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Listening For Silences In And Beyond The Courtroom: Methodological Tools For Understanding ICJ Territorial Disputes

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Chapter Summary

International lawyers observe and listen to the flow of debate in assessing conflicting claims and their ultimate resolution by the international community's pre-eminent legal decision-making institution, the International Court of Justice (ICJ). This chapter focuses on universalism and then the case studies offer specific instances of purported universalism in their exploration of colonialism and international law. It explores critical scholarship on the nature of legal universalism and the mainstream research agenda. The chapter develops the idea of silence, by suggesting that, rather than there being a lack of argument, it is a lack of capacity to hear other voices - or other dialects - that prevents universalism in the courtroom. It brings attention to the recurring narratives underpinning mainstream studies of ICJ disputes to understand how claims of universalism are made as well as how they can be sustained - or undermined.

Keywords: courtroom; International Court of Justice (ICJ); International Law; legal universalism



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