The U.S. and International Courts and Tribunals: A historical approach to the current dilemma

The Society's 114th Annual Meeting—and first Virtual Annual Meeting—took place June 25–26, 2020. The 2020 Annual Meeting theme, "The Promise of International Law," was an opportunity to reflect on the successes and failures of international law, while reaffirming our commitment to achieving its promise of a more just and peaceful world.

Sponsored by Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle LLP--Organized by the International Courts and Tribunals Interest Group

The United States has historically been at the vanguard of international dispute resolution, from the Jay Treaty through the countless cases of diplomatic protection, the Alabama Claims, the U.S.-Mexico Claims Commission, the Venuezuela bond arbitration, and many others. The panel will look at a sample of those cases from the 19th and 20th centuries to examine how States (including the United States) have changed their approaches to international courts and tribunals in the 21st century. The panel will address how the procedure and structures of earlier systems influenced States’ engagement with international courts and tribunals. The panel will further examine the political conditions bearing on international adjudication, both domestically and internationally, that existed at the time of the earlier cases, how those conditions compare to the current domestic and international atmosphere, and how those conditions affect States’ engagement with international courts and tribunals. In the process, the panel will address the questions: has the promise of international law, laid out in previous centuries as it relates to international adjudication, been fulfilled? What lessons can be drawn from earlier approaches, as we determine how that promise will fare in the future?

David Bigge, U.S. Department of State (Moderator)
Amalia D. Kessler, Stanford University
Harold Hongju Koh, Yale Law School
Natalie L. Reid, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP
Jennifer Thornton, Arent Fox LLP
(Speaker organizations are shown as of June 2020)