Document Type



Loyola of Los Angeles International and Comparative Law Review




This article examines the judicial function of international courts by considering both what it is and what it ought to be. The article identifies and describes two distinct functions - dispute settlement and peace promotion - and explores the tensions that exist in pursuing these two aims. It then introduces a third way of understanding the international judicial function that respects international courts’ traditional role as dispute settlers while allowing for their more engaged and proactive function as peacemakers. This third approach conceptualizes that the role of international courts is to resolve disputes. Doing so requires understanding courts as entities that exist within the broader system of international dispute resolution made up of many institutions and methods that collectively aim to promote global peace and security. It also demands considering how the judicial function of courts might evolve (e.g. combining judicial settlement with mediation through integrated approaches) to better serve the needs of nations and the global community in today's complex world.