Procedural Issues related to the ICJ’s advisory jurisdiction

Briefing paper

Date produced: 11/06/2012

In September 2011, the President of Palau made a statement to the UN General Assembly in which he asked the General Assembly to “seek, on an urgent basis … an advisory opinion from the ICJ on the responsibilities of States under international law to ensure that activities carried out under their jurisdiction or control that emit greenhouse gases do not damage other States”.1 If the initiative goes ahead, a resolution requesting the advisory opinion could be tabled in the General Assembly before the end of 2012, though the question asked may be amended as part of the negotiation process.

In this briefing paper, we set out:

  • some background to the advisory jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice (ICJ or
    Court);
  • the legal effect of advisory opinions;
  • the procedure that is followed (including in relation to the request for an advisory opinion, written submissions, oral hearings and rendering of the opinion);
  • the extent of non-state participation; and
  • issues relating to jurisdiction and admissibility.