ILA Committee on the Procedure of International Courts and Tribunals

On 7 May 2016, the Executive Council of the International Law Association (ILA) has established a new International Committee entitled “Procedure of International Courts and Tribunals” upon the proposal of Prof. Hélène Ruiz Fabri, who will co-chair it together with Professor Philippe Sands (University College London, UK) and Professor Shotaro Hamamoto (University of Tokyo, Japan). The Co-Rapporteurs within this new Committee are Dr Arman Savarian (University of Surrey, UK) and Dr. Fillipo Fontanelli (University of Edinburgh, UK).

We are witnessing a period of considerable growth of the reach and importance of international courts and tribunals and arbitration mechanisms. It is thus unsurprising that there has been reduced time and opportunity for the institutions to examine procedural reform in a holistic fashion, with the exception of the EU’s recent effort to establish a permanent investment court that would replace ad hoc investment arbitral tribunals. Whereas individual panels devise ad hoc solutions to immediate problems, these do not necessarily provide structural answers for the long term.

The topic – and the Committee’s activity – are oriented towards the practice of law. The mission is to put forward pragmatic solutions to selected problems. Although certain questions of theory (e.g. – the role of the sovereignty of States in the realm of procedure) may arise in the course of its mandate, the focus of the Committee will remain on the practical implications for the managing of proceedings in international courts and tribunals, taking advantage of a comparative approach to similar issues. It will consequently employ a combination of empirical, doctrinal and normative methods to collate material on procedural issues, identify general principles of law common to international courts and tribunals in the field of procedure and examine the case for procedural reform.

At the end, the Committee aims to propose a package of reforms, mindful of the overarching theoretical assumptions but tailored to the individual circumstances of each international court and tribunal. Alongside the specific needs of each jurisdiction, identified with the support of empirical evidence and expert analysis, the Committee will be continuously mindful of the institutional context and the practical viability of any reform considered for proposal.

More information about the ILA International Committee is available on the ILA's website.