Accountability in the Global Business Environment
Corporations, Globalisation and the Law series
Chapter 9: The International Court of Justice as a Global Court of Appeal
In a presentation to the Proceedings of the ICJ/UNITAR Colloquium to Celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the ICJ, Dr Malgosia Fitzmaurice, a prominent international law scholar, identified a need for a system where cases within specialized fields of international law are heard in special courts. Dr Fizmaurice presents a vision of an international legal system where such specialized courts would ‘exist within a single, or at least linked, system of international courts, within which the ICJ would maintain an appellate position, enabling it to guide the unified development of general rules of international law’.1 For example, the Convention establishing the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID)2 – a forum to which TNCs already have access – could be amended so that appeals from ICSID first-instance decisions could be taken to the ICJ in appropriate cases raising questions of unresolved international law. The benefits of providing for the ICJ to act as a single court of appeal are most obvious in the area of environmental law. It is in this area more than any other that a more unified jurisprudence is needed. Yet similar benefits in the development of other areas of international law jurisprudence are also available. Nor is it a radical new idea to suggest that the ICJ should be able to act as a global court of appeal (in appropriate cases) from decisions made by decentralized international law tribunals. Dr Fitzmaurice, speaking in 1995, envisaged a time when organizations, including non-government organisations and even private organizations could...
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