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Public International Law: International Court of Justice

This guide highlights key resources for international law research.

Decisions and Documentation

Decisions and Documentation from the International Court of Justice and the Permanent Court of International Justice are available on the Court’s web site.

Summaries of judgments, advisory opinions, and orders of the International Court of Justice (1948-2007 in paper and full run online). Provides subject orientation to cases.

Permanent Court of International Justice decisions (Series A through F) are available through HeinOnline Foreign & International Law Resources Database > Part III: International Tribunals/Judicial Decisions - Unlike the free web site above, you can search the decisions of the PCIJ on Hein.


The International Court of Justice was established in 1945 by the United Nations Charter and began hearing cases in 1946.  The ICJ continued the work of its predecessor the Permanent Court of International Justice which heard cases from 1922 to 1945. It is also known as the World Court.

The Court has general jurisdiction over legal disputes that have been submitted to it by States.  These are known as “contentious cases.”  The ICJ also provides “advisory opinions” on legal questions that have been referred to it by authorized United Nations organs or specialized agencies.

The Court is composed of 15 judges, who are elected for terms of office of nine years by the United Nations General Assembly and the Security Council. Its official languages are English and French. The seat of the Court is at the Peace Palace in The Hague (Netherlands).

Research Guides

  • The Dag Hammarskjold Library at the United Nations in New York maintains a detailed research guide to the documentation on the International Court of Justice.
  • The research guide collection at the Peace Palace Library at the Hague also maintains a research guide about the ICJ.

Commentaries and Treatises

To find more books about the ICJ, perform a subject search in PRIMO for International Court of Justice.  You can refine your search by adding keywords to find more specific material.  For example:

Subject:  international court of justice


Keyword:  evidence

Commentary and Analysis:

Recommended Treatises: