Journal Note: Third-party State Intervention in Disputes Before the International Court of Justice: A Reassessment of Articles 62 and 63 of the ICJ Statute

Author George N Barrie

ISSN: 2522-3062
Affiliations: Professor, University of Johannesburg
Source: Comparative and International Law Journal of Southern Africa, The, Volume 53 Issue 1, p. 152 – 171


In the modern world, disputes before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) which are normally of a bilateral nature, increasingly also affect the interests of third states. Third states may in many instances wish to intervene in such disputes. Articles 62 and 63 of the Statute of the ICJ has attempted to accommodate such an eventuality. Article 62 provides for intervention by a third state if it has an interest of a legal nature which may be affected by the ICJ’s decision in the case. Article 63 allows for member states of a multilateral treaty to intervene in cases involving the interpretation of such a treaty. Intervention under Article 62 is in the discretion of the ICJ. Intervention under Article 63 is a right. Applications to intervene under Article 62 have only been successful in three instances and, applications to intervene under Article 63 have only been successful in two instances. It is submitted that the ICJ should be more flexible in allowing third-party interventions by interpreting Articles 62 and 63 less strictly. This is more in accordance with the greater interdependence of states in the modern world and can prevent the duplication of proceedings. Such flexibility can only enhance the effectiveness of the ICJ in achieving its mandate.