Overlapping Jurisdictions and the Structure of Interdependence Between International Courts and Tribunals

  • Gordon Dim

Student thesis: Phd


Abstract This study recommends a strict or formalistic application of regulatory rules to resolve conflicts between overlapping and conflicting jurisdictions of international courts and tribunals. The study argues that a formalistic approach gives rise to a structure of interdependence. The structure, a hybrid of theoretical and practical steps, works together to maintain jurisdictional distinctions while engaging comity to coordinate relationships between overlapping jurisdictions. Currently, international legal scholars and practitioners apply the rules in a non-formalistic manner, which undermines the integrity and authority of international law. The study argues that reversing the situation requires a strict or formalistic application of the rules, which preclude conflict. At the same time, each jurisdiction keeps its judicial function distinct. However, with the formalistic application, preclusion is also not achieved. Instead, disorder ensues as the rules fail to preclude and keep each jurisdiction distinct. With the failure, a theoretical situation arises and needs deconstructing to keep the jurisdictions distinct to maintain their judicial function so as not to undermine the integrity of international law. After deconstruction, comity is engaged to resolve this hypothetical conflict using approaches interconnecting the binary opposing or overlapping jurisdictions. Thus, a theoretical framework of interdependence evolves, offering an entirely new perspective in understanding relationships within the international judicial order. This original contribution begins with a strict or formalistic interpretation of overlapping jurisdictions before applying the regulatory rules strictly. The study also recognises that overlapping jurisdictions are dormant binary oppositions activated when the regulatory rules are triggered formalistically. However, when the rules fail to preclude and maintain order by keeping them distinct, disorder and indeterminacy ensue. Thus, deconstruction is applied to differentiate the binary opposing jurisdictions to keep them distinct. After which, comity-based approaches that build relationships resolve the jurisdictional conflicts while each jurisdiction remains distinct. This hybrid process occurs in three stages or steps through the different chapters of the study. This thesis comprises seven chapters. Chapter one introduces the study identifying the problems and conceptualising the key words. Chapter two explores the issue of overlapping jurisdictions and fragmentation, while chapter three explores the theoretical positions involved above. Chapter four analyses the regulatory rules for the case studies in chapter five. Meanwhile, chapter six analyses the comity based approaches and issues encountered in the case studies. The study concludes in chapter seven with a review of the entire research process conclusion. The study also makes some recommendations in light of this innovation in resolving jurisdictional conflicts maintaining the integrity and authority of each jurisdiction without compromising the integrity and authority of the international legal order.
Date of Award1 Aug 2022
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorYenkong Ngangjoh Hodu (Supervisor)


  • fragmentation and parallel proceedings
  • interdependence
  • comity
  • structuralism
  • deconstruction
  • indeterminacy
  • triple identity standard
  • regulatory rules
  • preclusion
  • Overlapping Jurisdictions
  • binary oppositions

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