In last article, we described the ‘composition of International court’ as per the statute of International court of Justice.

Simplifying the statute of ICJ-Part I- Composition of Court

In present article, we will explain the ‘competence of court’ to try the suits. Competence of the court, is provided under ‘Chapter II’ of Statute of ICJ.

Article 34 (Parties competent to approach the court)

  • Only states may be parties in cases before the Court.
  • The Court, may request of public international organizations information relevant to cases before it, and shall receive such information presented by such organizations on their own initiative.

Article 35

  • When a state which is not a Member of the United Nations is a party to a case, the Court shall fix the amount which that party is to contribute towards the expenses of the Court.
  • This provision shall not apply if such state is bearing a share of the expenses of the Court.

Article 36 (Jurisdiction of the Court)

  • The jurisdiction of the Court comprises all cases which the parties refer to it and all matters specially provided for in the Charter of the United Nations or in treaties and conventions in force.
  • The states parties to the present Statute may at any time declare that they recognize as compulsory ipso facto and without special agreement, in relation to any other state accepting the same obligation, the jurisdiction of the Court in all legal disputes concerning:
    a. the interpretation of a treaty;
    b. any question of international law;
    c. the existence of any fact which, if established, would constitute a breach of an inter-
    national obligation ;
    d. the nature or extent of the reparation to be made for the breach of an international obligation.
  • In the event of a dispute as to whether the Court has jurisdiction, the matter shall be settled by the decision of the Court.

Article 37

Whenever a treaty or convention in force provides for reference of a matter to a tribunal to have been instituted by the League of Nations, or to the Permanent Court of International Justice, the matter shall, as between the parties to the present Statute, be referred to the International Court of Justice.

Article 38 (Sources to apply in cases)[1]

  • The Court, whose function is to decide in accordance with international law such disputes as are submitted to it, shall apply:
  • Convention- international conventions, whether general or particular, establishing rules expressly recognized by the contesting states;
  • Customs- international custom, as evidence of a general practice accepted as law;
  • Legal Principles– the general principles of law recognized by civilized nations;
  • Juristic Opinions– judicial decisions and the teachings of the most highly qualified publicists of the various nations, as subsidiary means for the determination of rules of law.
  • This provision shall not prejudice the power of the Court to decide a case ex aequo et bond (according to the right and good), if the parties agree thereto.


Statute of International Court of Justice

[1] This article is considered the source of International law.

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