Dataset Open Access

Corpus of Decisions: International Court of Justice (CD-ICJ)

Fobbe, Sean



The Corpus of Decisions: International Court of Justice (CD-ICJ) collects and presents for the first time in human- and machine-readable form all published decisions of the International Court of Justice (ICJ). Among these are judgments, advisory opinions and orders, as well as their respective appended minority opinions (declarations, separate opinions and dissenting opinions). The International Court of Justice has kindly made available these documents on its website.

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) is the primary judicial organ of the United Nations and one of the most consequential courts in international law. Called the ‘World Court’ by many, it is the only international court with general thematic jurisdiction. While critics occasionally note the lack of compulsory jurisdiction and sharply limited access to the Court, its opinions continue to have an outsize influence on the modern interpretation, codification and wider development of international law. Every international legal textbook covers the workings and decisions of the Court in extenso and participation in international moot courts such as the Philip C. Jessup Moot Court without regular reference to and citation of the International Court of Justice’s decisions is unthinkable.

This data set is designed to be complementary to and fully compatible with the Corpus of Decisions: Permanent Court of International Justice (CD-PCIJ), which is also available open access.



A peer-reviewed academic paper describing the construction and relevance of the data set entitled 'Introducing Twin Corpora of Decisions for the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and the Permanent Court of International Justice (PCIJ)' was published open access in the Journal of Empirical Legal Studies (JELS). It is also available in print at JELS 2022, Vol. 19, No. 2, pp. 491-524.

If you use the data set for academic work, please cite both the JELS paper and the precise version of the data set you used for your analysis.


New in Version 2023-05-07

  • Full recompilation of data set
  • Entire computational environment now version-controlled with Docker
  • Scope extends up to case number 187: Obligations of States in respect of climate change (Advisory Opinion)
  • Upgrade Tesseract OCR to version 5.3.1
  • Upgrade OCR training data to "tesseract_best"
  • Simplified config file
  • Simplified function loading
  • Ensure that debug mode only processes cases once
  • Fix download manifest
  • Update download function
  • Contents of source ZIP file linked to Git manifest



The CD-ICJ will be updated two times per year, ideally every six months. In case of serious errors an update will be provided at the earliest opportunity and a highlighted advisory issued on the Zenodo page of the current version. Minor errors will be documented in the GitHub issue tracker and fixed with the next scheduled release.

The CD-ICJ is versioned according to the day the data was acquired from the website of the Court, in the ISO format YYYY-MM-DD. Its initial release version was 2021-11-23.

Notifications regarding new and updated data sets will be published on my academic website at or via Mastodon at


Recommended Variants

Target Audience Recommended Variant
Practitioners PDF_BEST_MajorityOpinions
Traditional Scholars PDF_BEST_FULL
Quantitative Analysts CSV_BEST_FULL


Please refer to the Codebook regarding the relative merits of each variant. All variants are available in either English or French. Unless you have very specific needs you should only use the variants denoted 'BEST' for serious work.




Key Metrics

Version: 2023-05-07

Temporal Coverage: 31 July 1947 – 25 April 2023

Documents: 2264 (English) / 2228 (French)

Tokens: 15,625,026 (English) / 16,015,389 (French)

File Formats: PDF, TXT, CSV


Source Code and Compilation Report

With every compilation of the full data set an extensive Compilation Report is created in a professionally layouted PDF format (comparable to the Codebook). The Compilation Report includes the Source Code, comments and explanations of design decisions, relevant computational results, exact timestamps and a table of contents with clickable internal hyperlinks to each section. The Compilation Report and Source Code are published under the same DOI:


For details of the construction and validation of the data set please refer to the Compilation Report.



This data set has been created by Mr Seán Fobbe using documents available on the website of the International Court of Justice ( It is a personal academic initiative and is not associated with or endorsed by the International Court of Justice or the United Nations.

The Court accepts no responsibility or liability arising out of my use, or that of third parties, of the documents and information produced, used or published on the Zenodo website. Neither the Court nor its staff members nor its contractors may be held responsible or liable for the consequences, financial or otherwise, resulting from the use of these documents and information.


Academic Publications (Fobbe)

Website —

Open Data —

Code Repository —

Regular Publications —



Did you discover any errors? Do you have suggestions on how to improve the data set? You can either post these to the Issue Tracker on GitHub or write me an e-mail at


Open Data Impact Award 2022 (Stifterverband für die deutsche Wissenschaft)
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