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The UK To Lose Its Place in the United Nation’s International Court of Justice

The UK is set to lose its seat in the UN’s International Court of Justice (ICJ) after a decision made this week to withdraw their judicial nominee. It will be the first time the UK is absent from the ICJ since the court’s conception in 1946.

Sir Christopher Greenwood was hoping to secure another nine-year term as one of the 15 judges in the UN court, but the British candidate lost out to Dalveer Bhandari of India.

   
  
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    United Nations flag.  Source: Wilfried Huss/WikiMedia

United Nations flag. Source: Wilfried Huss/WikiMedia

While Greenwood had the backing of the UN Security Council, Bhandari was favored by the General Assembly. In order to be successful, a candidate must win the support of both. After a lengthy deadlock, which consisted of six rounds of voting, Greenwood conceded.

"The UK has concluded that it is wrong to continue to take up the valuable time of the Security Council and the UN General Assembly with further rounds of elections,” said the British ambassador to the UN, Matthew Rycroft.

"The UK congratulates the successful candidates, including Judge Bhandari of India,” Rycroft continued. “We are naturally disappointed, but it was a competitive field with six strong candidates. If the UK could not win in this run-off, then we are pleased that it is a close friend like India that has done so instead.”

   
  
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    The Peace Palace, home to the ICJ.  Source: Yeu Ninje/WikiMedia

The Peace Palace, home to the ICJ. Source: Yeu Ninje/WikiMedia

The ICJ is the UN’s most important judicial body. They handle state-to-state disputes submitted by any of the UN’s 193 members. They also act as a legal advisory board for UN departments and other specialized agencies.

Despite the loss, Rycroft asserted that the UK would continue to stand by the ICJ “in line with [its] commitment to the importance of the rule of law in the UN system and in the international community more generally.”

 Many are worried, however, that Greenwood’s removal is yet another slip from the international stage for the UK.

Events at the ICJ are likely to be mirrored in the European Court of Justice as Britain’s exit from the European Union draws closer. At a Conservative party conference in October 2016, Theresa May stated: "We are not leaving (the EU) only to return to the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice. That is not going to happen."

With Brexit talks now well underway, the British public has yet to learn its fate in regards to EU involvement with UK legislation, and vice versa.