Interpretation of Jurisdictional Instruments in International Dispute Settlement

in The Law & Practice of International Courts and Tribunals
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Abstract

The field of international judicial jurisdiction constantly witnesses the presence of interpretative argument and consent-based argument. The principle of consent is sometimes presented as the crucial factor in interpreting the instruments conferring jurisdiction to international tribunals. This contribution examines the relevant practice from the times of the Permanent Court of International Justice to the present, and demonstrates that although the jurisdiction of international tribunals is based on consent, the relevance of consent ceases once the relevant tribunal engages in interpreting the actual instrument interpreting jurisdiction. In this area, the normal principles of interpretation applicable to treaties determine the outcome. The reference to consensual principle has no autonomous relevance to determine or upset the outcomes in this process.

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