Call for submissions for Volume 26 of the Max Planck Yearbook of United Nations Law (UNYB)

Special forum on “The International Court of Justice at 75: an Assessment”

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) commemorated the 75th anniversary of its inaugural sitting this past year. The Court was set up in the aftermath of the Second World War as the principal judicial organ of the United Nations (UN), and has historically played a central role in both the peaceful settlement of international disputes and the development of international law. The function of the Court is twofold: first, to settle, in accordance with international law, through judgments which have binding force and are without appeal for the parties concerned, legal disputes submitted to it by States; and, second, to give advisory opinions on legal questions referred to it by duly authorised United Nations organs and agencies of the system.

Having been established by the UN Charter, the ICJ is constituted and functions in accordance with the provisions of the Statute of the International Court of Justice (Statute). The institution and procedures established in the Statute and in the Rules of the Court have provided a fertile ground for the peaceful settlement of inter-State disputes throughout the years, which is indicative of the fact that the Court is the oldest permanent international dispute settlement body in existence.

As the principal judicial organ of the United Nations (UN), the ICJ is competent for a great diversity of questions of international law. The Court has adjudicated over 140 disputes brought before it by States and examined around 30 requests for advisory opinions referred to it by various UN organs and specialized agencies. These include adjudication of border disputes, issues of use of force, the protection of human rights or disputes regarding cross-border environmental pollution, etc. In addition, having adjudicated on matters from all around the world, the ICJ is both regionally and geographically diverse in terms of its case law. The Court has also continued to evolve with time as it has “demonstrated that it is equipped to tackle cases relating to new areas of international law that have emerged and developed since its first sitting.”

In light of the 75th anniversary of the ICJ, we issue this special call for papers in an attempt to curate and feature submissions that critically engage with and examine the work of the ICJ throughout these years.

Keeping the ICJ as the central focus of this special volume, we have framed possible research areas for engagement and would welcome submissions that dwell on these issues, though these are by no means exhaustive and are simply intended to stimulate thoughts and contributions;

  • Procedural aspects of the Court such as membership, composition of judges, evidentiary issues, and treaty interpretation of specific provisions within the ICJ Statute.
  • Historical analysis of the work/jurisprudence of the Court from past to present.
  • Theorising the work of the ICJ from different perspectives of international law.
  • Interaction of the ICJ with other courts or judicial bodies.
  • Examination of thematic issues adjudicated by the Court such as jurisdictional challenges, environmental law disputes, human-rights claims, use of force, law of the sea, land and maritime delimitation, etc.
  • The future of the ICJ as a principal judicial organ of the UN, and its standing as a dispute settlement body for inter-State disputes.
  • The scope of the Court’s jurisdiction under particular treaties, such as the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.
  • The growing importance of provisional measures in the Court’s case-law.
  • The advisory jurisdiction: uses and abuses.
  • The development of international law by the ICJ.

 Submission Guidelines

Considering the overall theme is wide and far-reaching, there are several sub-topics that can be curated within this edition. We invite anyone interested in contributing to this edition to submit at first instance, an abstract proposal of no more than 500 words by 15 April 2022. Given the breadth of this topic, we encourage authors to focus closely on a particular line of legal argumentation or a specific niche within this broader debate. Please note that we particularly value innovative and creative proposals that may advance the current legal/academic literature on the topic.

In your abstract submission, please include i) the working title; ii) the main arguments to be developed in the article; and, iii) a brief explanation on how the topic fits within the scope of the Max Planck Yearbook of United Nations Law. Please submit your proposal in a Word document, along with a short bio (max 100 words) in the cover letter delivered by email to .

The usual length of an article featured in the Yearbook is between 8,000 and 12,000 words, though for this thematic forum, we are also open to receiving proposals of specific case notes with a shorter word count as well. Following a positive assessment of their abstract proposal, authors will be instructed to submit a full draft of their manuscript by 31 July 2022, which will then be placed through our internal review process for consideration of final publication

In addition to featuring manuscripts pertaining to the thematic scope of this volume, we will also be featuring selected articles that fall within the overall editorial line of the Yearbook. As such, we encourage authors to send in their proposals for consideration in accordance with the same deadline and requirements indicated above.