ILA Study Group
In 2001 the International Law Association (ILA) established a Study Group on International Courts and Tribunals. The establishment of this Study Group is a direct result of PICT's work and has been initiated by Philippe Sands and Campbell MacLachlan (partner, Herbert Smith, London), following the round-table discussion held at the ILA 2000 meeting in London in July 2000.

The Study Group is composed of academics and practitioners from a wide range of countries, and judges from a number of international tribunals participate in its work as observers. It addresses and makes recommendations on a range of policy issues arising out of the multiplication of international courts and tribunals.

The Study Group is chaired by Philippe Sands, Co-Director of PICT, and Campbell MacLachlan, Secretary of the British Branch of the International Law Association. Its findings will be reported formally to the International Law Association for consideration.

An initial organizational meeting of the Study Group was held in London in February 2002.

Background paper

A second meeting we held in Florence, in June 2002.


A third meeting was held in London, in December 2002.


The first phase of the Study Group work focuses on:

(1) Ethical standards for the international Bench and Bar, including the independence of the international judiciary; and (2) the question of lis pendens: issues and problems arising where the same set of facts give rise to proceedings in different international courts and tribunals.

The first topic covers, in particular, questions such as independence, and conflicts of interest on which the ILA could play an important standard-setting role. Initially, the Group will examine the existing rules governing the conduct of international judges, identify common principles and approaches, and contribute to the development of a set of guidelines of minimum standards to apply across the board. A similar effort might also address the conduct of litigators.

The second topic deals with the inter-relationship between international courts and tribunals against the background of a growing tendency for different aspects of the same underlying factual problem to be litigated in more than one international tribunal at the same time, with consequent risk of conflict in approach. The Group would ask the question whether or not a rule of international litispendence is desirable, and if so, how it ought to be structured.

The work of the Study Group on the first topic fed into an international conference on the independence of the international judiciary

The Burgh House Principles on the Independence of the International Judiciary, June 2004, Burgh House, Hampstead, London.   Text.   French Text.