There will be no British judges on International Court of Justice bench for the first time ever

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UK withdraws its candidate after facing stiff competition from Indian judge

A public hearing at the ICJ

The United Kingdom (UK) will not have a judge on the bench of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for the first time ever.

Christopher Greenwood, the current British judge, was running for re-election to serve a second nine-year term but dropped out of the running after six rounds of votes with Indian judge Dalveer Bhandari ended in a stalemate.

Although Greenwood had the majority among the United Nations (UN) Security Council, his rival secured the backing of the General Assembly, according to reports. His withdrawal means it will be the first time the UK has not had a representative at the top court since its creation in 1946.

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The ICJ — located in the Peace Palace in The Hague, Netherlands — is the judicial branch of the UN. It has 15 members and its primary role is to settle disputes between countries.

Ambassador Matthew Rycroft, the UK’s permanent representative to the UN, said: “The UK has concluded that it is wrong to take up the valuable time of the Security Council and the UN General Assembly with further rounds of elections.” He 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.”

Greenwood is a former Essex Court Chambers barrister who was first elected to the ICJ in 2008. He was professor of international law at the London School of Economics and was knighted in the 2009 New Year honours. Other judges to receive the nod this time around were Ahmed Yusuf of Somalia, Ronny Abraham of France, Nawaf Salam of Lebanon and Antonio Augusto Cancado Trindade of Brazil.

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