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Judicial decisions as source of International Law

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The decisions of Judicial, Arbitral tribunals and juristic works by eminent jurists can become a subsidiary source of International Law. Though, the decision in a judicial dispute is generally binding only between the two parties and only with reference to that particular case, it does not mean that the decision cannot be called as a source of International Law.

Example:

  • The decisions of the International Court of Justice is a source of International Law.
  • The decisions in international disputes such as the Zamora Case, Daimler Co Ltd vs Continental Tyre and Rubber Co., S S Lotus Case, Mighel vs Sultan of Johore Case etc. have become secondary sources of International Law.

According to Judge Lauteracht, the decisions of International Arbitral Tribunal cannot be a major source (but can be a minor source) of International Law is because Arbitrals is the means of bringing a diplomatic solution aimed at pleasing both the parties and it need not be legal in its true sense, as proved in the decisions by the Permanent Court of Arbitration's decisions after the World War I.

Teachings, statements, opinions etc by prominent jurists and publicists do not become a source but this material can be used in the development of International Law.

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