Overview of Australia's Engagement in the ICJ

Australia has been involved in five contentious cases before the Court. As an applicant, Australia has brought cases complaining of breaches of international law relating to French nuclear testing in the Pacific (disposed of in 1974) and Japan’s Antarctic whaling (2014). Australia has been a respondent in three ICJ actions: Nauru’s claim relating to responsibility for the exploitation of its phosphate lands (1992); Portugal’s claim that Australia had illegally recognised Indonesian sovereignty over East Timor (1995); and Timor-Leste’s claim that Australia had illegally seized documents from Timor’s lawyers (2014). In addition to these significant disputes, Australia has been involved in six of the Court’s advisory opinions, filing written statements on legal questions such as the consequences of the construction of a wall in the occupied Palestinian territory (2004), the legality of nuclear weapons (1996) and the institutional powers of the United Nations (1962).