From arbitration to adjudication
As the predecessor of the present International Court of Justice, the Permanent Court of International Justice was a historic ‘melting-pot’ of ideals about international justice and, according to some, international community as well as notions of international law. It was the culmination so far of a persistent movement towards, in prosaic terms, more effective settlement of international disputes. The twentieth century had opened with a call for international justice, a growing hope of sustaining peace through international adjudication and law. Although cold water was inevitably poured on the belief in international adjudication being a real, trustworthy alternative to warfare, the century witnessed several successful projects of international justice, with more now underway. This was partly due to the legacy of the Permanent Court where international law was brought down to earth, as it were, and given a practical edge. In this context, the world, at last, experienced the rise of the international judiciary.
The Permanent Court of International Justice was preceded by the Permanent Court of Arbitration established under the 1899 and 1907 Conventions for the Pacific Settlement of International Disputes, which have been described as ‘in a sense a codification of the law of pacific settlement up to that time’. In Articles 15 (1899) and 37 (1907), ‘international arbitration’ was defined as having ‘for its object the settlement of disputes between States by judges of their own choice on the basis of respect for law’.