While a significant number of states have deposited declarations under article 36(2) of the Statute of the International Court of Justice recognizing the ICJ’s compulsory jurisdiction over their disputes, the United Kingdom is the only permanent member of the UN Security Council that maintains such a declaration. However, the UK’s recent reservations undermine its declaration’s ability to ensure compulsory jurisdiction over the UK’s disputes. This article first interrogates whether the UK’s reservations exclude in practice the jurisdiction of the Court, such that none of the permanent members of the Security Council are subject to compulsory jurisdiction under the optional clause. Second, it contemplates the reasons underlying the UK’s new approach to its declaration, exploring whether these are peculiar to the UK, or are rather indicative of a broader backlash against international courts and tribunals.

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