Skip to main content Accessibility help
  • Cited by 6
Cambridge University Press
Online publication date:
March 2019
Print publication year:
Online ISBN:

Book description

The history of international adjudication is all too often presented as a triumphalist narrative of normative and institutional progress that casts aside its uncomfortable memories, its darker legacies and its historical failures. In this narrative, the bulk of 'trials' and 'errors' is left in the dark, confined to oblivion or left for erudition to recall as a curiosity. Written by an interdisciplinary group of lawyers, historians and social scientists, this volume relies on the rich and largely unexplored archive of institutional and legal experimentation since the late nineteenth century to shed new light on the history of international adjudication. It combines contextual accounts of failed, or aborted, as well as of 'successful' experiments to clarify our understanding of the past and present of international adjudication.


‘Experiments in International Adjudication is a treasure. Recovering successful and failed efforts at international adjudication in the nineteenth and twentieth century, spanning Africa, Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East, a stellar group of scholars considers why history does and does not remember or build on early efforts at international adjudication. Beyond explicating little known international adjudication experiments, we learn of the forces working for and against generalizing these experiments so as to lay the groundwork for constructing an international judiciary capable of resolving trans-border disputes and generating state responsibility and accountability to international law.'

Karen J. Alter - Northwestern University and iCourts

‘Experiments in International Adjudication is an overdue and necessary complement to the burgeoning research on international courts and tribunals. The authors, outstanding experts, have shed light on so far unknown institutions, facets of seemingly familiar ones, and show how many of the 'experiments' failed, while others led to unforeseen results. This book fills a gap and will stimulate further investigations on the histories and functions, problems and potentials of eminently important institutions in international law and relations.'

Anne Peters - Director of the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and Public International Law and Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg, Freie Universität Berlin and William C. Cook Global Law Professor at the University of Michigan

‘This collection of fascinating essays on instances and experiments in international adjudication from the last two centuries significantly thickens the narrative of the historical emergence of present-day international courts and tribunals. By delving into the rich histories of failed or unfinished experiments with arbitral and judicial dispute settlement between states, the book shows that the recent proliferation and diversification of international adjudication has deep historical roots and that the disruptive effects these variations are often perceived to have on international law as a system, may actually be crucial to its endurance.'

Randall Lesaffer - Tilburg University and Katholieke Universiteit Leuven

‘Experiments in International Adjudication is a very welcome addition to the already large literature on international courts and tribunals. But different from most other books, this volume reveals the story of little-known experiments of international adjudication. Thereby, it enriches our understanding in a multitude of ways and makes us rethink what really works in terms of international adjudication. Written by a set of understanding scholars, this book is a little treasure trove that should be read by anyone with an interest in the history of international law.'

Mikael Rask Madsen - Director of iCourts, Centre of Excellence for International Courts, University of Copenhagen

‘This comprehensive volume follows a chronological approach and reveals the well-co-ordinated research carried out by this interdisciplinary group of eminent scholars. It critically recalls some underresearched 'strands of the historical record that can be seen as genuine 'trials' and 'errors' in the long process of experimentation relating to international adjudication', considering their intellectual, socio-political, and international legal context, connecting past and present experiments, and offering 'fresh perspectives on this usually 'neglected', but significant discipline' … This book makes a decisive contribution to the research and understanding of the history of international adjudication.’

Eduardo Jimenez Pineda Source: The British Yearbook of International Law

‘Most readers will be enriched … will have learned about a new institution, an unknown conflict or case, or about missed opportunities in dispute settlement. … they taught me a lot (e.g. about Commonwealth and Maghreb tribunals) and often made me think.’

Christian J. Tams Source: Journal of the History of International Law

Refine List

Actions for selected content:

Select all | Deselect all
  • View selected items
  • Export citations
  • Download PDF (zip)
  • Save to Kindle
  • Save to Dropbox
  • Save to Google Drive

Save Search

You can save your searches here and later view and run them again in "My saved searches".

Please provide a title, maximum of 40 characters.



Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Book summary page views

Total views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between #date#. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed.