Compulsory Jurisdiction in International Law

Compulsory Jurisdiction in International Law

Vanda Lamm

The Statute of the Permanent Court of International Justice by the provisions of the optional clause has introduced a system of partial obligatory international adjudication based on the full observance of the voluntary acceptance of the court’s jurisdiction. This timely book offers a wide-ranging survey of the development of the optional clause system, the theoretical and procedural aspects of unilateral declarations of acceptance, and the different reservations added to these declarations. It also seeks to find solutions to the improvement of the system.

Chapter 2: The legislative history of the optional clause and its conception

Vanda Lamm

Subjects: law - academic, constitutional and administrative law, public international law


Even before the end of World War I, negotiations between states started on the post-war political landscape, and it was already decided in those days to set up an international organization. The different conceptions included the idea that there should be an international court of justice created to decide interstate disputes within the framework of the international organization that was to be established. The related plans of more detail had not yet been drawn up, and the first proposals submitted to the Paris Peace Conference touched marginally on the question of an international court, generally in connection with the pacific settlement of disputes. So far as we know, the establishment of a permanent ‘judicial body’ was first brought up in the British draft of 20 January 1919, but no concrete proposal concerning the court to be set up was contained in that document either. The resolution adopted at the 25 January 1919 plenary session of the Preliminary Peace Conference, approving the principle of the League of Nations, made no reference to a court, but decided to establish, for the study of the constitution of the League of Nations, a commission to be composed of fifteen members, with the five great powers (British Empire, France, Italy, Japan and United States of America) respectively represented by two members each and five members elected to represent all the powers with special interest.

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