Centre for International Courts and Tribunals



Find out more about the Centre for International Courts and Tribunals


As a part of PICT, the Centre at UCL addresses the legal, institutional and financial issues arising from the increase in the number of international courts and tribunals and the growing number of cases before these courts.

The Centre’s overall mission is to provide a forum to promote ideas that contribute toward more effective, equitable and efficient delivery of international justice. The activities of the Centre contribute to the full range of PICT activities, including:

  • Disseminating information on international judicial bodies and international initiatives to promote the rule of law, in particular through the News section of the PICT web site;
  • Research into policy, legal and operational issues in the administration of international justice in the twenty-first century, such as the composition and independence of the international bench;
  • Training of lawyers, especially from developing countries, in the functioning of international courts and tribunals, both through regional and international training courses.
  • Teaching on the LLM offered by the Faculty of Law at UCL, and providing doctoral supervision and post-doctoral placements.
  • Promoting dialogue and exchange of experience on and among international judicial bodies on policy and operational issues, through conferences, colloquia and seminars.
  • Providing technical assistance, as appropriate, on matters related to the work of international judicial bodies.


PICT and the Centre have been established against the background of an increase in the number of international courts and tribunals at the global and regional levels

The International Court of Justice and the Permanent Court of Arbitration, both located at The Peace Palace in The Hague, are well-established, as is the European Court of Justice (Luxembourg).

These bodies have been joined over the past three decades by a large number of other judicial and quasi-judicial institutions, such as the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (established under the 1982UN Convention on the Law of the Sea).

In the economic field the World Trade Organisation’s panels and its Appellate Body play an increasingly important role, as do the World Bank’s International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) and inspection panels established by the World Bank and various regional development banks.

In the field of human rights regional bodies include the European Court of Human Rights, the Inter-American Commission and Court of Human Rights, and the African Commission and Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights, and other bodies have been established within the framework of the United Nations to address civil and political and economic and social rights, torture, discrimination and children’s rights.

In the field of international criminal law the 1990’s saw the establishment by the UN Security Council of two ad hoc criminal tribunals, for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and for Rwanda (ICTR). The Statute of the International Criminal was adopted in 1998 and came into force in 2002.

The emergence of an international judiciary gives rise to a wide range of legal and policy issues, from the independence of the international judiciary to the relations between international and national courts, as well as new international issues such as forum shopping, lis pendens and res judicata.

It is against this context that PICT and the Centre have the following aims and objectives:

  • to facilitate access to and transparency in the work of international courts and tribunals;
  • to enhance the effectiveness of international courts and tribunals;
  • to promote greater knowledge about international courts and tribunals; and
  • to promote international peace through international justice and rule of law.