Top 20 Landmark Judgements of International Law
Top 20 Landmark Judgements of International Law

Top 20 Landmark Judgements of International Law


  1. West Rand Central Gold Mining Compy. v/s R

Facts of the case being, before the outbreak of the war between Great Britain and the South African Republic, gold belonging to the Company was wrongfully seized by the South Asian Republic and after that,  war broke out and the South African Republic was conquered by the Britishers. The Company claimed of right that in consequence the obligations of the South African Republic with respect to the gold had devolved upon the state of Great Britain. Issue arose, whether international law could form part of the criminal law of England. To this, The Court held that for a valid international customs it is necessary that it should be roved by satisfactory evidence that the custom is of such nature which may receive general consent of the States and no civilized state shall oppose it.


  1. Porugal v/s India

The fact to this case being, Portugal held several small territories within India, one on the coast but the others were inland. Portugal claimed that they had a right of passage to its inland territories over Indian land which they argued that India had interfered with. The issue arose was, Whether or not Portugal had a customary right over Indian territory to its enclaves. To this the ICJ pointed out that when in regard to any matter or practice, two states follow it repeatedly for a long time, it becomes a binding customary rule. Still other resolutions amount to an interpretation of the rules and principles which he charter already contains and which are in binding upon States.


  1. v/s Keyn

The International Court in this has rightly held that International Law is based on justice, equality and conscience which have been accepted by practice of States and majority of the states of the World.


  1. Ex parte Petroff

In this leading case two persons were found guilty of throwing explosive substances on the Soviet Chancery. The bench convicted those persons for the offence of throwing explosive substances.


  1. Paqueta v/s Habanna

The fact being, two fishing vessels and their cargoes were running in and out of Havana and sailing under the Spanish flag was a fishing smack which regularly engaged in fishing on the coast of Cuba. Inside the vessels were fresh fish which the crew had caught.The owners of the vessels were not aware of the existence of a war until they were stopped by U.S. squadron. No incriminating material like arms were found on the vessels and neither they made any attempt to run the blockade after learning of its existence nor did they resist their arrest. To which the issue whether or not the coastal fishing vessels with their crews and cargoes are excluded from prizes of war arose. Here, the Court held that, In some states like USA and UK international Law is treated as part of their own law. In this case Justice Gray observed that the international law is a part of our law and must be administered by courts of justice.


  1. Queen v/s Ken

It was held that there is no such institution or body which can enact laws for sovereign states and there is no court also which can enforce its decision and to bind the states.


  1. Jolly George v/s Bank of Cochin

In this the question arose as to whether any international agreement entered by India automatically becomes binding or not. To this, the Court held that any agreement does not become part of Indian constitution automatically, but the positive commitment of state parties inspires their legislative action.


  1. Shri Krishna Sharma v/s State of west Bengal

It was decided that whenever the court interprets the domestic Municipal Law, it should be taken into consideration that it does not go against International Law.


  1. Magan Bhai, Ishwar Bhai Patel v/s Union of India

In this case Court accepted the implementation of Kutch Agreement between India and Pakistan on the basis of correspondence between them.


  1. Bank of Ethopia v/s National Bank of Egypt and Liquori

An Italian decree was promulgated after the capture of Addis Ababa to dissolve the bank of Ethopia. That bank claimed certain accounts and orders against the national bank of Egypt and also against the liquidator who was appointed under that Italian decree.

Whether or not  the bank of Ethopia has been dissolved or had  ceased to exist, and if not whether or not it hadthe authority to bring the action. The court held that in view of the fact that the British government granted recognition to the Italian Government as being the de facto government of the area of Abyssinia which was under Italian control, effect must be given to an Italian decree in Abyssinia dissolving the plaintiff bank appointing liquidator.


  1. Luther v/s Sagor

A timber industry in Soviet Russia was ran by a  British citizen Luther, later on it was nationalized by the Russian Government and then Luther left Russia to Sagor came to an agreement with Russian company to buy timber which the company sent accordingly but when it reached UK, Luther claimed the timber to be his timbers and said that the Court of UK cannot validate the rule of Russian law. Here, the issue as to whether or not the nationalization was legal and valid arose. To which it was held that there is no distinction between de facto and de jure recognition for the purpose of giving effect to the internal acts of the recognized authority. It was also held that as far as   internal affairs of a state are concerned De facto recognition is interim and it can be withdrawn.


  1. S v/s Schooner

Where an issue as to how the law shall be followed, The International Court in this has congruously held that International Law International Law should be based on general principles of the states and the such concerned practices.


  1. Decisions of International Arbitral Tribunals

In this landmark case the jurists have rightly too pointed out that in most of the arbitral cases arbitrators act like mediators and diplomats rather than as judges as in Kutch Award-1968.


  1. The Caroline case

In this case the issues as to whether or not the states are also to be given the right of self defense as that of individuals arose. To this it was rightfully declared that the necessity of self defense should be instant overwhelming and leaving no choice of means and no moment for deliberation.  But this right is available only when: –

i)There has been attack on any state.

  1. ii)No step has been taken by the Security Council for international peace and security.


  1. Island of Palmas Arbitration

The facts being, Both the United States and Netherlands laid claim  the ownership of the Island of Palmas. On the one side the U.S. maintained that it was part of the Philippines, where on the other side the Netherlands claimed it as their own. To this issue arose as to, can a title which is from the beginning  prevails over a definite title found on the continuous and peaceful display of sovereignty. To this,

It was held that in order to decide whether on a territory occupation of a particular state exists or not, it is seen whether that State has an effective authority and control over that territory or not.


  1. Schooner Exchange v/s McFaddon

Brief facts to the case is, Two Americans claimed for ownership and entitlements of the schooner Exchange. Here the issues as to whether National ships of war viewed as been exempted by the consent of the power of the friendly jurisdiction whose port the ship enters?

In this caseA French Naval Vessel stayed in Philadelphia for repairs after a storm. Some persons sought possession of the ship on the ground that in reality the ship Schooner Exchange.


  1. Union of India v/s Sukumar Sengupta

When India had leased three Bigha to Bangladesh it was held that the concessions given to Bangladesh over the said area amounted to servitude and does not lead to transfer of possession of territory to Bangadesh.


  1. Lonian Ship Case

The court held that a State may remain international person even though it is dependent upon some other State. Hence, a state under protectorate or any trusteeship is an international person.


  1. KTMS Abdul Cader and others v/s Union of India

The court held that Act has no extra-territorial application and hence the State government has no power under the Act to pass orders of detention against persons who at the time when the orders were made were not within India but were out-side its territorial limits. The jurisdiction of a State is not always a co-incident with its territory.


  1. Vavasseur v/s Krupp

Facts of the case were, twelve former directors of the Krupp Group were accused for actively participating in the Nazis’ preparation for an aggressive war by enabling armaments to German military forces and also for using slave laborers in their companies. The plaintiff contended that the Japanese Govt., has violated his patent rights and therefore he demanded that the delivery of the goods by it be stopped. But the court had that it had no jurisdiction over the property of the foreign sovereigns more especially with what we call the public property of the State of which he is sovereign.





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