The Elgar Companion to the International Court of Justice

The Elgar Companion to the International Court of Justice

Elgar Companions to International Courts and Tribunals series

Robert Kolb

The first in a series of Companions that offer broad coverage of a range of international courts and tribunals, The Elgar Companion to the International Court of Justice is a one-stop reference for those wishing to understand this highly significant and successful court.

Chapter 2: From the Permanent Court of International Justice to the International Court of Justice

Robert Kolb

Subjects: law - academic, public international law, politics and public policy, international politics


After the Second World War, the question arose as to which course to steer with regard to the Permanent Court of International Justice (PCIJ): should it be kept alive and continue to operate or should it be dissolved and replaced by a new Court? This question could not be considered in isolation: it depended on a question to which it was closely linked. The PCIJ was closely connected with the League of Nations: it was created under its auspices, it reported its work to organs of the League and was financed by the League. However, it was not itself formally an organ of the League as it was intended to enjoy full independence. Its seat in The Hague, distanced from Geneva, was located there to illustrate this complex dichotomy of connection and separation. The decision was eventually taken to dissolve the old Court and create a new one, for the following reasons: It was decided to dissolve the League of Nations, and it would appear odd to retain only one of its institutions, the PCIJ. Even if this had been the intention, difficult questions would have followed over the revision of the Statute of the PCIJ (see below). The decision to dissolve the League thus resulted in the further decision to dissolve the PCIJ.

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