Admissibility of Claims before the ICJ: “Mootness” and the Nuclear Tests Case

Sandra STOICA*

Soimulescu & Soltan

Abstract: The present paper aims to provide a case analysis of one instance of inadmissibility before the International Court of Justice, illustrated by the Nuclear Tests Case (New Zealand v. France), namely, the so-called “mootness” of a claim. The paper presents a description of the main aspects of the case and the controversies which arise from this Judgment. On the face of it, the case in question is simply an example of what may be construed as an inadmissible claim before the ICJ. However, upon further study, it becomes apparent that, in reaching its decision in this matter, the Court applied its authority of interpretation to an Applicant’s claim quite extensively, essentially determining what the Applicant was effectively seeking, and set the precedent that unilateral public statements made by a State may be considered as legally binding undertakings, based on the principle of good faith. The analysis presented in the present paper seeks to bring to light the implications of the Court’s Judgment in the Nuclear Tests Case.

Key-words: International Court of Justice, admissibility, mootness, authority of interpretation

*LLM, Associate at Soimulescu & Soltan, Bucharest, Romania. Mrs. Stoica is a Romanian lawyer with a background in private and public international law. Mrs. Stoica has completed two Masters programmes in international law, including the Master in International Dispute Settlement (MIDS) in Geneva, Switzerland. Mrs. Stoica’s current practice is focused on international arbitration. Email: The opinions expressed in this paper are solely the author’s and do not engage the institution she belongs to.

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