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date: 06 December 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter addresses the significance of the 1927 case of SS Lotus to assess jurisdiction in international law from a historical perspective. It situates the Lotus case in its historical context by considering the influence of the Westphalian legal order and Emer de Vattel’s understanding of state sovereignty on the Court’s judgment. The influence of both of these frameworks supports the positivistic stance taken by the Permanent Court of International Justice (PCIJ) in this decision, which remains present in the more recent jurisprudence of the International Court of Justice (ICJ). By examining the Lotus case, the chapter then looks at the theoretical assumptions that underpin state sovereignty and jurisdiction in international law.

Keywords: international courts, international tribunals, jurisdiction, statehood, jurisdiction of states, organs of states, sovereignty, ICJ, League of Nations, PCIJ

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