Settlement of International Disputes


Judicial Settlement of International Disputes | Research Guide International Law

Disputes are inextricably linked to international relations. Increasingly these disputes are no longer just primarily between states but also between states and other parties like international organizations and other non-state actors, and between these actors mutually. In this context the Charter of the United Nations (UN) plays a major role, in particular, regarding disputes between states. Article 2(3) of the UN Charter states that all Member States have to settle their international disputes by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security, and justice, are not endangered. This view was again confirmed in 1982 in a resolution (Res. 37/10) of the UN General Assembly, the so-called Manila Declaration on the Peaceful Settlement of International Disputes.

As the UN Charter does not prescribe in which way or by what means disputes need to be resolved, the parties are free to choose their dispute settlement mechanism. In the framework of international peace and security Article 33 of the UN Charter provides a number of alternatives to choose from in resolving disputes, e.g., negotiation, enquiry, mediation, conciliation, arbitration, and judicial settlement. Notwithstanding the free choice of means the Manila Declaration underlines the legal obligation of parties to find a peaceful solution to their dispute and refrain from action that might aggravate the situation. The methods and procedures of dispute settlement for states also largely apply to non-state actors. These various forms of peaceful dispute settlement are the subject of this general research guide. In addition, there are research guides available on International (Commercial) Arbitration, the Permanent Court of Arbitration, and the International Court of Justice. Information and resources on disputes concerning foreign investment and investment arbitration can be found in the research guide on Foreign Direct Investment.

This Research Guide provides a starting point for research on International Dispute Settlement. It contains open access publications and legal materials available in the Peace Palace Library, both in print and electronic format. Books, articles, bibliographies, periodicals, serial publications and documents of interest are presented in the Selective Bibliography section including links to the PPL Catalogue when available. Special attention is given to our subscriptions on databases, e-journals, e-books and other electronic resources. Finally, this Research Guide features links to relevant websites and other online resources of particular interest.


Reference works




  • Caserta, S., and M. Madsen, “Sociology of International Adjudication” (June 4, 2019), iCourts Working Paper Series No. 160, 2019. [PDF]
  • Seibert-Fohr, A., “The Independence of Judges and their Freedom of Expression: An Ambivalent Relationship” (April 19, 2019). [PDF]


2017 and before


Periodicals, serial publications


New titles

The Peace Palace Library has a collection of over a million publications. Each week, about six hundred new titles are added to our collection: books, articles, documents, online publications, etc. On this page, access is provided to this week’s new titles on Settlement of international disputes. It covers both means, procedures and activities.

As we are right in the middle of moving to a new library system, it is not yet possible to automatically collect new titles for this Research Guide.

Librarian's choice

  • Rasilla, I. de la, and J.E. Viñuales (eds.), Experiments in International Adjudication: Historical Accounts, Cambridge, Cambidge University Press, 2019.

    Rasilla, I. de la, and J.E. Viñuales (eds.), Experiments in International Adjudication: Historical Accounts, Cambridge, Cambidge University Press, 2019.

    The history of international adjudication is all too often presented as a triumphalist narrative of normative and institutional progress that casts aside its uncomfortable memories, its darker legacies and its historical failures. In this narrative, the bulk of 'trials' and 'errors' is left in the dark, confined to oblivion or left for erudition to recall as a curiosity. Written by an interdisciplinary group of lawyers, historians and social scientists, this volume relies on the rich and largely unexplored archive of institutional and legal experimentation since the late nineteenth century to shed new light on the history of international adjudication. It combines contextual accounts of failed, or aborted, as well as of 'successful' experiments to clarify our understanding of the past and present of international adjudication.

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  • Wind, M. (ed.), International Courts and Domestic Politics, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2018. [e-book]

    Wind, M. (ed.), International Courts and Domestic Politics, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2018. [e-book]

    Most studies describing the evolution of international courts (ICs) have either drawn on classical legalistic approaches or been developed by constitutionalists. What has unified both strands of research is the often implicit description of a universal and unidirectional strengthening of legalization and judicialization in global affairs. The present volume puts the question in a different way. It does not from the outset normatively assume that ICs are important and powerful actors or that national actors without further ado cite, embrace or enter into a constructive dialogue with these supranational bodies. Rather what this book does is to ask - from a multidisciplinary perspective - how and to what degree do ICs actually influence, impose constraints on and create loyalty from those actors involved? It is our claim that rather little research has been occupied with the actual effects on the ground for those national courts, political institutions and citizens who are formally governed by the increased judicialization. International law in national courts, and among politicians and citizens, does not always have the desired effect at the domestic level. This volume is a genuinely interdisciplinary analysis of international law and courts, examining a wide range of courts and judicial bodies, including human rights treaty bodies, and their impact and shortcomings. By employing social science methodology combined with classical case studies, leading lawyers and political scientists move the study of courts within international law to an entirely new level. The essays question the view that legal dogmatics will be enough to understand the increasingly complex world we are living in and demonstrate the potential benefits of adopting a much broader outlook drawing on empirical legal research.

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  • Follesdal, A., and G. Ulfstein (eds.), The Judicialization of International Law : A Mixed Blessing?, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2018.

    Follesdal, A., and G. Ulfstein (eds.), “The Judicialization of International Law : A Mixed Blessing?”, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2018.

    The influence of international courts is ubiquitous, covering areas from the law of the sea to international criminal law. This judicialization of international law is often lauded for bringing effective global governance, upholding the rule of law, and protecting the right of individuals. Yet at what point does the omnipresence of the international judiciary shackle national sovereign freedom? And can the lack of political accountability be justified? The editors bring together the creme de la creme of the legal academic world to ask the big questions for the international judiciary: whether they are there for mere dispute settlement or to set precedent, and how far they can enforce international obligations without impacting on democratic self-determination.

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  • Alter, K.J. (et al.) (eds.), International Court Authority, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2018. [e-book]

    Alter, K.J. (et al.) (eds.), International Court Authority, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2018.

    An innovative, interdisciplinary and far-reaching examination of the actual reality of international courts, International Court Authority challenges fundamental preconceptions about when, why, and how international courts become important and authoritative actors in national, regional, and international politics. A stellar group of scholars investigate the challenges that international courts face in transforming the formal legal authority conferred by states into an actual authority in fact that is respected by potential litigants, national actors, legal communities, and publics. The book provides a novel framework for conceptualizing international court authority that focuses on the reactions and practices of these key audiences. Eighteen scholars from the disciplines of law, political science and sociology apply this framework to study thirteen international courts operating in Africa, Latin America, and Europe, as well as on a global level. Together the contributors document and explore important and interesting variations in whether the audiences that interact with international courts around the world embrace or reject the rulings of these judicial institutions.

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  • Wiik, A., Amicus Curiae Before International Courts and Tribunals, Baden-Baden, Nomos, 2018.

    Wiik, A., Amicus Curiae Before International Courts and Tribunals, Baden-Baden, Nomos, 2018.

    Amicus curiae participation in international courts and investment arbitration tribunals is increasing despite lack of clarity on the concept's nature, function and added value in international dispute settlement. The book examines the laws and practices of amicus curiae to assess the concept's status quo, and to determine if it meets the many expectations. Does it infuse proceedings with alternative views and the public interest? Does it increase the legitimacy and transparency of international dispute settlement, or the coherence of international law? Or does it derail the proceedings at the expense of the parties to advance its agenda? The book argues that neither the expectations nor the concerns attached to amicus curiae have materialized. It shows a hesitation by courts with a strong adversarial tradition to consider the views of non-parties, and argues that amicus curiae is not the best vehicle to present a public interest or increase legitimacy. However, it can improve judicial decisions and decision-making if regulated and used properly.

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  • Howse, R. (et al.) (eds.), The Legitimacy of International Trade Courts and Tribunals, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2018. [e-book]

    Howse, R. (et al.) (eds.),The Legitimacy of International Trade Courts and Tribunals, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2018. [e-book]

    The recent rise of international trade courts and tribunals deserves systemic study and in-depth analysis. This volume gathers contributions from experts specialised in different regional adjudicators of trade disputes and scrutinises their operations in the light of the often-debated legitimacy issues. It not only looks into prominent adjudicators that have played a significant role for global and regional integration; it also encloses the newly established and/or less-known judicial actors. Critical topics covered range from procedures and legal techniques during the adjudication process to the pre- and post-adjudication matters in relation to forum selection and decision implementation. The volume features cross-cutting interdisciplinary discussions among academics and practitioners, lawyers, philosophers and political scientists. In addition to fulfilling the research vacuum, it aims to address the challenges and opportunities faced in international trade adjudication.

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  • Squatrito, T. (et al.) (eds.), The Performance of International Courts and Tribunals, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2018. [e-book]

    Squatrito, T. (et al.) (eds.), The Performance of International Courts and Tribunals, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2018

    International courts and tribunals now operate globally and in several world regions, playing significant roles in international law and global governance. However, these courts vary significantly in terms of their practices, procedures, and the outcomes they produce. Why do some international courts perform better than others? Which factors affect the outcome of these courts and tribunals? The Performance of International Courts and Tribunals is an interdisciplinary study featuring approaches, methods and authorship from law and political science, which proposes the concept of performance to describe the processes and outcomes of international courts. It develops a framework for evaluating and explaining performance by offering a broad comparative analysis of international courts, covering several world regions and the areas of trade, investment, the environment, human rights and criminal law, and offers interdisciplinary accounts to explain how and why international court performance varies.


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  • Grossman, N. (et al.) (eds.), Legitimacy and International Courts, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2018. [e-book]

    Grossman, N. (et al.) (eds.), Legitimacy and International Courts, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2018.

    One of the most noted developments in international law over the past twenty years is the proliferation of international courts and tribunals. They decide who has the right to exploit natural resources, define the scope of human rights, delimit international boundaries and determine when the use of force is prohibited. As the number and influence of international courts grow, so too do challenges to their legitimacy. This volume provides new interdisciplinary insights into international courts' legitimacy: what drives and undermines the legitimacy of these bodies? How do drivers change depending on the court concerned? What is the link between legitimacy, democracy, effectiveness and justice? Top international experts analyse legitimacy for specific international courts, as well as the links between legitimacy and cross-cutting themes. Failure to understand and respond to legitimacy concerns can endanger both the courts and the law they interpret and apply.

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  • Book Review: War, Peace and International Order?

    This book attempts to assess the history and on-going relevance of the 1899 and 1907 Hague peace conferences, the conventions they brought into being, the institutions they established and the precedents they set. The exact legacies of the two conferences remain unclear. On the one hand, diplomatic and military historians, who cast their gaze to 1914, traditionally dismiss the events of 1899 and 1907 as insignificant footnotes on the path to the First World War. On the other, experts in international law posit that The Hague’s foremost legacy lies in the manner in which the conferences progressed the law of war and the concept and application of international justice.

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  • Essequibo, the Territorial Dispute between Venezuela and Guyana

    The Essequibo (in Spanish, Esequibo), is an undeveloped, sparsely populated but resource-rich jungle territory region, nearly sixty percent of modern Guyana, consisting of all its territory west of the Essequibo River (see map). Venezuela’s deeply rooted belief is that the Essequibo region was unjustly taken from them by meddling foreign powers. It is a matter of national integrity, made more alluring by the possible wealth of natural resources there. Guyana’s position is that they are trying to defend the land that has been part of their country for almost 200 years, land they need to help develop their country economically.

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  • Building a 'Temple for Peace': the Choice of the Site

    The Treaty for the Pacific Settlement of International Disputes, concluded on 29 July 1899, determined that the newly created Permanent Court of Arbitration was to be established at The Hague. As Andrew Carnegie’s gift of 1903 was meant primarily for the erection of a new and appealing court house and library to serve its arbiters, there could be no argument, as to where this ‘Temple for Peace’ was to be built. It should be at The Hague. But where in The Hague precisely was quite another thing.

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  • Bolivia’s Centenarian Maritime Claim before the International Court of Justice

    Despite losing its maritime coast, the so-called Littoral Department, after the War of the Pacific, Bolivia has historically maintained, as a state policy, a maritime claim to Chile. The claim asks for sovereign access to the Pacific Ocean and its maritime space. The Political Constitution of 2009 established that Bolivia declares its right to access to the sea, and that its objective is to solve the problem peacefully. Therefore, on 24 April 2013, Bolivia instituted proceedings against Chile before the International Court of Justice. A guest blog by Elizabeth Santalla Vargas.

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  • Building a ‘Temple for Peace’: Inspired Advocates and a Philanthropist

    Shortly after the 1899 Hague Peace Conference had ended, William T. Stead, a highly energetic and respected British journalist and pacifist who had followed the peace conference as an observer, and Andrew D. White, the American head of delegation and ambassador in Germany, convinced the Scottish-born American steel magnate and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie to finance the ‘Temple for Peace’ that was to become the Peace Palace in The Hague.

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  • ARGO and the Follow-Up: Iran and the United States

    33 Years after the event, Hollywood has turned its attention to an episode that traumatized the United States for months: the seizure of the American Embassy in Tehran. As the US Embassy falls to a group of Islamist students and militants in support of the Iranian revolution and in retaliation for the USA’s sheltering of the recently deposed Shah, six diplomats slip out and seek sanctuary in the Canadian’s ambassador’s residence. It is up to the CIA’s Tony Mendez (Ben Affleck) to extract them from the country before they are discovered by the Revolutionary Guards. The plan? Create a fake movie, called Argo, and pretend they’re the crew.

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  • Shabtai Rosenne Memorial Lecture

    On Thursday, 24 November the first Shabtai Rosenne Memorial Lecture, delivered by Professor Malcolm N. Shaw Q.C., Senior Fellow at the Lauterpacht Centre for International Law at the University of Cambridge, took place at the Peace Palace in The Hague, a little more than a year after Professor Rosenne’s death. In his lecture entitled, “The Peaceful Settlement of Disputes: Paradigms, Plurality and Policy”, Professor Shaw gave an overview of where he thought dispute resolution was at the moment.

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  • The Institute for Historical Justice and Reconciliation in The Hague

    The Institute for Historical Justice and Reconciliation seeks to promote tolerance and reconciliation through helping scholars from different sides of a conflict work together to research and write narratives that can be shared among communities or peoples in conflict. Through this process of shared work, a better understanding of “the other” is gained by both sides.

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  • Abyei Arbitration Award

    On Wednesday 22 July, the Arbitral Tribunal at the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague rendered its final Award [PDF] in the case between the Government of Sudan and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) concerning the delimitation of the boundaries of the Abyei Area. The arbitration is based on an Arbitration Agreement between the Parties that was deposited with the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) on 11 July 2008.

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  • Maritime Delimitation in the Black Sea (Romania v. Ukraine)

    On Tuesday 3 February 2009 the International Court of Justice (ICJ) rendered its Judgment in the case concerning Maritime Delimitation in the Black Sea (Romania v. Ukraine). A public sitting took place at 10 a.m. at the Peace Palace in The Hague, during which the President of the Court, Judge Rosalyn Higgins, read the Court’s Judgment.

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See also

More Research guides on Settlement of International Disputes

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