African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights • Central American Court of Justice • Committee Against Torture • Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women • Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination • Economic Court of the Commonwealth of Independent States • International Commissions of Inquiry • International Prize Court • Permanent Court of International Justice

    Permanent Court of International Justice    
    decisions · documents · jurisdiction · procedure · statistics · structure · timeline    
Proposals before 1919 Paris Peace Conference
20 March 1918 arbitration is mentioned in the British League of Nations Committee's plan submitted to the British Cabinet;
29 November 1918

arbitration is mentioned in the preliminary plan transmitted by M. Jessurand (the French Ambassador to the US) to Mr. Lasing (US Secretary of State);

16 July 1918

adjudication is discussed in detail in Colonel House's plan submitted to Woodrow Wilson (including compulsory jurisdiction, procedure and enforcement);

16 December 1918

arbitration and conciliation are mentioned in General Smut's Draft;

8 June 1918

international court is mentioned in the Draft of the French Ministerial Commission for the League of Nations, including execution of the decisions through a representative body. "At its demand, each nation shall be obliged, in agreement with the other nations, to use its economic, naval and military power against any recalcitrant States." (Article 4) 





international court is discussed in detail by the draft prepared by Danish, Norwegian and Swedish governments: should have been based on equality of states; 15 judges nominated by governments for election; judges elected by national groups at the head of PCA; not more than 2 of the same nationality; election for life/9 years; 7 = quorum; reasoning behind decision to be provided in a judgment; See: Avant-Projet de Convention sur une Organisation Juridique Internationale (Betänkande rörande en Internationell Rättsordning (Stockholm: 1919)


Draft created by Advisory Committee of the Swiss Federal Council: PCIJ is an organ of the League of Nations; established by the Conference of States for nine years; states would propose for 1-4 candidates and vote for 15 on the list electing 15 judges (7 of which with the highest vote would constitute the Bureau of the Court to elect a president and two vice-presidents); no judges-nationals of the parties to the dispute allowed on the bench; cases would be heard by 5 judges; sanctions would be proceeded with through the Permanent Delegation of the League, which would submit them to a council of mediation for decision.

Proposals during 1919 Paris Peace Conference
10 January 1919


arbitration and judicial decision is mentioned in the second draft of Woodrow Wilson's plan (along with a possibility to appeal arbitral awards to a Body of Delegates;

20 January 1919






international court is outlined in the British draft of a Covenant for the League of Nations (approved by the English Cabinet and submitted to President Wilson by a confidential letter of Lord Robert Cecil): three dispute settlement bodies: Court, Council, Conference. It contained a proposal to create (pending creation of the Permanent Court of International Justice) the 'Court of International Law' from national groups @ PCA (to be chosen by the Council or the Conference). Three month cooling off period. Jurisdiction was to be established on the basis of a pre-dispute treaty or post-dispute agreement. Flexibility in the procedure. Council/Conference could also unilaterally submit disputes for its consideration, but in these cases decision of the court would have no force unless confirmed by the report of the Conference or the Council.

25 January 1919

international court was not mentioned in the Resolution passed at the Plenary Session of the Preliminary Peace Conference creating a committee for discussion of plans of the League of Nations.

27 January 1919

Cecil-Miller Draft pays little attention to the international court, yet proposed 9 judges: 5 nominated by Allies, other 4 selected by Allies, but nominated by others.  

31 January 1919

Conference of American and British representatives holds that "provisions regarding the method of arbitration ... were  not essential, and that a general provision might be inserted for the creation of a Permanent Court."


Committee/Commission on the League of Nations (February 3, 1919 - February 13, 1919)

3 February 1919

arbitration and plans for establishment of the permanent international court (to  consider matters "which the parties recognize as suitable for submission to it for arbitration" Article XII) as well as three months cooling off period and dispute settlement through the Executive Council, all are mentioned in Hurst-Miller Draft (who were technical experts for the GB and USA respectively).

3 February 1919

Italian Draft: International Court of Justice were to be composed of judges appointed by all member-states for 6 years; consideration of individual cases through panels (president, vice-president, 1 judge chosen from the full Court by each party, and 4 other judges chosen by the judges themselves from their own numbers by secret ballot. Jurisdiction established through: 1) compromis; or 2) unilaterally by one party with authorization from the Council. Rules determined by parties in cases brought by compromis.

6 February 1919

considered: (1) Hurst-Miller Draft; (2) Draft of the French Ministerial Commission; (3) Italian Draft.

14 February 1919

Committee submits joint official draft of a Covenant for the League of Nations to the Peace Conference

27 February 1920

completion of the plan prepared by a joint committee created by neutral states (Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland): court would be open to all nations (members and non-members of the League of Nations; compulsory jurisdiction in several types of matters; guarantee of the performance of the decision through the League of Nations.

11-13 March 1919

Meetings of the Unofficial Inter-Allied League of Nations Conference held in London.

20-21 March 1919  

Meeting of the Commission with representatives of neutral states (Netherlands, Switzerland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Spain) none of the proposed changes have been accepted

26 March 1919

Commission/Committee on the League of Nations appoints the drafting committee .

11 April 1919

final English (i.e. language) version of the draft approved;

21 April 1919

final French (i.e. language) version of the draft approved ;

28 April 1919

Draft is adopted by the Preliminary Peace Conference.

Peace Treaties with Germany, Austria, Bulgaria and Hungary
7 May 1919

conditions of peace (including the Covenant of the League of Nations) communicated to Germany

9 May 1919  

German Counter-Proposal included: compulsory jurisdiction over legal disputes, jurisdiction over complaints from private persons; recognition of the state equality; the court would be in operation for 9 years; judges would be appointed by a Congress of States (not included in the Covenant)  


9 June 1919

Organization Committee's second meeting: proposition to establish a committee of jurists to discuss plans of the court.

23 June 1919

Austrian Counter-Proposal included a proposal for  the court with 15 judges and 8 deputy-judges; judges elected by the Assembly; no more than 1 national of the same state on the bench; parties could eliminate judges; judges nationals of the parties would be excluded, judges

28 June 1919

Treaty of Versailles was signed by the representatives of Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Cuba, Ecuador, France, Great Britain, Greece, Guatemala, Haiti, The Hedjaz, Honduras, Italy, Japan, Liberia, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Yugoslavia, Siam, Czechoslovakia, United States of America, Uruguay and Germany.
Covenant of the League of Nations constituted Articles 1-30 of the Treaty of Versailles, Saint-Germain, Neuilly and Trianon.  


4 August 1919

Swiss Federal Council's Consultative Committee's draft providing for international court communicated to the Swiss Federal Assembly.


29 August 1919

Norwegian Committee's draft of the court communicated to the Secretariat of the League of Nations


September 1919

Swedish Committee's draft of the court communicated to the Secretariat of the League of Nations

10 September 1919

Treaty of Saint-Germain signed by the above states and Austria


November 1919

Danish Committee's draft communicated to the Secretariat of the League of Nations

27 November 1919

Treaty of Neuilly signed by the above states and Bulgaria


10 January 1920

Covenant of the League of Nations came into force


16-27 February 1920

Conference representing Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland (see Grotius Annuaire Internationale, 1919-1920); 55-article projet on the question of the court.

19 March 1920

US Congress did not ratify the Treaty of Versailles

4 June 1920

Treaty of Trianon signed by the above states and Hungary

1 July 1921

USA signed a Treaty of Berlin with Germany.

1920 Advisory Committee of Jurists
12-13 February 1920

2nd Public Meeting of the Council of the League of Nation passed resolution on the formation of the Advisory Committee of Jurists (ACJ), responsible for the development of PCIJ.  


14 May 1920

creation of the Secretariat to assist the ACJ with Anzilotti (Under Secretary-General of the League of Nations) acting as a Secretary-General of the Committee and M. Åke Hammarskjöld as deputy. 

16 June 1920

First meeting of the ACJ at The Hague; Baron Descamps was elected President of the Committee , M. Loder Vice-President. 


16 June - 24 July 1920

35 Meetings of the Committee considering following:
- Italian, German and Austrian proposals at the Peace Conference;
- Convention for the est. of the CACJ;
- drafts of the Scandinavian committees;
- Swiss avant-projet;
- draft of the five neutral States;
- draft drawn up by the Netherlands Committee;
- draft prepared by the Inter-parliamentary Union;
- draft prepared by the Union Juridique Internationale .
Three main problems: compulsory jurisdiction and election of the judges.


Draft before the Council and the Assembly of the League of Nations


24 July 1920

Preparation of the Draft Scheme for the establishment of the PCIJ and Explanatory Report by M. de Lapradelle completed by ACJ.
Root-Phillimore plan: joint election of the judges by the Council and Assembly of the League (11 Judges and 4 Supplementary Judges)
Proposed compulsory jurisdiction by means of inter-state agreements on the specific categories of disputes.


3 August 1920

draft-scheme considered by the Council of the League of Nations;
Draft Scheme and Explanatory Report forwarded to the Member-States .

4 August 1920  

Draft-Scheme given for consideration to the members of the League of Nations  


23 October 1920

Draft-Scheme considered by the Council of the League of Nations: rejection of the compulsory jurisdiction;


15 November 1920

Meeting of the Assembly of the League of Nations at Geneva (44 states)
Appointment of the Third Committee (36 members) to deal with a question of jurisdiction.  


Draft before the Third Committee (November 17 - December 16, 1919)


17 November 1920

first (out of ten) meeting of the Third Committee (Chairman: M. Léon Bourgeios)
appointment of the Sub-Committee (Charman: M. Hagerup).


24 November - 10 December 1920

eleven meetings of the Sub-Committee


8-11 December 1920

Sub-Committee presented a revised Draft-Scheme and a Report to the Third Committee 
Third Committee:
- rejected compulsory jurisdiction
- included optional Clause and Article 36 of the Statute


Draft before the Council and the Assembly of the League of Nations


13 December 1920

Plenary Meeting of the Assembly considered Third Committee’s Scheme and Report.
Statute of the Court (as drafted by the Third Committee) was unanimously approved by Assembly through the ‘Resolution Concerning the Establishment of PCIJ’, to be submitted to the members of the League of Nations for adoption on the basis of the majority rule. Idea of the ratification of the Resolution would take place through the Protocol of Signatures and would result into the adoption of the Statute of the Court.  


14 December 1920

Council of the League of Nations adopted the draft of the Protocol of Signatures and considers a draft of an "Optional Clause"


16 December 1920  

Protocol of Signature became open for signature.


17 December 1920

Optional Clause became open for signature.


25 February 1921

Protocol of Signature had been signed on behalf of 27 Members of the League of Nations .
Council authorized election nomination of candidates for the first election of judges.


1 September 1921

Protocol of Signature had been ratified by 22 of 41 signatories. The Statute came into force.  


5 September 1921

Meeting of the Second Assembly.
By this time:
- 55 States have signed the Protocol of Signature of the Statute
- 47 States have ratified the Statute of the Court
- 48 States have signed the Optional Clause for compulsory jurisdiction (with/without reservations).  


1 April 1921

Member-States asked to provide the names of the members of the national groups created for the nomination of the candidates for the positions of the members of the Court.  


2 June 1921

Secretary-General addressed a request to the above groups to nominate the candidates.  


14 September 1921  

Two separate meetings of the Council and the Assembly elected 11 judges and 4 deputy-judges from the list of 89 names submitted by the groups.
Results of the election in the Assembly:
1. Altamira (Spain) 23 votes
2. Alvarez (Chile) 24 votes
3. Anzilotti (Italy) 24 votes
4. Barboza (Brasil) 38 votes
5. de Bustamente (Cuba) 26 votes
6. Finlay (Great Britain) 29 votes
7. Loder (Netherlands) 24 votes
8. Oda (Japan) 29 votes
9. Weiss (France) 30 votes
10. J.B.Moore (USA) 21 votes (second ballot)
11. Huber (Switzerland) 22 votes (fifth ballot)
Results of the election in the Council:
1. Altamira (Spain)
2. Anzilotti (Italy)
3. Barboza (Brasil)
4. de Bustamente (Cuba)
5. Descamps (Belgium)
6. Finlay (Great Britain)
7. Loder (Netherlands)
8. Moore (USA)
9. Nyholm (Denmark)
10. Oda (Japan)
11. Weiss (France)
After additional meeting of the Assembly & Council:
1. Altamira (Spain)
2. Anzilotti (Italy)
3. Barboza (Brasil) – died 1923 replaced by Epitacio da Silva Pessoa (Brasil)
4. de Bustamente (Cuba)
5. Finlay (Great Britain) died 1929 replaced by Cecil Hurst
6. Huber (Switzerland)
7. Loder (Netherlands)
8. Moore (USA) – resigned 1928 replaced by Charles Evans Hughes resigned 1930 replaced by Frank B. Kellogg
9. Nyholm (Denmark)
10. Oda (Japan)
11. Weiss (France) – died 1928 replaced by Fromageot (France)
Deputy-Judges elected by the Assembly and the Council:
1. Negulesco (Romania)
2. Wang (China)
3. Yovanovitch (Yugoslavia)  

16 September 1921

Fourth Deputy-Judge - Beichmann (Normay) elected at a result of the joint conference of the representatives of the Assembly and the Council.  


21 September 1921

Meeting of the Assembly.
Confirmation of the acceptance of the office by the judges.  


30 January 1922

Preliminary Session of the Court.
Election of the Dr.B.C.J.Loder as a President 1925-1927 (1925-1927 Judges Huber; 1928-1930 Judge Anzilotti); Weiss as a Vice-President (Huber from 1928) ; Åke Hammarskjöld as a Registrar.  

15 February 1922  

Public inaugural meeting of the Court in Peace Palace  


24 March 1922

Rules of the Court adopted


15 June 1922  

First Ordinary Session of the Court  


26 September 1924

Amendment of the Art. 14 of the Covenant: added a reference to judicial settlement, in addition to arbitration in Art. 12, 13 and 15.  


27 January 1926

US Senate’s Resolution on the question of the signing of the December 16th, 1920 Protocol  


18 March 1926

Meeting of the Council of the League considered the above resolution


September 1926  

Conference of the Signatories at Geneva. Consideration of the above resolution.  


Summer 1926

Revision of the Rules of the Court  


September 1927  

Amendment of the second paragraph in Article 71 of the Rules of the Court  


19 February 1929

US Government addresses a note to the Member-States and Secretary-General of the League of Nations on the question of the US’s participation in the activities of the Court.  


11-19 March 1929

Meetings of the Jurists’ Committee at Geneva on the question of the amendment of the Statute of the Court


September 1930

Election of the renewal of the Bench after nine-year period expired.  


4-12 September 1929

Conference of the States considered amendments proposed by the Jurists’ Committee. Produced “Protocol for the Revision of the Statute of the PCIJ”  


14 September 1929

Meeting of the Assembly. Consideration and adoption of the above Protocol. (16 article were amended). Major amendment: abolition of the deputy-judges and creation of a Bench of 15 judges that should have been permanently available for the exercise of their responsibilities


16 August 1930

Cuba “vetoes” ratification of the Revision Protocol on the basis of its Article 4.


9 September 1930

Council appoints a Committee of Jurists on the question of the protocol not being passed.


10 September 1930

Meeting of the Assembly


12 September 1930

Council adopts committee’s proposal.


25 September 1930

Plenary Assembly adopts three resolutions on the question of the inadmissibility of the Revision Protocol and two resolutions regarding remuneration of the judges.
Results: increase of the number of judges (from 11 to 15) and creation of the permanent sessions of the court

    1. Alexander P. Fachiri The Permanent Court of International Justice: Its Constitution, Procedure and Work 2nd Edition, (London: Humphrey Milford, Oxford University Press, 1932).
2. Manley O. Hudson The Permanent Court of International Justice 1920 – 1942: A Treatise (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1943).
3. Antonio Sanchez de Bustamante, trans. Elizabeth F. Read, The World Court (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1925).
4. Antonio Sanchez de Bustamante “Permanent Court of International Justice” Minnesota Law Review 9 (December 1924 - June 1925).
Also see:
4. David Hunter Miller, The Drafting of the Covenant (New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1928), 
5. Alfred Zimmern, The League of Nations and the Rule of Law, 1918-1935 (London: Macmillan, 1936),

home | terms & conditions | about

Copyright © 1999-2015 WorldCourts. All rights reserved.