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In recent years States have made more and more extensive use of the International Court of Justice for the judicial settlement of disputes. Despite being declared by the Court's Statute to have no binding force for States other than the parties to the case, its decisions have come to constitute a body of jurisprudence that is frequently invoked in other disputes, in international negotiation, and in academic writing. This jurisprudence, covering a wide range of aspects of international law, is the subject of considerable ongoing academic examination; it needs however to be seen against the background, and in the light, of the Court's structure, jurisdiction and operation, and the principles applied in these domains. The purpose of this book is thus to provide an accessible and comprehensive study of this aspect of the Court, and in particular of its procedure, written by a scholar who has had unique opportunities of close observation of the Court in action. This distillation of direct experience and expertise makes it essential reading for all those who study, teach or practise international law.
Hugh Thirlway entered the service of the International Court of Justice in 1968; he held the specially created post of Principal Legal Secretary from 1987 to 1994 and from 2003 to 2007. In the intervening years he was Professor of International Law at the Graduate Institute of International Studies, Geneva, and he has since held a number of academic positions in many countries; throughout he has written extensively on international law and the work of the ICJ.