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 8: The Registry

Robert Kolb

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


Like any other body, a court of justice needs an administrative infrastructure and a service to carry out any action that needs to be taken on behalf of the Court as a whole. In the case of the ICJ, this body is the Registry (or Greffe), headed by the Registrar (Greffier). The Statute says relatively little on this subject; it merely empowers the Court to deal with it. Article 21, §_2, of the Statute simply provides: ‘The Court shall appoint its Registrar and may provide for the appointment of such other officers as may be necessary.’ Articles 22–29 of the Rules set out the functions of the Registry in great detail. The Court, following proposals from the Registrar, decides the way in which the Registry is to be organized. Its powers and responsibilities are set out in instructions drawn up by the Registrar and approved by the Court. The Registrar is elected for a seven-year term. He or she (although so far there has not been a woman in the position) may then be re-elected. The election takes place, by secret ballot, from a list of candidates proposed by members of the Court. So far these elections have not posed any major problem.

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