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The rapid multiplication in the number of international courts and tribunals in recent years, and the increased activity of many of them, for the most part has been uncoordinated. This poses numerous practical problems, and stimulates reflection on conceptual questions that have come to seem more pressing because of their immediate practical implications:
• Is the proliferation of international courts and tribunals in a horizontal legal arrangement lacking in hierarchy and sparse in any formal structure of relations among these bodies, fragmenting or system-building in its effects on international law?
• Do about two dozen courts and tribunals with differing jurisdictions, sources of financing and membership amount to a judicial system?
• If not, should there be an international legal system? Is unification a desirable aim?
• What is and should be the relationship between the various fora?
• What should be the judicial policy of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and other judicial bodies in response to this non-hierarchical proliferation?
• What are the problems, actual or potential, arising from the absence of co-ordination, both institutional and substantive, among the different institutions and mechanisms?
• What specific doctrines and practices might be elaborated to ameliorate some of the problems?
• Does lack of harmonization hinder access, especially by the politically and economically weakest?
• Can the international justice machinery, as presently organized, be made more universally accessible and equitable in the distribution of justice?
• What effect do current structural, financial and procedural arrangements have on the quality and distribution of justice?
• What should happen where jurisdictions overlap?
• How is the international justice machinery to be funded?
To foster understanding of the issues raised by the rapid multiplication of international fora and the challenges created by the absence of coordinated growth, PICT has carried out a comprehensive mapping of the multitude of international judicial, quasi-judicial and dispute settlement mechanisms, promoted research and organized symposia and lectures on key issues.