Freezing orders, search orders – these are words we have heard before. They form part of the interim injunctions a court may impose on a party pending final judgment. We rarely think twice about them when they arise in the context of a dispute before the English courts.

However, these are not words we typically associate with the International Court of Justice (“ICJ”). Because how could an international court, which already lacks enforcement power as it is, order something like a freezing order against a sovereign state? And yet, article 41 of the Statute of the ICJ allows it to indicate what is called “provisional measures” – temporary measures intended to preserve the rights of the parties – if it considers that circumstances so require.

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