Leiden Journal of International Law

HAGUE INTERNATIONAL TRIBUNALS: International Court of Justice

Barcelona Traction at 40: The ICJ as an Agent of Legal Development

CHRISTIAN J. TAMS and ANTONIOS TZANAKOPOULOS*

Abstract

The article revisits the Barcelona Traction judgment of the International Court of Justice, rendered forty years ago. It evaluates the lasting influence of the Court's pronouncements on the nationality of corporations and on obligations erga omnes, and uses the case to illustrate the Court's role as an influential agent of legal development. In this respect, it identifies a number of factors that can help to explain under which circumstances judicial pronouncements are likely to shape the law.

Keywords

  • community interest;
  • development of international law;
  • diplomatic protection;
  • international community;
  • International Court of Justice;
  • lawmaking;
  • nationality of corporations;
  • obligations erga omnes

Footnotes

* Christian J. Tams is Professor of International Law, University of Glasgow [christian.tams@glasgow.ac.uk]; Antonios Tzanakopoulos is Lecturer in international law, University of Glasgow [antonios.tzanakopoulos@glasgow.ac.uk].