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Editorial Policy, Coverage and Process

New decisions

The full text of new decisions of relevance to the International Courts of General Jurisdiction and Investment Claims modules is sourced by the reporters for that module as soon as possible after the judgment is given or the decision is made. We aim to publish this text, accompanied by a skeleton headnote, within 48 hours of receipt of the source text. The skeleton headnote contains basic information about the case, and so aids discoverability via searching and browsing within the wider ORIL service. This early publication of basic information on the decision is aimed at providing users with access to the text of the decision in advance of publication of a full case report. The decision will make its first appearance on the New and updated section of the home page at this stage, with a message indicating that the judgment is now available.

Publication of full case reports and analysis

For all modules except International Courts of General Jurisdiction a full case report is then commissioned, together with expert analysis if appropriate, to draw out the important points in the case and illustrate the relevance of the decision in the area of law and practice covered by that module, or indeed in the wider sphere of international law covered by other ORIL modules. Whilst in practice full reports are often published more quickly, OUP's editorial values mean that we will not sacrifice quality for speed. New decisions in international law often provoke intense academic debate, and we are careful to allow this to play out, and to give our experts sufficient time to understand and consider the importance and relevance of a decision before we ask them to submit their comment on it. Once the full report is published, the case will reappear on the New and updated section of the home page, with a note indicating that a full report is now available.

What does a full case report contain?

Full case reports contain a summary of the Facts and Holdings, in paragraphs numbered F1, F2 or H1, H2 respectively. They will also usually contain Analysis, in paragraphs numbered A1, A2 etc. OUP will add paragraph numbers to the judgment if the text is not already split into numbered paragraphs, to facilitate cross-referencing between report and full text. Links from within the case report take the user directly to the relevant paragraph(s) in the full text.

A full case report will also identify:

  • the core issue(s) in the case
  • the subject terms and keywords that have been applied to the report by OUP
  • any further secondary sources which discuss the decision, and
  • any previous and subsequent stages in the proceedings, or any related proceedings of which the reporter or OUP's editors are aware.

In addition, for International Investment Claims (IIC) cases only, a full report will also contain:

  • a note of the governing law applied and
  • a note of the arbitral rules applicable to the arbitration

Full case reports also contain lists of cases and instruments cited. The policy for the inclusion of cases and instruments in this list varies between modules. These differences are detailed in the coverage and selection guidance for each module. References to decisions and instruments within the report or the full text of the decision link to the Oxford Law Citator. Within the Citator, users will find full citation information for any reported decision, once enhancement of the report and the full text of the decision/judgment is completed following publication.

Translations of non-English decisions

For decisions given in languages other than English, OUP will publish any available official English language translation at the same time as the full case report.

Ensuring quality

OUP applies a strict and robust editorial process to legal content created for online publication. We have assembled an extensive network of reporters, commentators and reviewers to bring you the highest quality case reports and analysis. Reporters are chosen for their familiarity with the law in question, their geographical placement in a particular jurisdiction and their interest in the development of international law. All ORIL case reports are then peer reviewed by experts in the relevant area of international law to make sure that quality standards are met and that analysis provided is fresh and relevant. The involvement at this stage of OUP's partners (who are experts from a variety of top-class institutions and organisations specialising in various aspects of international law) ensures that only the best quality reports and analysis are submitted for publication. The reports then undergo a thorough edit by OUP's specialist legal editorial team, during which citations, facts and cross-references are checked and verified against the source text. Only when we are satisfied with the quality of the report is it submitted for online publication.

Links and inclusion in the Oxford Law Citator citator

Stage 1 - A basic record in the Oxford Law Citator is created for each reported case before it appears online, and the report is published with a link to that record already in place, and with links from the report to the full text of the decision/judgment already live. Links from cited items (whether case law, legislation, other instruments, official documents or secondary sources) will not be visible online at this stage.

Stage 2 - Following publication, further enhancement of the case report and judgment/decision full text takes place, to allow it to be incorporated fully into the Citator. This process can take a number of weeks, as citations are fully investigated and validated against external sources by our specialist research team, before the links are resolved to a unique Citator record for the cited item. The links within the document will be activated once this second stage of the enhancement process is completed.

Oxford Reports on International Law in Domestic Courts ('ILDC')

Coverage policy

ILDC covers international law as applied in the domestic courts of around 70 jurisdictions. The geographical scope is intended to be as broad as possible; ILDC currently reports on countries from every continent in the world and continues to add new reporters and new jurisdictions. The policy for ILDC has been to focus first on relevant cases from 2000 to the present for each jurisdiction, and then to work back through decisions earlier years to boost increase the size of the archive. Occasionally, ILDC reports on much earlier cases if they are very important for the development of international law jurisprudence in a particular jurisdiction.

ILDC policy is to cover case law not only from states but also from certain territorial entities that are not generally classified as states. This is done in recognition of the fact that judicial decisions of such entities can be of interest to international lawyers, as recognized by the International Court of Justice and the European Court of Human Rights, amongst others. Publication of judicial decisions from such territorial entities does not reflect an opinion as to whether these entities should or should not be classified as states.

Case selection criteria

Cases are selected for inclusion in ILDC according to two broad criteria:

Decisions which are relevant to the identification and interpretation of rules of international law, specifically

  • Cases which are expected to be cited in international courts, the domestic courts of other jurisdictions, or in scholarly work, as authority for a particular point of international law.
  • Cases which point to the development of new (interpretations of) international legal principles, or confirm well-established rules of international law.
  • Cases which address a point of international law that is controversial or may be changing.

Decisions which are relevant to the reception and application of international law by states in their national legal orders, including:

  • Cases which are of particular importance for the way in which international law is applied in a particular country, such as new approaches to the interpretation of national law in the light of international law or new approaches to effectuating judgments of international courts, or
  • Cases in which the method of reception is of interest in a comparative perspective because it differs from what is done in other states and/or because it may be an example that could be followed in other jurisdictions.

Citations listed in ILDC reports

Note that ILDC reports do not include lists of citations to domestic instruments and legislation mentioned in the decision, as such references generally have only a minor relevance to the international law issues involved. Further, only key domestic cases will be listed, as focusing too much on domestic case law is a distraction for the international law researcher. Full citation information (i.e. including all domestic citations) for each reported case on ILDC will be made available in the Oxford Law Citator, once enhancement is completed (following publication of the case report).

Oxford Reports on International Courts of General Jurisdiction ('ICGJ')

Coverage Policy

ICGJ aims to provide all ORIL users with comprehensive coverage of decisions from the most important and general international courts. ICGJ covers all contentious and advisory cases from the International Court of Justice, Permanent Court of International Justice, International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, and the Permanent Court of Arbitration. Basic orders regarding the setting of time limits for the filing of written and/or oral submissions by the parties are excluded from these content sets. ICGJ cases are published with a short headnote detailing key information about the decision, rather than a full report. This headnote contains basic information about the case including dates, parties and judges, but also provides indicators as to the subjects and keywords applied to the case, the core issue(s) and any previous or subsequent stages.

Oxford Reports on International Criminal Law ('ICL')

Coverage Policy

ICL focuses on decisions from a range of international criminal courts and tribunals, and at launch will cover decisions from the four main international criminal tribunals:

  • International Criminal Court
  • International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda
  • International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia
  • Special Court for Sierra Leone

ICL also includes decisions from post-WWII military tribunals such as the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg and the follow-up trials held under Control Council Law No 10.

Case selection criteria

ICL will cover all decisions from these courts which contain anything of jurisprudential importance. Interlocutory decisions which do not contain any point of law (whether that point is substantive, evidential or procedural) are excluded. Decisions chosen for inclusion in ICL at launch serve a variety of purposes and include:

  • Well-established judgments of particular significance
  • More contemporary decisions which were of immediate relevance in the development of ongoing cases,
  • Cases dealing with interesting procedural issues (occasionally a chain of decisions from different tribunals on the same issue),and
  • Cases (particularly those from the International Criminal Court) establishing constitutional precedent in setting out how that particular tribunal will function in the future.

Oxford Reports on International Human Rights Law ('IHRL')

Coverage Policy

IHRL covers international decisions on human rights from a variety of global and regional courts.

Cases on the European Convention on Human Rights

There is selective coverage of European Commission and Court decisions. Cases selected include all plenary and grand chamber judgments at the admissibility and merits stage of proceedings, as well as other decisions and judgments of significance for their contribution to the development of the case law of the European Convention. Headnotes and analysis of decisions up to the middle of 2007 have been supplied by the Centre for Human Rights Law at the University of Nottingham under the editorship of Professor David Harris. Headnotes and analysis of decisions from the middle of 2007 to the present are being supplied by a team from the Netherlands Institute of Human Rights at the University of Utrecht under the editorship of Professor Leo Zwaak.

Citations in ECHR reports on IHRL

IHRL reports on ECHR cases do not include citations to domestic instruments and legislation, as such references generally have only a minor relevance to the international human rights law issues. Where the provision is of real interest it will be noted in the headnote under the heading Related Developments. Full citation information (i.e. including all domestic citations) for each reported case on IHRL will be made available in the Oxford Law Citator, once enhancement is completed (following publication of the case report).

UN human rights bodies

The Castan Centre for Human Rights at Monash University will provide comprehensive coverage of all final decisions from the four UN Committees which are able to deliver views in individual cases:

  • Committee Against Torture
  • Committee for the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women
  • Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
  • Human Rights Committee

Final decisions entail findings on the merits, as well as findings of inadmissibility. In preparing cases for launch, the Castan Centre has prioritized those cases which have had the most jurisprudential impact, those that have related to a reporter's particular interest or expertise, and those that are most recent.

Decisions from the Inter-America system

American University, Washington College of Law provides comprehensive coverage of decisions from the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, and selected decisions of the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights.

Decisions under the African Charter on Human and People's Rights

The University of Pretoria provides comprehensive coverage of cases decided under the African Charter on Human and People's Rights, in both Court and Commission. Thereafter headnotes and analyses of decisions from this system will be provided by the Centre for Human Rights at the University of Pretoria. IHRL will include a complete database of all cases decided on the merits and those admissibility decisions that have contributed to the development of the case law of the African Charter.

Oxford Reports on International Investment Claims ('IIC')

Coverage Policy

IIC aims to publish all publicly available awards and decisions arising out of international investment arbitrations, and related enforcement or review decisions from national courts. The collection at launch included arbitral awards, decisions, and determinations issued under the auspices of bodies such as:

  • International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID)
  • ICC International Court of Arbitration
  • London Court of International Arbitration
  • Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce
  • Permanent Court of Arbitration
  • Association of South East Asian Nations arbitral tribunal

The site also reports awards and decisions of ad hoc international arbitral tribunals, such as those dealing with claims presented under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) or under the arbitration rules of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL). Determinations on insurance contracts made by the US Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) are also reported.

When will OUP commission a full report?

A full report of a decision or award is commissioned for IIC, together with expert analysis where appropriate, for the following types of awards and decisions:

  • Awards on the merits (including interim awards addressing issues relating to the merits of a dispute)
  • Awards dealing with jurisdictional issues
  • Awards dealing with damages, interest and costs
  • Annulment decisions
  • Domestic court decisions relating to international investment arbitrations

Generally, OUP will not commission full IIC case reports for the following types of awards and decisions:

  • Procedural orders
  • OPIC determinations

The full text of these decisions will remain online with a skeleton headnote to aid searching and browsing.

Editorial queries

Queries related to content, editorial policy or process, coverage or the enhancement of case reports for the Citator, and which are submitted to OUP via the Oxford Reports on International Law website will be acknowledged within 48 hours of receipt by the Academic Law department, Monday to Friday. If your query cannot be answered right away, we will make every effort to provide an answer within one week.