Dr James Summers

Date: 22 July 2010

International Law Lecturer James Summers cited in the International Court of Justice, 22 July 2010

Dr. James Summers, who lectures in international law at Lancaster Law School, was recently cited in the International Court of Justice. In the Kosovo Advisory Opinion of 22 July 2010, Summers' book, Peoples and International Law was referred to by Judge Canšado Trindade in his separate opinion concerning the concept of the "people" (p. 52).

The International Court of Justice's Statute allows the Court to draw on the academic works as a subsidiary source for determining the law: "teachings of the most highly qualified publicists of the various nations". The Court itself refrains from citing specific authors in its decisions, though references may sometimes be found in the separate opinions of its judges.

The Kosovo Advisory Opinion concerned the highly controversial unilateral declaration of independence by Kosovo on 17 February 2008. Kosovo was formally part of Serbia, though it had been governed by the United Nations since 1999. 69 countries had recognised Kosovo's independence prior to the opinion. However, many countries, such as Russia, Spain and Greece have criticised the declaration, expressing concerns that it set a precedent for minorities to break away from their states. The International Court, however, found that the independence declaration did not violate international law.

Dr Summers is currently editing a book on Kosovo entitled The Kosovo Precedent.


Further information

Associated departments and research centres: Law