|III.||The International Court of Justice|
|2.||THE JURISDICTION OF THE INTERNATIONAL COURT OF JUSTICE|
|2.2.||Conditions for a Decision on the Merits|
(Spain v. Canada)
Jurisdiction of the Court
Judgment of 4 December 1998
I.C.J. Reports 1998, p.432
[p. 467-468 ] 88. Finally, the Court notes that, in its Counter-Memorial of February 1996, Canada maintained that any dispute with Spain had been settled, since the filing of the Application, by the agreement concluded on 20 April 1995 between the European Community and Canada, and that the Spanish submissions were now without object. However, at the beginning of Canada's oral argument, its Agent informed the Court that his Government intended to challenge the Court's jurisdiction solely on the basis of its reservation: "It is on this problem, and no other, that the Court is called upon to rule". This position was confirmed at the end of the oral proceedings. Spain nonetheless draws attention to the "Court's statutory duty to verify the existence of a dispute between States in order to exercise its function".
It is true that it is for the Court to satisfy itself, whether at the instance of a party or proprio motu, that a dispute has not become devoid of purpose since the filing of the Application and that there remains reason to adjudicate that dispute (see Northern Cameroons (Cameroon v. United Kingdom), Preliminary Objections, Judgment, I.C.J. Reports 1963, p. 38; Nuclear Tests (Australia v. France), Judgment, I.C.J. Reports 1974, p. 271, para. 58). The Court has, however, reached the conclusion in the present case that it has no jurisdiction to adjudicate the dispute submitted to it by Spain (see paragraph 87 above). That being so, in the view of the Court it is not required to determine proprio motu whether or not that dispute is distinct from the dispute which was the subject of the Agreement of 20 April 1995 between the European Community and Canada, and whether or not the Court would have to find it moot.