BOOK REVIEW: Litigation Strategy at the International Court. A Case Study of the Nicaragua v. United States Dispute. By Terry D. Gill Skip over navigation
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Copyright (c) 1992 The American Society of International Law
American Journal of International Law

BOOK REVIEW: Litigation Strategy at the International Court. A Case Study of the Nicaragua v. United States Dispute. By Terry D. Gill

Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 1989. Pp. xv, 362. Dfl. 175; $ 95; 56.

April, 1992

86 A.J.I.L. 400


Keith Highet


In principle, one can only welcome a book about "litigation strategy" in international law. It is easy to forget that each case before the International Court of Justice or a court of arbitration is in fact the end result of a litigation process that took much time and effort, and that the positions taken and strategems employed in the course of that process have inevitably had a defining effect that helps determine the ultimate outcome of the case.

It is a gross oversimplification to consider any decision of the International Court -- in particular, a decision based on complex and lengthy written and oral proceedings -- without considering its litigation background. The recitation of the positions of the parties that has become standard prefatory material in any ICJ decision is compulsory reading for the scholar and student. Alas, for a full understanding of practically any case one must go further, and read at least the key passages of the written pleadings and the high points of the oral arguments in the case. As with the proverbial iceberg: seven-eighths of the content of a case can be understood only if one dives beneath the frigid waters of the decision and tries to view the underlying shape of the litigation as a whole.

It is therefore always gratifying and important to have scholars write about the litigation background of cases, even if one does not agree with all their conclusions and analysis. At least the essential service is being performed, which is ...
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