International Law Without International Courts


Thursday, December 16, 1:00 - 4:30pm Eastern Time
Friday, December 17, 9:00am - 12:30pm Eastern Time

Program (pdf)

"There can be no international law without a court to apply it." This was how Judge Abdulqawi Yusuf of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) closed a portion of his remarks to the American Society of International Law on March 26, 2021, reflecting on the establishment of the Permanent Court of International Justice.

The "International Law without International Courts" symposium will probe that assertion. From Hugo Grotius' work in the 1600s through the early 20th century, there were no permanent international courts. The application and enforcement of international law during this period took a variety of forms, ranging from mediation and arbitration to armed conflict. The expansion of international law in the 20th century was accompanied by a proliferation of international courts and tribunals across subject matters and regions, and much scholarly focus is rightfully placed on these institutions. States nonetheless continue to resolve disputes, including claims arising under international law, in a variety of manners outside of formal international courts and tribunals.

As we think about the continued expansion and reform of permanent international courts and tribunals, we should consider not only how these institutions apply international law, but also how the application and enforcement of international law operate outside of international courts and tribunals. 

This session is organized by ASIL's International Courts and Tribunals Interest Group.

Date and Location

Thursday, December 16, 2021 - 1:00pm to Friday, December 17, 2021 - 12:30pm