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How Does the Amicus Curiae Submission Affect a Tribunal Decision?

  • YEN-CHIANG CHANG
Abstract

In the South China Sea Arbitration initiated by the Philippines against China, the Chinese (Taiwan) Society of International Law (CSIL) submitted an amicus curiae brief to the Annex VII arbitral tribunal established in accordance with United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). This article first analyzes the definition and legal nature of amicus curiae status, then introduces cases involving amicus curiae in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and UNCLOS dispute settlement mechanisms. By analyzing relevant statutes and rules of procedure, this article assesses the acceptance of amicus curiae submissions by international courts or tribunals, in different dispute settlement mechanisms. Finally, the article describes the significance of the amicus curiae brief submitted by CSIL to the arbitral tribunal, concluding that the South China Sea Arbitral Tribunal did take the amicus curiae submission into account, but exercised caution in its consideration.

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1 The Notification and Statement of Claims, issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of the Philippines in Manila to the Embassy of the People's Republic of China in Manila, Serial No. 13-0211, 22 January 2013.

2 In the Matter of An Arbitration before An Arbitral Tribunal Constituted under Annex VII to the 1982 UNCLOS (The Philippines v. China), Award on Jurisdiction and Admissibility, PCA Case No. 2013-19 (2015), para. 37 (hereinafter ‘The Sino-Philippines South China Sea Arbitration’).

3 Ibid., para. 60.

4 Ibid., para. 63. In the Award on Jurisdiction and Admissibility issued by the arbitral tribunal, it is said that the Philippines wrote to the arbitral tribunal which, ‘commented on appropriate procedures for evaluating any amicus curiae submission’.

5 Ibid., para. 64.

6 In the Matter of An Arbitration before An Arbitral Tribunal Constituted under Annex VII to the 1982 UNCLOS (The Philippines v. China), Amicus Curiae Submission by the Chinese (Taiwan) Society of International Law on the Issue of the Feature of Taiping Island (Itu Aba) Pursuant to Article 121(1) and (3) of the 1982 UNCLOS, PCA Case No. 2013-19 (2016), para. 17 (hereinafter ‘Amicus Curiae Submissions by the CSIL’).

7 Ibid., para. 17.

8 Hollis, D.B., ‘Private Actors in Public International Law: Amicus Curiae and the Case for the Retention of State Sovereignty’, (2002) 25 Boston College International and Comparative Law Review 235, at 239.

9 Shelton, D., ‘The Participation of Nongovernmental Organizations in International Judicial Proceedings’, (1994) 88 American Journal of International Law 611, at 616 .

10 Haifeng, Z. and Lizhong, G., ‘ Amicus Curiae in International Judicial Procedures’, (2007) 3 Journal of Comparative Law 68, at 69.

11 Ibid.

12 Bartholomeusz, L., ‘The Amicus Curiae before International Courts and Tribunals’, (2005) 5 Non-State Actors and International Law 209, at 211.

13 Crema, L., ‘Testing Amici Curiae in International Law: Rules and Practice’, (2012) 22 Italian Yearbook of International Law 91, at 93.

14 Suez, Sociedad General de Aguas de Barcelona S.A. and Interagua Servicios Integrales de Agua S.A. v. Argentina (Order in Response to a Petition for Participation as Amicus Curiae, 2006) ICSID Case No. ARB/03/17, para.13.

15 Ibid.

16 Crema, supra note 13, at 94.

17 Savarese, E., ‘ Amicus Curiae Participation in Investor-State Arbitral Proceedings’, (2007) 17 Italian Yearbook of International Law 99, at 106.

18 Bartholomeusz, supra note 12, at 274.

19 Ibid.

20 Shelton, supra note 9, at 627.

21 Bartholomeusz, supra note 12, at 274.

22 Gomez, K.F., ‘Rethinking the Role of Amicus Curiae in International Investment Arbitration: How to Draw the Line Favorably for the Public Interest’, (2012) 35 Fordham International Law Journal 510, at 521.

23 Bastin, L., ‘The Amicus Curiae in Investor-State Arbitration’, (2012) 1 Cambridge Journal of International and Comparative Law 208, at 209–10.

24 Bartholomeusz, supra note 12, at 275.

25 Bastin, supra note 23, at 228.

26 Haifeng and Lizhong, supra note 10, at 75.

27 Ibid.

28 Choudhury, B., ‘Recapturing Public Power: Is Investment Arbitration's Engagement of the Public Interest Contributing to the Democratic Deficit?’, (2008) 41 Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law 775, at 815.

29 Ibid.

30 Bartholomeusz, supra note 12, at 277.

31 Yuqiong, D., ‘On the Transparency of the WTO Dispute Settlement Mechanism—From the Perspective of Amicus Curiae ’, (2013) 2 Social Science Research 71, at 75 .

32 Bartholomeusz, supra note 12, at 277.

33 Ibid.

34 Ibid., at 278.

35 See www.icj-cij.org/court/index.php?p1=1 (accessed 16 June 2016).

36 See www.icj-cij.org/jurisdiction/index.php?p1=5 (accessed 8 June 2016).

37 Ibid.

38 1945 Statute of the International Court of Justice, 3 Bevans 1153 (1945), Art. 34(2).

39 Bartholomeusz, supra note 12, at 213.

40 1978 ICJ Rules of Court, 17 ILM 1286 (1978) (adopted 14 April 1978, entered into force on 1 July 1978), Art. 69(4).

41 De Brabandere, E., ‘NGOs and the “Public Interest”: The Legality and Rationale of Amicus Curiae Intervention in International Economic and Investment Disputes’, (2011) 12 Chicago Journal of International Law 85, at 92.

42 Aerial Incident of 3 July 1988 (Islamic Republic of Iran v. United States of America), ICJ Pleadings, Vol. II [1992], at 618.

43 Bartholomeusz, supra note 12, at 214.

44 Ibid.

45 Crema, supra note 13, at 121.

46 Asylum case (Colombia v. Peru), ICJ Pleadings, Vol. II [1950], at 227.

47 Ibid., at 228.

48 Ibid.

49 Crema, supra note 13, at 121.

50 Ibid.

51 De Brabandere, supra note 41, at 94.

52 Bartholomeusz, supra note 12, at 220.

53 Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (Advisory Opinion), Written Statement of the League of Arab States (January 2004) and Written Statement of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (January 2004), available at www.icj-cij.org/docket/index.php?p1=3&p2=4&k=5a&case=131&code=mwp&p3=1 (accessed 16 June 2016).

54 Bartholomeusz, supra note 12, at 220.

55 International Status of South West Africa (Advisory Opinion), ICJ Pleadings [1950], at 327.

56 Ibid.

57 Ibid., at 346.

58 Ibid.

59 Ibid.

60 Legal Consequences for States of the Continued Presence of South Africa in Namibia (South West Africa) notwithstanding Security Council Resolution 276 (Advisory Opinion), ICJ Pleadings [1971], at 679.

61 Letter from the Registrar to Dr. Barry D. Levy (28 March 1994), cited in Shelton, supra note 9, at 624.

62 Ibid.

63 ‘Letter to the Editor’, International Herald Tribune, 15 November 1995, cited in Crema, supra note 13, at 122.

64 Ibid.

65 Ibid.

66 Ibid.

67 See www.icj-cij.org/documents/index.php?p1=4&p2=4&p3=0, Practice Direction XII (accessed 8 June 2016).

68 Ibid.

69 Bartholomeusz, supra note 12, at 223.

70 See www.itlos.org/en/the-tribunal/ (accessed 16 June 2016).

71 Ibid.

72 See www.itlos.org/jurisdiction/ (accessed 7 June 2016).

73 Responsibilities and Obligations of States with respect to Activities in the Area, Advisory Opinion (1 February 2011) ITLOS Reports 2011, 10, at 19.

74 Ibid.

75 Ibid.

76 Ibid.

77 See Case No. 17: Responsibilities and obligations of States sponsoring persons and entities with respect to activities in the Area (Request for Advisory Opinion submitted to the Seabed Disputes Chamber), ITLOS, available at www.itlos.org/en/cases/list-of-cases/case-no-17/ (accessed 3 June 2016).

78 Crema, supra note 13, at 92.

79 See Case No. 21: Request for An Advisory Opinion submitted by the Sub-Regional Fisheries Commission (SRFC), ITLOS, available at www.itlos.org/en/cases/list-of-cases/case-no-21/#c1252 (accessed 4 June 2016).

80 Ibid.

81 Request for the Prescription of Provisional Measures under Article 290, Paragraph 5, of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, IV Statement of Facts (21 October 2013) ITLOS Reports 2013, at 6 (paras. 18, 20–21).

82 Press Release 201: Request for Provisional Measures Submitted Today to the Tribunal in the Arctic Sunrise Case, ITLOS, 21 October 2013, available at www.itlos.org/fileadmin/itlos/documents/press_releases_english/PR_201_E.pdf (accessed 22 June 2015).

83 Ibid.

84 The Arctic Sunrise Case (Kingdom of The Netherlands v. Russian Federation), Order on the Request for the Prescription of Provisional Measures (22 November 2013) ITLOS Reports 2013, 230, para. 9.

85 Ibid., para. 15.

86 Ibid., para. 16.

87 Ibid., para. 17.

88 Ibid., para. 18.

89 Ibid., para. 19.

90 In the Matter of the Arctic Sunrise Arbitration before An Arbitral Tribunal Constituted under Annex VII to the 1982 UNCLOS between the Netherlands and Russia, Procedural Order No. 3 (Greenpeace International's Request to File an Amicus Curiae Submission 8 October 2014), PCA Case No. 2014-02 (2014).

91 Ibid.

92 Ibid.

93 Ibid

94 Ibid.

95 Ibid.

96 The Sino-Philippines South China Sea Arbitration, supra note 2, para. 60.

97 Hollis, supra note 8, at 241.

98 An Arbitration under Chapter 11 of the NAFTA between United Parcel Services of America Inc. and Canada, Decision of the Tribunal on Petitions for Intervention and Participation as Amici Curiae (17 October 2001), para. 65.

99 Ibid., para. 61.

100 Ibid.

101 Ibid., para. 73.

102 See 中華民國國際法學會會章 [Charter of the Chinese (Taiwan) Society of International Law], CSIL, 19 December 2004, available at csil.org.tw/home/about/學會章程/ (accessed 19 June 2016).

103 See 香港法律团体提交“意见书”质疑南海仲裁案 [Hong Kong Legal Organization Submitted Amicus Curiae Brief to Question the South China Sea Arbitration], 中国南海研究院 [National Institute for South China Sea Studies], 17 June 2016, available at www.nanhai.org.cn/index.php/Index/Info/content/cid/21/id/3038.html#div_content (accessed 20 June 2016) (reproducing the following article under a different title: 凌德 [Ling De] and 吴志伟 [Wu Zhiwei], 香港法律团体质疑南海仲裁案 提交“法庭之友意见书 [Hong Kong Legal Organization Challenges South China Sea Arbitration Proposal, Submits Amicus Curiae Brief], 环球时报 [Global Times], 17 June 2016, available at china.huanqiu.com/article/2016-06/9050741.html).

104 Amicus Curiae Submissions by the CSIL, supra note 6, para. 4.

105 Ibid.

106 Ibid., para. 10.

107 Ibid., para. 16.

108 Ibid., para. 18.

109 Ibid.

110 Ibid., para. 19.

111 In the Matter of An Arbitration before An Arbitral Tribunal Constituted under Annex VII to the 1982 UNCLOS (The Philippines v. China), Hearing on the Merits and Remaining Issues of Jurisdiction and Admissibility, Day 1, 24 November 2015, 98.

112 Ibid., at 6.

113 Ibid.

114 Ibid.

115 Chang, Yen-Chiang, ‘Taiwanese Position over the South China Sea Dispute: Before and After the Permanent Court of Arbitration Award’, (2016) 9 Journal of East Asia and International Law 467–78.

116 In the Matter of An Arbitration before An Arbitral Tribunal Constituted under Annex VII to the 1982 UNCLOS (The Philippines v. China), Award, PCA Case No. 2013-19 (2016), para. 546.

117 Ibid., para. 547.

118 Ibid., para. 550.

119 Ibid., para. 542.

120 Ibid., para. 543.

121 Ibid., para. 646.

122 Ibid., para. 584.

123 Ibid., para. 596.

124 Ibid., para. 550.

125 Bartholomeusz, supra note 12, at 278.

126 Ibid., at 279.

* Ph.D (University of Dundee, UK); LLM (Taiwan Ocean University, Taiwan); Professor of International Law, Researcher at the Cooperative Innovation Centre of the Global Energy Network (Shandong), Director of the Institute of the Law of the Sea and Maritime Law, School of Law, Shandong University, China []. The field work is supported by the following projects: Science and Technology Project of State Grid Corporation of China, ‘Research on the Macro Strategy and the Key Issues of the Global Energy Network’ (Grant No. SGSDDK00KJJS1600067); ‘Study on the Legal Governance and Cooperation Mechanism in the South China Sea’, China Association of Marine Development Studies (Grant No. CAMAJJ201602).

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