Research Handbook on International Water Law
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Research Handbook on International Water Law

Edited by Stephen C. McCaffrey, Christina Leb and Riley T. Denoon

The Research Handbook on International Water Law surveys the field of the law of shared freshwater resources. In some thirty chapters, it covers subjects ranging from the general principles operative in the field and international groundwater law to the human right to water and whether international water law is prepared to cope with climate disruption. The authors are internationally recognized experts in the field, most with years of experience. The Research Handbook is edited by three scholars and practitioners whose publications and work deal with the law of international watercourses.
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Chapter 17: The Permanent Court of International Justice, The International Court of Justice and international water law: versatility in consistency

Laurence Boisson de Chazournes


This chapter appraises the role that the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and the Permanent Court of International Justice (PCIJ) have played in developing international water law. Cases involving water that have come before these courts have had many different dimensions and touched upon a wide variety of issues, from those of a social or ecological nature to those with economic implications. This has required a versatile and consistent response. In this endeavour, these courts have had a significant hand in crafting and elaborating cornerstone principles across the international legal framework applicable to water, including but not limited to such concepts as community of interests, environmental harm, freedom of navigation and boundary delimitation. Both the ICJ and PCIJ have helped to map this emerging area of law, showing the way for other actors that have to navigate international disputes involving water.

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