Chicago Journal of International Law


The last 31 years of my life have been spent as an international legal adviser, an international "quasi-judge," and an international judge at the World Bank, the United National Administrative Tribunal, and the Commonwealth International Arbitral Tribunal. The experience covered not only the legal and judicial field, but also diplomacy, management of people, and absorbing equally the iridescence of "greatness" and the barbs of "graters"! My early experiences in the legal department of the World Bank provided me with a solid foundation for my later work in the international administrative law field. While in the legal department, apart from my routine work, I dealt with such issues as expropriation, the developing law of the sea in the 1970s, and the development of the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes ("ICSID"). Additionally, my academic work in the field served to supplement these professional endeavors. Accordingly, not only was I able to develop my skills as an international lawyer and jurist, but I was also able to contribute practically and intellectually to the solution of problems, which helped me later in the World Bank Administrative Tribunal ("WBAT") and the United Nations Administrative Tribunal ("UNAT"). In the Legal Department of the World Bank (joined in 1970) where I later acted as Chief Counsel, I had some interesting special assignments. The routine work itself presented significant challenges concerning lending agreements for development projects. The World Bank often missed its true purpose, namely as a development agency for developing nations and not as a club primarily for the promotion of the interests of the few rich capital exporting countries. For example, in regard to a palm oil project, there was a feeling that the project should not jeopardize the interests of direct or indirect competitors among the capital exporting member-States. In principle, however, its justification lay solely in enabling the indigenous palm oil industry which provided labor and income opportunities sustainably to develop and flourish. In another case a project appraiser blindly tried to introduce high environmental standards which the borrower could never practically and economically have maintained because of the level of development of its economy and the expense involved. The reason for introducing the standards was that they were imposed in the appraiser's (European) country. In both cases, however, the voices of the "graters" were stilled. [CONT]