International Courts and Tribunals

Course Leader: Dr Francesca Delfino

Home Institution: Luiss Guido Carli, Rome, Italy

Course pre-requisites: A background in the topics is not necessary, but a basic knowledge of international law is assumed.

Course Overview
The course examines the major international judicial and arbitral bodies.

In particular, its aim is to provide specialized knowledge on the composition, procedures and formation of these international organizations and bodies.

It also focuses on aspects of possible overlapping jurisdiction and the development of common principles.

Moreover, particular attention will also be paid to the analysis of relevant judicial and arbitral decisions.

The proliferation over recent decades of international courts and tribunals with various jurisdictions and structures, and the importance of their decisions  have been emphasised by many scholars. Indeed, there are several books and articles regarding these international courts and tribunals.

Selected bibliography:


Angela Del Vecchio and Roberto Virzo (Eds.), Interpretations of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea by International Courts and Tribunals. (Springer, 2019).

Gerd Oberleitner, (Ed.) International Human Rights Institutions, Tribunals, and Courts: Legacy and Promise. (Springer, 2018).

William A. Schabas and Shannonbrooke Murphy, (Eds.): Research. Handbook on International Courts and Tribunals. (Edward Elgar, 2017)

Angela Del Vecchio (Ed.), International courts and tribunals between globalisation and localismi. (Eleven International Publishing, 2013).


Eric A. Posmer and John C. Yoo, Judicial Indipendence in International Tribunals, in  California Law Review, 2005, vol. 93, 1-74.

Lucas Lixinski, Treaty Interpretation by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights: Expansionism at the Service of the Unity of International Law, in The European Journal of International Law, 2010, Vol. 21, 586-604.

Christian Tomuschat, International Courts and Tribunals, in R. Wolfrum (Ed.), The Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law, 2012, vol. 5, 499-514.

Gabriela A.  Oanta,    The International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea and the Polar Regions, in The law and practice of international courts and tribunals, 2014, vol. 13, 286-305.

Gabriela A.  Oanta, The Contentious and Advisory Jurisdiction of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, in Revista Española de Derecho Internacional, 2016, vol. 68, 392-395.

Laurence Boisson de Chazournes, Plurality in the Fabric of International Courts and Tribunals: The Threads of a Managerial Approach, in European Journal of International Law, 2017, vol. 28,  13-72

Marieke de Hoon, The future of the International Criminal Court. On critique, Legalism and Strengthening the ICC’s Legitimacy, in International Criminal Law Review, 2017,  vol. 17, 591-614.

Learning Outcomes
By the end of this course, students will be able to understand how international tribunals and courts operate. In particular, students will learn where, how and by whom international decision are taken.

Participants will develop transferable key skills that will be very valuable in their future professional career.

Course Content
The course includes the analysis of the following international courts and tribunals: the International Court of Justice, the International Criminal Court, the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, the Permanent Court of Arbitration, the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, and regional human rights courts.

Instructional Method
Teaching in lectures and seminars will be supplemented with group projects.

Required Course Materials
Selected case studies will be distributed during the classes.

Participants will be assessed based on group works.