Third States and the Jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice: The Monetary Gold Principle

Tobias Thienel


The Monetary Gold principle is widely recognised as preventing the International Court of Justice from deciding a case between two parties where the legal interests of a third State take centre stage. The principle takes its name and much of its authority from the 1954 judgment in the Monetary Gold case. It has received judicial attention in important subsequent cases, and together with those later cases, it has received a great deal of academic attention. Even so, the precise doctrinal basis of the principle remains somewhat unsettled. Moreover, there remains some uncertainty as to when the Monetary Gold principle applies and even as to whether it is actually correct. This article seeks to explore the underlying logic of the Monetary Gold principle, and against that background to explain how the principle applies. The material reach of res judicata is exposed as a decisive criterion in delineating the application of the Monetary Gold principle.


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