Oral Answers to Questions — League of Nations Court of International Justice.

– in the House of Commons on 27th February 1922.

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Sir J. D. REES:

53.

asked the Lord President of the Council whether the League of Nations' Court of International Justice will have compulsory jurisdiction where two States at variance agree to accept compulsory arbitration in questions of international law; whether such jurisdiction will exist only in respect of the particular difference in regard to which the intervention of the said Court is invited; and whether it is clear that petty States without navies will not be able to obtain decisions from the Court which might compromise the position of great nations dependent for their existence upon sea power and its undiminished rights, privileges, and opportunities?

Photo of Mr Arthur Balfour Mr Arthur Balfour , City of London

The answer to the first part of the hon. Member's question is in the affirmative. The answer to the second part depends entirely on the nature of the agreement by which the two States at variance resort to the arbitration of the Permanent Court.

The answer to the third part of the hon. Member's question is supplied by Article 59 of the Statute for the Permanent Court, which provides that "the decision of the Court has no binding force except between the parties and in respect of that particular case."

Sir J. D. REES:

Is it quite certain that the lessons of the Declaration of London will not be forgotten and that no compromising or dangerous decisions will be given under these Articles?

Photo of Mr Arthur Balfour Mr Arthur Balfour , City of London

I can say nothing about the worth or want of worth of particular decisions, but they are particular decisions, and therefore they cannot have the effect my hon. Friend appears to anticipate; in other words, they cannot have the effect of producing a general law.