The Commission quotes the work of the City Law School academic which sheds light on the role of judicial decisions in the interpretation and application of sources of international law.
The International Law Commission (ILC) was established by the United Nations General Assembly to initiate studies and make recommendations for the purpose of encouraging the progressive development of international law and its codification. It is composed of eminent international law experts from around the world and, over the years, its work has led to the creation of a number of treaties and other works of international law that are key to the present international legal order.
During its seventy-second session in 2021, the ILC decided to include in its long-term programme of work the topic, “subsidiary means for the determination of rules of international law.”
For this purpose, it commissioned a report setting out the syllabus and future agenda for this topic. The report points out that, while in the past, significant attention has been paid to primary sources of international law (such as treaties and customary international law), far less attention has been paid to subsidiary sources such as judicial decisions and the writings of experts.
The topic of “subsidiary means for the determination of rules of international law” is very important because it directly impacts on how international law is interpreted and applied. It is therefore opportune for the ILC to take this topic forward for progressive development and codification.
The decision of the ILC to take this agenda forward is based on a report that extensively cites Dr Zammit Borda’s research. It refers to Dr Zammit Borda’s work as an essential point of reference in literature on this subject. The report uses this research to analyse different possible interpretations of Article 38(1) of the Statute of the International Court of Justice (which provides a list of different sources of international law). The report also uses Dr Zammit Borda’s research to trace the drafting history of Article 38(1) and to review other perspectives in the area.
Dr Zammit Borda’s work on this topic, published in the European Journal of International Law, sheds light on the role of judicial decisions in the interpretation and application of sources of international law. This research, which was viewed over 30,000 times, is available at this weblink.