The International Court of Justice (ICJ) has mostly emphasized substance over form and developed a pragmatic, flexible, objective, and fact-based analytical approach to jurisdiction. That is until a recent series of judgments veering towards jurisdictional formalism. However, to truly reflect its designation as the “World” Court, the UN's principal judicial organ must surely adjudicate some of the “big cases” with global security implications and involving important obligations erga omnes beyond strictly bilateral dynamics: the Marshall Islands cases were as good contenders as any for the Court to enhance its legitimacy capital. 1 As a corollary, accepting this role might entail that the Court interpret its jurisdiction in a flexible and progressive manner, which had always been its mantra up until recently, so that the “big cases” have a chance of getting their foot in the door and being litigated.
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