Chicago Journal of International Law


Recent decades have seen a significant increase in the number of legal dispute settlement mechanisms, which has opened the door for NGO participation as "friends of the court." Confronted with unsolicited submissions by NGOs, the WTO dispute settlement organs and international investment tribunals have accepted the legality of such submissions. However, despite various decisions on the principled legality of amicus curiae submissions by NGOs, the effective acceptance or consideration of such submissions in particular cases remains limited. This Article aims to systematize the involvement of NGOs in international economic and investment disputes. This Article extracts the general principles for NGO participation in such disputes, both from the perspective of the legality of third-party interventions and from the perspective of the rationale, utility, and usefulness of such interventions in the dispute settlement processes, elements often linked to the "public interest" or "public character of a dispute.