156-Questions relating to the Seizure and Detention of Certain Documents and Data (Timor-Leste v. Australia)

On December 17th, 2013, Timor-Leste filed an application instituting proceedings against Australia before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) relating to the seizure and detention by Australian agents of extremely sensitive documents. Among these documents, taken from the business premises of one of Timor-Leste’s legal advisers, were items relating to an ongoing arbitration proceedings on the Timor sea between the two States.

On December 17th, 2013, Timor-Leste also filed a request for the indication of provisional measures to protect its rights and prevent documents and data seized by Australia from being used against the interests and rights of Timor-Leste in the context of the above mentioned arbitration proceedings and in respect of any other matters relating to the Timor Sea and its ressources.

In its order issued on March 3rd, 2014, the ICJ ordered Australia to do everything in its power to ensure that the content of the items seized would not be used against Timor-Leste in any proceedings until such time that the present case would be concluded. All documents and copies were to be kept under seal until any further decision of the Court. Lastly, Australia should not interfere in any way with communications between Timor-Leste and its advisers in any pending arbitration or court proceedings.

Order of 03-03-2014.pdf

A few months later, Australia expressed the desire to return the seized documents. That wish was granted by the Court, following which,  the Agent for Timor-Leste informed the Court that his country wanted to withdraw its application from the Court. Australia having no objection, the ICJ struck the case of the List by an order dated June 11th, 2015.

Order of 11-06-2015.pdf

This summary is provided for informational purposes only, does not involve the responsibility of Dome and should in no way be used as a substitute for a careful reading of the judgment and order of the case.