International Court of Justice

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Attending a hearing/sitting

Hearings consist of a series of presentations by agents and counsel for the parties, lasting from a few minutes to several hours. Readings of the Court's decisions can take between one and three hours.

To find out the date of the next scheduled hearings or reading of a decision (at a public sitting), please consult the calendar.

Because of the limited number of seats available in the Great Hall of Justice, priority is given to the delegations of the States that are parties to the case and to members of the diplomatic corps.

On each day of the hearings, a number of seats are allocated to members of the public on a first come, first served basis. There is no advance procedure for admission, and prior applications to attend the hearings cannot be considered.

The Information Department strongly advises members of the public to follow the proceedings on the Court's website.

Individuals who nonetheless wish to attend the hearings are asked to present themselves at the Peace Palace gates, with their identity card or passport, not later than 30 minutes before the start of each hearing.

They will be required to walk through a metal detector and leave an identity document as a deposit in order to receive a pass allowing them access to the Great Hall of Justice. The identity document can be retrieved at the end of the sitting, when the pass is returned.

Entry to the Peace Palace is allowed only for the purpose of attending the hearings: it does not include a visit or tour of the premises. Visitors are kindly requested to leave the Peace Palace immediately after the end of the sitting.

Photography is strictly prohibited.

Hearings and sittings are held in the Court's two official languages: English and French. Simultaneous interpretation is available from and into both languages, and headphones are provided.

Members of the public are requested to dress appropriately.

Large bags, backpacks and electronic equipment are not permitted.

The security staff are authorized to refuse access without giving reasons.