CIDS Brown Bag Seminar No. 4
Tuesday, 26 May 2020

"Not Findings": The Politics of Obiter Dicta in International Adjudication

Niccolo RidiDr. Niccolo Ridi, Professor, University of Liverpool.

While it is undisputed that previous decisions of international adjudicators have no binding force as ‘precedents’, the constant stream of references to prior judgments and awards is a well-known feature of the practice of international courts and tribunals. Until recently, the practice has enjoyed broad acceptance as increasing the legitimacy of the adjudicative process, and, where reference was made to decisions of other international adjudicators, as conducive to the circulation of ideas and solutions within the international judiciary. In the last few years, however, such referencing practices have come under increased scrutiny, and sometimes portrayed as less neutral than traditionally thought. This seminar will focus on one specific strand of criticism, directed to the phenomenon of ‘obiter dicta’ (observations that, though not necessary for the decision, are nonetheless included in it), which have been found to amount to a symptom of bad decision-making or, from the perspective of the adjudicator using them, bad precedent-following. The discussion will address the issue by assessing, empirically, the extent to which the challenges that have sometimes been levelled against adjudicators have merit, and  resituating the practice within a more grounded discussion of the theory of precedent in international adjudication.

We have closed the registration. The seminar is fully booked. We hope to see you at the future Brown Bag Seminar. 


Registration Date

Registration before
Thursday, 14 May 2020 at 12:00