts annual conference on 24 to 25 June.
Freya Baetens examined the different mechanisms under which States have consented to international jurisdiction in the context of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). After discussing the UNCLOS drafting history in which compromising was taken to the next level, she analysed Part XV or UNCLOS as a 'smörgåsbord' of adjudicatory options. She demonstrated how States' negotiating positions form a reflection of wider international divergences and constructed a typology of declarations submitted in the framework of Article 287 UNCLOS. Moving on to the practice under UNCLOS, she analysed the motivation of States' forum choices as well as their use of exceptions, followed by concluding remarks on the more systemic character of consent to UNCLOS adjudication.
Nicola Strain presented an update on her PhD research on comparing consent to jurisdiction in the WTO and investor-state dispute settlement systems. Following on from her midway assessment on the first stage of her research on the role of jurisdiction and applicable law, Nicola presented the second stage of the research: the techniques employed by the tribunals to enable or sideline other public international law. The presentation focused on one particular interpretative technique considered to help reduce fragmentation in international law, namely the use of systemic interpretation through Article 31(3)(c) of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties. From over 700 WTO and ISDS cases analysed to date, the presentation depicted preliminary results of the type of laws referred to and responses from tribunals on the use of this interpretative technique.
On 25 June 2020, Emma Brandon virtually presented an update on her research at the PluriCourts Annual Conference 2020. Her presentation focused on whether and to what extent membership in the Convention for the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide can create obligations for states to cooperate with the three regional human rights tribunals, even for states that are not parties to the tribunals. All team members received positive, constructive, and thoughtful feedback from the PluriCourts community.