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International law: Recent and upcoming events and initiatives at UCL Laws

ucqhiry9 June 2017

This post covers several events and initiatives at UCL Laws concerning international law.

Book launch: ‘Domestic Law in International Investment Arbitration’

On 1 June 2017 UCL Laws and the UCL Workshop Series on Investment Law and Policy (ILAP), in conjunction with Investment Arbitration Reporter held an event for the launch of the book ‘Domestic Law in International Investment Arbitration‘ by Dr Jarrod Hepburn.

Domestic Law in International Investment Arbitration: About the book

Although domestic law plays an important role in investment treaty arbitration, this issue is little discussed or analysed. When should investment treaty tribunals engage with domestic law? How should investment treaty tribunals resolve matters of domestic law? These questions have significant ramifications for both the legitimacy of the investment treaty system and the arbitral mandate of the tribunal members. Drawing on case law, international law principles, and comparative analysis, this book addresses these important issues.

Part I of the book examines three areas of investment law-the ‘fair and equitable treatment’ standard, expropriation, and remedies-in which the role of domestic law has so far been under-appreciated. It argues that tribunals are justified in drawing on domestic law as a relevant factor in their rulings on these three issues. Part II of the book examines how questions of domestic law should be resolved in investment arbitration. It proposes a normative framework for use by tribunals in ascertaining the contents of the domestic law to be applied. It then considers counter-arguments, exemptions, and exceptions to applying this framework, and it evaluates how tribunals have ruled on questions of domestic law to date.

Investment treaty arbitration has endured much criticism in recent times, partly over fears of its encroachment on sovereignty. The book ultimately contends that closer attention by tribunals to one of the principal expressions of a state’s sovereignty-the elaboration of its domestic law-will reduce criticism of the field

Martins Paparinskis (UCL Laws) and Alison Macdonald (Matrix Chambers) served as discussants; the event was chaired by Lauge Poulsen (UCL Political Science).

Current Legal Problems lecture: ‘The Internationalists: How a Radical Plan to Outlaw War Remade the World’

On 8 June 2017, the Current Legal Problems lecture series hosted Professor Scott Shapiro, who presented his book project (co-authored with  Professor Oona Hathaway), ‘The Internationalists: How a Radical Plan to Outlaw War Remade the World‘. The event was chaired by Professor George Letsas (UCL Laws).

The Internationalists: How a Radical Plan to Outlaw War Remade the World: About the book

On a hot summer afternoon in 1928, the leaders of the world assembled in Paris to outlaw war. Within the year, the treaty signed that day, known as the Peace Pact, had been ratified by nearly every state in the world. War, for the first time in history, had become illegal the world over. But the promise of that summer day was fleeting. Within a decade of its signing, each state that had gathered in Paris to renounce war was at war. And in the century that followed, the Peace Pact was dismissed as an act of folly and an unmistakable failure. This book argues that that understanding is inaccurate, and that the Peace Pact ushered in a sustained march toward peace that lasts to this day.

The InternationalistIMG_20170609_113132s tells the story of the Peace Pact by placing it in the long history of international law from the seventeenth century through the present, tracing this rich history through a fascinating and diverse array of lawyers, politicians and intellectuals—Hugo Grotius, Nishi Amane, Salmon Levinson, James Shotwell, Sumner Welles, Carl Schmitt, Hersch Lauterpacht, and Sayyid Qutb. It tells of a centuries-long struggle of ideas over the role of war in a just world order. It details the brutal world of conflict the Peace Pact helped extinguish, and the subsequent era where tariffs and sanctions take the place of tanks and gunships.

The Internationalists examines with renewed appreciation an international system that has outlawed wars of aggression and brought unprecedented stability to the world map. Accessible and gripping, this book will change the way we view the history of the twentieth century—and how we must work together to protect the global order the internationalists fought to make possible.


Launch of a new journal: ‘Europe and the World: A Law Review’

On Monday, 19 June 2017, UCL Laws will hold an event to launch a new Journal, ‘Europe and the World – A Law Review’.

Prof. Miguel Poiares Maduro (EUI) will give the keynote speech and Caroline Wilson (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) will chair the event. For more details and registration, see here.

About the journal

Europe and the World – A Law Review aims to contribute to legal scholarship on the place of Europe in the world, with a particular but by no means exclusive focus on the EU’s external relations law.

 The Journal serves as a forum where the national, international and EU perspectives meet and engage. The journal is therefore irreverent of traditional distinctions between EU, international, and national law. While primarily offering legal doctrinal and theoretical analyses, the journal also publishes multi-disciplinary work and political science and international relations contributions with an external perspective on the law of EU’s external relations.

The Journal includes 4 articles  and 1 editorial:

  • ‘Making Transnational Markets: The institutional politics behind the TTIP’, Marija Bartl.
  • ‘The EU and International Dispute Settlement’, Allan Rosas.
  • ‘Of Presidents, High Representatives and European Commissioners: The external representation of the European Union seven years after Lisbon’, Frank Hoffmeister.
  • ‘(Not) Losing Out from Brexit’, Annette Schrauwen.
  • Editorial



Call for Papers: UCL Post Graduate and Early Careers Conference 2017

ucqhiry18 November 2016

The Art of Balancing: The Role of Law in Reconciling Competing Interests


University College London Faculty of Laws is pleased to invite submissions for its 2017 Postgraduate and Early Careers Conference to be held on 30-31 March 2017, at University College London, London, UK.

The conference is designed to provide current doctoral students and recent PhD graduates with a forum to present and discuss their work among academic peers from different backgrounds and legal disciplines. The conference aims to promote fruitful research collaboration between its participants, and to encourage their integration in a community of legal scholars.


Conference Theme

The Conference theme is “The Role of Law in Reconciling Competing Interests”.

Contemporary legal problems create the need to balance competing interests, values, rights, obligations, and freedoms. This Conference will explore the response of the law and legal actors to modern challenges, be it in the context of domestic law and national jurisdictions or in the framework of international law.

The increasing criticism against the fragmentation of legal fields have brought about the need to reconcile public, individual, and international interests. Additionally, the growing focus on States’ obligations to respect and protect human rights and freedoms has too led to a shift in the manner States conduct themselves both in the domestic and international arenas. Yet, given the ever increasing extent of international regulation and concomitant demands on limited financial, technical and human resources, it is not at all clear how these competing rights and obligations ought to be balanced. Furthermore, the mounting pressure on the States to ensure the security of their population brings about the debate over States’ ability to limit other rights and freedoms on behalf of security interests, legitimate as may be.


Relevant papers may concern any field of law.

Examples of issues addressed by relevant papers may include (but are not limited to):

  • Human rights and public interest;
  • Necessity and proportionality and other multi-sourced equivalent norms;
  • Constitutional rights and terrorism;
  • Protection of public health and environment in trade and investment agreements;
  • Sustainable development and climate change and commercial activity;
  • Copyrights, trademarks and patent protection;
  • lex specialis and competing domestic or international law norms;
  • Legal theory’s approach to conflicting rights and freedoms;
  • Constitutional rights and the protection of rights absent a written constitution;
  • Balancing of competing interest by adjudicative bodies.


We welcome applications from current doctoral students, both in law and law-related disciplines, and from recent graduates of doctoral programs up to five years since the completion of their PhD. We encourage submissions engaging all disciplines of law.

Selection will be based on the quality of the proposal, as well as its capacity to engage with other proposals in a collaborative dialogue.


The UCL Laws 2017 Postgraduate and Early Careers Conference will select a number of papers presented at the Conference for publication in a special issue of the UCL Journal of Law and Jurisprudence.

All the participants will be offered an opportunity to publish a blog post based on their papers at the UCL Law Journal Blog.

Accordingly, an invitation to participate in this conference will be issued to a participant on the following conditions:

(1) The participant agrees to submit an original, unpublished paper between 8,000 words and 12,000 words consistent with submission guidelines issued by the conference conveners;

(2) The participant agrees to submit a full pre-conference draft by 10 March 2017;

(3) The deadline for submitting papers selected for publication is 15 May 2017.


Interested scholars should email an abstract of up to 750 words along with a short bio in no more than two paragraphs by 25 December 2016 to the following address: PGC2017@ucl.ac.uk.

Abstracts should reflect papers that have not been published nor submitted elsewhere for consideration for publication.

Successful applicants will be selected by an Organizing Committee and notified no later than 15 January 2017.


25 Reasons Why All Law Students Should Participate in the Jessup Competition

ucqhiry30 September 2016

By: Asaf Lubin (JSD candidate, Yale Law School and Robert L. Bernstein International Human Rights Fellow with Privacy International) and Ira Ryk-Lakhman (PhD student and teaching fellow, UCL).    

Us and Jessup: Asaf and Ira participated in Jessup as competitors for the same team (2010/11); we coached several teams (Asaf, Yale and Hebrew University teams in 2012 and 2015 respectively; Ira, UCL for 2014-16); Asaf also served as the Israeli national administrator of the Jessup in 2014, and he is the author of the 2016 Jessup problem; we both have been judging national and international Jessup rounds for some years.

September 12, 2016 marked a long anticipated day that will forever change the law school experience for scores of students worldwide. With no exaggeration, it was a day when thousands of law students, practitioners, and academics all looked to one place: the website of the International Law Student Association (ILSA). This is because it was the day ILSA, who organizes the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition, released the 2016/17 Jessup problem, also known as the Compromis.

For readers who have been living under a rock, a quick recap of the competition might be in order. The Jessup Competition, often addressed by this mononym, much like Plato or Madonna, is actually named after former ICJ judge (1960-1969), diplomat, and scholar, Philip Caryl Jessup. The competition offers a simulation of a fictional dispute between countries as it unfolds in a case before the International Court of Justice (ICJ). Very few people know that Jessup actually first originated as a friendly advocacy competition between the American JD and foreign LLM students at Harvard Law School in 1960. The competition then expended to other American schools in 1963, eventually opening its doors to foreign teams in 1968. Today more than 550 law schools worldwide participate in the Jessup, representing more than 87 countries. Each team is comprised of between 2-5 participants, with flocks more faculty, practitioners, and alumni providing additional support. These tireless FoJs (Friends of the Jessup) as they are called, take the roles of coaches, advisors, judges, and administrators, and truly are the heart of what makes the Jessup a community. The authors of this post wish to clarify, at this time, that they are lucky enough to be part of this community, and while biased, consider it to be one of their most prized achievements.

Jessup has truly become a brand in and of itself, and the mere title of a “Jessup competitor” probably gleams more about a person than what may be learned from just going over his or her CV. Nonetheless, as the new academic year just welcomed thousands of new law students, many of whom have probably never heard of the Jessup, we thought it would be useful to provide a more extended explanation as to why we feel everyone should get involved with the Jessup at some point in his or her legal education or later career. This is especially important for us to share, given the concern many students have raised in the past, that Jessup involves an exorbitant commitment of time, and might be difficult to do while maintaining good standing in one’s general law school course work. We thus developed this list which we call the “25 Reasons Why All Law Students Should Participate in the Jessup Competition” and we hope that by the end of it, you too will become Jessup enthusiasts.

  1. Starting from the Compromis. Each year the Jessup problem puts forth cutting edge, avant-garde and mostly unresolved legal challenges to its participants. More often than not, the legal questions presented by the Jessup case involve issues that had never been adjudicated by the ICJ. In certain scenarios, the case precedes the actual adjudication of an innovative and largely contested legal issue. In other times, it gives an opportunity to test out what such adjudication might look like, surrounding issues that due to their political volatility, might never find their way to the halls of the principal judicial organ of the United Nations.

To illustrate, recent Jessup cases addressed competing sovereignty claims over islands (2009/10), the legality of targeted killings and limitations on the right to wear religious head-scarves (2010/11), recognition of governments and the protection of cultural heritage sites in times of war (2011/2012), the legal status of climate refugees (2012/2013), use of force in the EEZ and the status of artificial islands (2013/2014), the contested annexation of territory à la the Crimean peninsula (2014/15), and the international law surrounding espionage and low level cyber-attacks (2015/16). This year is no exception as it remains as topical, focusing on such issues as illicit transfer of cultural property, transboundary aquifers, the law surrounding the right to water, and what happens when arguable violations of this right generate refugee outflows.

  1. The Jessup case normally comprises several interwoven fields of international law, thus allowing participants to broaden their knowledge and research and familiarize themselves with materials that very well may not be taught in their law faculties or offered as part of their regular curriculum. Previous Jessup problems presented a complex mix of sub-fields of international law including admissibility, standing, and jurisdiction issues before international fora; the treatment of evidence and questions of burden of proof at the ICJ; the interrelationship between international human rights law and international humanitarian law; investment law; environmental law; the law of the sea; international criminal law; treaty law; state responsibility; and many, many, many more.
  1. Thus, Jessup is not just a good practice for properly analyzing and applying lex lata sources and well-established principles and rules; it rather requires participants to apply public international law theories to real life fact patterns. It forces a large number of talented scholars to tackle head-on politically charged issues through legal reasoning. In that regard Jessup plays its own unique role in further developing international law, through the cultivation of a legal discourse where one was perhaps missing. Many participants and faculty rely on their experiences and research during the Jessup year to then produce notes, articles, and blog posts, that further broaden the academic literature surrounding the topics covered in the case. Indeed if you fact-check us, you would find that many doctrinal contributions originated during or developed subsequently to Jessup.
  1. Jessup is all about the research, with students spending months painstakingly perfecting their written briefs, mastering old case studies, and new legal theories. There is absolutely nothing quite like the Jessup, in terms of allowing students to develop their legal research and analytical skills. The Jessup Bench Memorandum (an addendum, never shared with participants, which provides judges with a basic core “check-list” of the legal answers to the case) often reflects just a mere fraction of the knowledge and research conducted by the participants. In fact, the Bench Memorandum doesn’t begin to touch the surface of what students come up with in their independent research. Judges are often amazed at the level of in-depth analysis and archival work that certain teams produce. Accordingly, Jessup offers knowledge that no classroom experience, in any taught degree, is ever capable of guaranteeing.
  1. The Competition is built so as to enable participants to dedicate a substantive amount of time for such autodidactic research. From the moment the case was released on September 12th, until 13 January 2017, when the written memorials will be due (and thereafter until the regional and national rounds), teams and competitors will work thoroughly and mostly independently on mastering the law. You will discover by the end of the Jessup that you have learned incredibly more about the law, from researching it on your own and teaching it to your colleagues, than you would ever do from reading another textbook in a black-letter class.
  1. Importantly, because Jessup is the most prestigious international law moot court competition today, it truly is the best place to study public international law. Where else will you learn how to identify a customary rule, or carefully interpret and parcel together treaty provisions? Where else will you be called to memorize entire sections of the U.N. Charter, or cite minority opinions of ICJ judges? In fact, Jessup is the only place where students are called to examine the lax lata in view of the lex feranda, to engage both the law as it stands with the law as it ought to be. Students are called to apply not only black letter law but also advocate for a position based on policy considerations and their extrinsic rationales. A Jessup competitor thus learns not only to think like a lawyer, but to think like a policy maker – taking into account the ramifications of his argument on the public world order. The student thus learns how to plead for a State, and not just a client.


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enough said


  1. The result is that students participating in the Jessup become some of the more well-versed scholars on the law in their respected research area. Trust us, if you compete in the Jessup this year, there will be very few people on the planet that will know the law and practice surrounding UNESCO’s List of World Heritage in Danger or the Convention on the Law of Non-Navigational Uses of International Watercourses, better than you will come April. Sounds hard to believe? Try it and see for yourself.

It often happened, in fact, that government ministries sought to reach out to Jessup students precisely due to their newfound expertise. The authors of this blog can attest to this. Following our completion of the Jessup, with the case that year involving the IHL obligation to investigate and compensate for violations, we were approached by a Commission of Inquiry which was working in Israel on drafting a report surrounding the same exact issues. Jessup fiction and real-life events intertwined once more, and we as former participants were better off for it.

  1. Of course, working for the Government is not the only venue by which participants can put their Jessup research into good use. Many Jessup participants have proceeded to engage with the legal issues posed by the Compromis as LLM, PhD, and JSD students, writing their master’s thesis and dissertations on the very questions they have encountered in the long months of the Jessup. Others proceeded to practice international law in various prestigious law firms or international organizations and some became academics who research international law. And there are those who have done all the above.
  1. The structure of the Competition requires each team to submit very detailed written arguments (the Memorials) for both the Applicant and Respondent. These written briefs are limited in terms of their space, given strict word count requirements, as well as in terms of their timeframe, with students being required to submit them by early January. It is the nature of the Jessup that each issue can be argued a hundred different ways, yet a written memorial only allows for so many words, and so teams debate each other in an attempt to sharpen their briefs and reach an agreed upon structure. Accordingly, law students have the opportunity to practice some of the most important lawyering skills – meeting deadlines, developing concise legal writing, and choosing between various authorities and legal arguments.

To be sure, these briefs are worth 3 round points (out of a maximum 9), and on many occasions can determine the faith of a round. Notably, technical mistakes, in terms of style and structure, can result in penalties, forcing students to be extremely diligent in their drafting and editing. Law students thus learn the importance of the written pleadings, by putting an emphasis not only on substance, but also on procedural requirements.

  1. At the regional, national, and international rounds, students are required to develop a 45 minutes oral presentation of their claims. Teams are asked to argue their issues in a crisp, structured, and persuasive manner, while citing authorities for each of their points. You can wake up any past Jessup participant in the middle of the night and he will be able to read to you, out of memory, not only the opening and closing of his oral argument but also the wording of Article 38 of the ICJ Statute. And as the old saying goes – “the paper does not refuse the ink” (but an oral argument at the Jessup might). Indeed, once teams delve into their briefs and commence preparations for the oral rounds, they quickly identify the weaker points of their argumentation and come up with ways to sharpen their contentions. Thus, while many moots emphasize advocacy, debating, or writing skills, Jessup stresses all and more while teaching participants the fine arts of litigation.
  1. In fact, there is no other international moot that teaches students the difficult skills of oral advocacy. Teams are required to make their legal claims under strict time restrictions (with a bailiff raising time cards and imposing the time limitations), while answering questions being fired at them by feisty benches of Jessup judges (in fact, it is a trademark of Jessup, which the authors of this post are proud to have in common). Students learn how to eloquently answer legal questions, how to roadmap their arguments, and how to properly address the Court.
  1. Jessup is not only about law and legal pleadings; it is also about tactics and strategy which are very much embedded in litigation work. Competitors learn how to politely correct a Judge who got a fact wrong (and when for strategic reasons choose not to correct him). They learn when it is better to take a question and address it on the spot, or when to ask the bench to hold with you as you are “just getting there.” Students learn when to skip an issue, or concede a point, and how to quickly bounce between alternative arguments. More importantly they learn how to read a bench of judges and develop tools to get the bench to empathize with them as advocates. All in all, Jessup offers participants the opportunity to master an expanded list of priceless oratory skills, which are useful for law students both during their studies and in their later practice.
  1. To win the Jessup it is not enough to just ‘know the law and facts and apply the former to the latter in an accurate way’. After all, law is not an exact science, and the work of trial attorneys is different than that of a laboratory technician or a mathematician. Indeed scientists rely on postulations and previous theories. Jessup competitors, on the contrary, often have little-to-nothing to go on. Put differently, a team may discover that no exact specific case ever touched upon the issue they’re researching, and that no particular treaty administers the remedy sought after, and that merely a handful of papers were ever written on their question (and even they don’t agree on a single point). And yet… it is in this vacuum that best legal analysis develops. The fact that there is not enough black-letter law on many of the Jessup issues, forces students to rely heavily on legal rationales and policy considerations to support their claims. Participants are pressured to learn how to derive rules from divergent cases and how to distinguish authorities by their unique particularities. Students in the process draw inspiration from historical examples, academic theories, general principles of law, the values of the international community, the writings of legal philosophers, and the memoires of international jurists and scholars. This kind of creative critical thinking is absolutely invaluable.


(H.E. Hishashi Owada – Judge, ICJ; H.E. Sir Christopher Greenwood – Judge, ICJ; and, H.E. Bruno Simma – Former Judge, ICJ)

The Championship Round Judges (2015/16)


  1. As any litigator will tell you, even more important than the legal rationales, is an overarching narrative that the advocate is trying to get across to the Judges. Jessup participants learn that in order to argue their case effectively, they must also learn how to convincingly frame the factual-matrix. Participants in the Jessup become story-tellers and truly develop the skills of weaving facts and law to form a persuading account backed by proper legal authorities. This type of skill is extremely useful for anyone who later engages in public speaking, legal or otherwise.
  1. The final element of the oral rounds is the rebuttal and surrebuttal. Most teams would agree that this is the hardest piece to master. No one rebuttal is like the other, and respondent teams get between one and three minutes to figure out how to rebut the rebuttal as they are literally listening to it for the very first time. You may call it “thinking on your feet”, we consider it to be the epitome of legal advocacy; and the winner takes it all. The authors of this post have seen many rounds that were won solely on the basis of a powerful rebuttal or surrebuttal.
  1. You can’t do Jessup alone. There is a reason why the Jessup rules do not permit a one-man-show whereby a single team-member comprises of the team. In fact, even teams of two members are extremely rear. Most times teams will be composed of four and five members, forcing students to work together. Whether you’re good at it or not, you are required to learn how to be “a team player”, as a successful Jessup team is as good as its weakest link. Teams eat together, sleep together, research together, argue together, strategize together, fight together, and make up together. The number of romantic relationships that were launched thanks to the Jessup is matched only by the number of romantic relationships that ended as a result of it. Whether you may like them on a given day or not, as a participant in Jessup, you will soon learn that your best friends from law school are those who have shared Jessup with you. Two examples come to mind: there is the case of the two members that literally became one (Grigory Vaypan & Aleksandra Ivlieva, who got married shortly after they won the Jessup together); and there is the case of the two Jessup authors who became three, giving birth to their child, who was born, of course, during the international rounds. Overall Jessup is a bit like Nokia, connecting people, in various aspects.
  1. But to achieve success, it is not only about working with your cohort of people. Jessup also stands for continuously opening doors for new members and new interactions. First, Jessup will help you to get to know your colleagues, from your own law school. The Competition is open to law students (JD and LLB) as well as to graduate and post graduate law students (LLM, MSL, PhD, and JSD), as long as the specific competitor in question has not engaged in legal practice (see 2017 rules on eligibility). Thus, a team may well comprise a combination of JD, LLM, and PhD students who do not study together, or a team of law students from different years at the same law school. In many respects “seniority” in law school, does not play a role in Jessup; for example a first-year law student may very well do better than an LLM candidate.
  1. Second, Jessup continuously expands its arms to include new teams from different parts of the world. This particularly concerns areas of the world where there might not exist sufficient opportunities for legal writing and research. Last year involved teams from such a diverse list of countries as Afghanistan, Palestine, Venezuela, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Ghana, Macau, Kosovo, Kazakhstan, and Gambia, just to name a few.
  1. The competition not only brings teams and universities from all over the world to the same place, it actually brings people together. It is in the Jessup international rounds where you may see teams from two States who do not share diplomatic relations, or even may not recognize each other, working side by side in a pleasant open and friendly all-welcoming environment. For some teams, Jessup may be the first time they left their home town, their country, or met someone who speaks a different language. Awards such as the “spirit of the Jessup” which was created in 1996 “to recognize the Team that best exemplifies the Jessup spirit of camaraderie, academic excellence, competitiveness, and appreciation of fellow competitors,” and is selected by a vote of the Teams participating at the international rounds – has been a visible way of acknowledging the competition’s commitment to these values. To learn more about the tolerance and acceptance Jessup stands for and witness the battle of some Jessup teams at the international rounds, we urge you to watch “All Rise”, an award winning documentary filmed during the 2013/14 Jessup rounds. We guarantee that the trailer alone is enough to make you want to watch the rest, let alone participate in the competition for yourself.
  1. More so, as a truly international competition, the state of origin of the competitors is truly hidden from the Judges and ILSA tries to promote an equality of arms amongst teams, who obviously come from different jurisdictions and have diverging levels of access to academic resources. As Judges in the competition, both authors of this post can attest that we never really know who argues before us. We sometime attempt to guess based on accents or certain court mannerisms, but we know that we are doomed to fail. Similarly, all teams are subjected to the same rules and deadlines. All of them receive the Comprimis at the same date and submit their written memorials by exactly the same time. They are all privy to certain batches of resources provided by the compromis authors to assist researching teams, and may be further assisted by ILSA in cases where their library has limited resources available. They engage the same legal questions, are prohibited from sharing or discussing their research with other teams, and are called to abide by the same rules of anonymity (see rule 2.17 of the rules of the competition). It is thus not surprising, that non-English speaking countries hold some of the more impressive track-records in Jessup, and one can only turn to last year’s champions, the team members of the Universidad de Buenos Aires of Argentina.


Jessup World Cup Champions: Universidad de Buenos Aires (Argentina)


  1. Due to the diverse nature of the competition, Jessup also offers a unique chance to interact and network with law students, practitioners, and academics from all over the world. In other words, Jessup enables law students to meet their future colleagues and learn from them about possible career and educational paths and opportunities. The most incredible thing at the Jessup is to see a participant engaging in a conversation with the very scholars whom they have cited in their briefs. Let’s just say that a full blown international law nerdapalooza soon ensues.
  1. The fact that Jessup has been sponsored by some of the biggest law firms in the world (Shearman & Sterling and White & Case to name a few) as well as by top Chambers and practices in each of the various participating jurisdictions, who seek to recruit successful participants – is highly indicative of the skills required for the competition and its perceived status.
  1. If your law school days are long behind you, and you did not participate in the Jessup when you could, please don’t get disheartned – that absolutely does not mean that you can’t get involved now. Every year ILSA looks for new members to join its ranks as advisors, coaches, administrators, volunteers, memorial graders, Compromis authors, and round judges. You will grow through the process, learning the materials with the students you coach or advise and shaping the future of the international legal profession. In fact, one of the authors of this post changed her career completely after judging the DC international rounds. Careful now, Jessup makes you rethink things.
  1. Combined together Jessup helps form a community of international legal scholars who share a vision for the world and an interest in its further development. This group of exceptional individuals, whom you gain the privilege of calling your colleagues, friends, mentors, and drinking buddies, all continue on to do incredible work worldwide.
  1. Jessup has a history that spans nearly 60 years, which means that thousands of highly qualified lawyers and academics are amongst its alumni. It is thus not surprising that many current and former judges and justices on national and international instances have been involved in Jessup. It is also not surprising that some of the leading partners at law firms and other leading practitioners competed in Jessup at one point or another. Similarly you will find former Jessup participants as politicians and businesspeople, and in your law school at least one of your lecturers (probably your favorite one) will too hold fond memories of his or her Jessup glory days.

So please get involved with the Jessup, find out whether your school already has an established team and see what you need to do to join it ranks. If it doesn’t – start one on your own with the assistance of ILSA. If you are already a lawyer or scholar, get involved with the competition as a coach, advisor, judge, or administrator. This competition can only grow on the basis of the commitment, dedication, and hard work of those who support it and its values. It falls on all of us to do just that.

UCL Journal of Law and Jurisprudence – Launch Event for the October Themed “City Issue” (Vol 5 (2))

ucqhiry6 September 2016

Please join us at the Launch Event of the new City Issue of UCLJLJ on Oct 3, 2016

Slaughter and May, 1 Bunhill Row, London EC1Y 8YY

Admission: Free
Academic Editors: Chris O’Meara and Sara Razai
Managing Editor: Ira Lakhman

The UCL Journal of Law and Jurisprudence aims to make a high-quality contribution to current debates on local and global issues of law and jurisprudence. We have made significant advances this year, now launching two issues per year, implementing an online submission system, expanding to open access and many more exciting changes.

The launch is an opportunity to recognise our authors and celebrate the contribution the Journal makes to the vibrant intellectual life of the UCL Faculty of Laws. It is also a great opportunity for those looking to get involved in 2016 to find out more. Students interested in joining the Journal Board are recommended to attend the event and express their interest towards the Academic and Managing Editors for 2016/17.

The launch will be followed by drinks and a chance to meet our editors, authors and reviewers.

This is a free event and copies of the Journal can be pre-ordered here or available for purchase on the day. Please note that our stock is limited therefore it is best to pre-order.

Please register here

UCL Journal of Law and Jurisprudence :CfP for Vol 6(1) (March 2017)

ucqhiry24 August 2016

The Editorial Board is pleased to call for submissions for the first issue of 2017. The Board welcomes papers covering all areas of law and jurisprudence.

UCLJLJ accepts articles of between 8,000-12,000 words, case notes of 6,000-8,000 words and book reviews of 1,000-2,000 words. All submissions must comply with the Oxford University Standard for Citation of Legal Authorities (OSCOLA). Contributions that have already been published or that are under consideration for publication in other journals will not be considered. The deadline for submissions is 4th November 2016. Manuscripts must be uploaded via the submissions section on our website.




For further information and guidelines for authors please visit our website. For any queries, please e-mail theacademic editors

Thoughts from Nuremberg

ucqhgnu22 August 2016

By Gaiane Nuridzhanian, PhD student at UCL

This summer, between 1 and 12 August 2016, the International Nuremberg Principles Academy hosted the International Criminal Law Summer Academy for Junior Professionals. The Nuremberg Summer Academy brought together participants with diverse backgrounds from countries that face challenges in terms of accountability for international crimes. The Summer Academy was attended by prosecutors, investigators, judges, as well as aspiring academics, from Afghanistan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Côte d’Ivoire, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Georgia, Nigeria, Kenya, Kosovo, Kurdistan (Iraq), Syria, and Ukraine.


The course was designed so as to allow the participants to expand and deepen their theoretical knowledge of international criminal law. It also presented the participants with a unique opportunity to engage in debates concerning application of international criminal law in practice with state officials, prosecutors and defence lawyers practicing international criminal law at the domestic and international levels. The programme of the course also included visits to the historic sites that are closely connected to the events which gave rise to the first international criminal trials: Documentation Centre Nazi Party Rally Grounds, Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site, the Nuremberg Palace of Justice and Nuremberg Trials Memorial.

The course opened with the historic overview of international criminal law from Nuremberg Trials to the adoption of the Rome Statute of the permanent International Criminal Court (ICC); with a discussion concerning the purpose of international criminal justice, relationship between domestic and international criminal courts and limitations and advantages inherent in the prosecution of international crimes before international, regional and domestic courts.

Considerable attention was paid to the discussion of the core crimes that fall within the jurisdiction of the Rome Statute – genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. In his lecture, Professor Schabas of the Middlesex University School of Law, focused on the definition of the crime of genocide. He pointed out the questionable elements of the existing definition of crime of genocide. For instance, he observed that the criterion of existence of special intent to destroy the targeted group in whole or in part was not always helpful, in practice, for the purposes of establishing whether genocide indeed took place. Instead, according to Schabas, it is more useful to talk about the requirement of policy. This criterion is reflected in the Elements of Crimes of the ICC, under which the conduct that took place in the context of a manifest pattern of similar conduct is an element of crime of genocide.

Certain other notions discussed in relation to the definition of genocide included the term ‘to destroy’, which, in fact, excluded ‘cultural genocide’ since it did not involve physical destruction. Similarly, the discussion addressed the term ‘in whole or in part’, which has been interpreted by international criminal tribunals as encompassing the destruction of a substantial part of the targeted group. Finally, the debate touched upon the existing limitation of the targeted groups to four categories – nationality, ethnicity, race, and religion. According to Professor Schabas, these four characteristics have a common denominator: they define the identity of an individual. In addition, the choice of these specific characteristics was explained by the historical events that gave rise to the notion of the crime of genocide.

Professor deGuzman, of Temple University Beasley School of Law, discussed the definition of ‘crimes against humanity’ as well as the purpose and justification/reasoning of this category of international crimes. Distinction was drawn between the definition of the ‘crimes against humanity’ in the law and practice of various international criminal courts and tribunals. Such diverging and disputed elements included nexus to an armed conflict, the presence of discriminatory grounds, and the open-ended definition of ‘crimes against humanity’.  The Course participants also focused the debate on the contextual elements of ‘crimes against humanity’ such as the notions of ‘widespread or systematic attack’ and ‘attack directed against civilian population’. The constitutive contextual requirement of the conduct to be part of ‘a State or organisational policy’, its content and relevance were examined by the participants in the course of a brief moot court exercise. The Decision on confirmation of charges in a case arising from a situation of Kenya, served as an example.

In addition to the definitions of ‘genocide’ and ‘crimes against humanity’, the participants benefited from an opportunity to engage in a discussion on the problematic issues concerning the definition and prosecution of war crimes, crimes of piracy, and terrorism. In the course on the lecture on terrorism, Tim Moloney, QC, of Doughty Street Chambers, presented the participants with a detailed outline of the UK legislation, as well as with the domestic practice related to counter-terrorism measures and their consequences for the individual rights.

A separate lecture was dedicated to the question of the proposed Criminal Chamber of the African Court of Justice and Human Rights (ACJHR). Professor Jalloh, of Florida International University College of Law, delved into the issues surrounding the adoption of the Malabo Protocol, which aims to extend the jurisdiction of the future African Court of Justice and Human Rights to crimes under international law and transnational crimes. It has been shown in the course of the lecture that the proposal for a regional court in Africa, which would try crimes under international law, was not novel; it has, in fact, been mooted and debated since 1980s, and again in great vehemence in 2014 with the adoption of the Malabo Protocol.

The future Criminal Chamber within the ACJHR would ostensibly differ from the ICC in number of key respects. For instance, the definition of the crime of genocide differs between the courts. In addition to the underlying acts enumerated in Article 6 of the Rome Statute, the Malabo Protocol also envisages that the acts of rape and any other form of sexual violence committed with the intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group may also constitute the crime of genocide; a component absent from the ICC definition. In Professor Jalloh’s opinion, the definition of genocide found in the Malabo Protocol represents a progressive development of international criminal law. It in fact reflects the findings of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in the Akayesu case that acts of sexual violence can be qualified as acts of genocide. In addition to the crimes within the jurisdiction of the ICC, the future ACJHR Criminal Chamber will be competent to try quite an extensive number of other crimes. Namely, the crime of unconstitutional change of government, piracy, terrorism, mercenarism, corruption, money laundering, trafficking in persons, trafficking in drugs, trafficking in hazardous wastes, and illicit exploitation of natural resources. Finally, unlike the Rome Statute, the Malabo Protocol provides for immunity of serving head of state or government and senior officials in relation to their functions and during their term of office.

Professor Tladi, of University of Pretoria, focused on the relationship between Africa and the ICC. He examined in detail the role allocated to, and played by, the UNSC in the framework of the ICC prosecutions and trials. He also engaged in the discussion of the decisions of the ICC and South African courts. Professor Tladi’s discussion also touched upon the question of States’ obligation to co-operate with the ICC and on the question of immunities of state officials. Tladi opined that there was no conflict between Article 27 of the Rome Statute concerning irrelevance of official capacity for the purposes of trial before the ICC, on the one hand, and Article 98 of the Rome Statute concerning state obligation regarding state or diplomatic immunities, on the other. The former reflects the relationship between the ICC and the accused, while the latter concerns states’ obligations vis-à-vis each other. On the more practical side, the participants of the course also had an opportunity to learn more about the practicalities of State Co-operation and Mutual Legal Assistance from Jennifer Schense, an International Co-operation Adviser at the ICC’s Office of the Prosecutor (‘OTP’).

A series of lectures were dedicated to the practical side of prosecuting international crimes at international and domestic levels. These covered such topics as domestic prosecution of international crimes, investigations and the gathering of evidence, prosecutorial strategy and construction of cases, drafting of indictment and charges, and the prosecution of sexual and gender-based violence.

Brenda Hollis, a Prosecutor at the Residual Special Court for Sierra Leone, outlined for the participants a comprehensive strategy for the investigation of international crimes and human rights violations. In her lecture she focused particularly on the collecting of evidence, which took into account the specific nature of international crimes and various nuances related to the investigations of such crimes. Jonathan Rathel, the former Head of the Kosovo Special Prosecution Office (SPRK), bolstered the practical discussion and spoke about prosecuting organized crime. He focused in particular on drafting an indictment and bringing charges, using as an example the case of trafficking in human organs prosecuted by the EULEX in Kosovo.

Several final lectures were dedicated to the questions that have been subject to extensive discussions among the international criminal law scholars, namely the rights of the accused in the trial before the international criminal courts and tribunals and the status and rights of victims in cases and situations subject to the ICC investigations.




The Nuremberg Summer Academy for Junior Professionals stands out amongst a number of superficially similar events. What separates it from others is its ability to offer the participants a course that combines academic and theoretical debate alongside a more practical understanding and application of the law. Thus, theoretical discussions of some of the most debated issues in international criminal law were combined and interwoven with the expertise of practitioners in the application of international criminal law, at both the international and the domestic level. Further, the Summer Academy was mindful to bring together participants from the very countries that are in need of expertise in international criminal law. All the participants were eager to share their experience and to contribute actively to the debate on international criminal law and its future development.

More information on the International Nuremberg Principles Academy and the events organised by it can be found at the Academy’s website.

Suspension of Treaties, Incorporation of Terminated Agreements & Human Rights Provisions in Economic Partnership Agreements.

ucqhiry20 July 2016

Human Rights Provisions in Economic Partnership Agreements in light of the Expiry of the Cotonou Agreement in 2020 (Report of 13 July 2016 Briefing)

By: Ira Ryk-Lakhman (PhD student, UCL)

On Wednesday, 13 July 2016, the EU Committee on International Trade discussed the conditionality of human right in Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) post the Cotonou Agreement. The ACP-EU Partnership Agreement, signed in Cotonou on 23 June 2000, was concluded for a 20-year period from 2000 to 2020. It is the most comprehensive partnership agreement between developing countries and the EU. Since 2000, it has been the framework for EU’s relations with 79 countries from Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific (ACP). And here’s the rub: By its own terms, the Cotonou Agreement is due to expire in 2020, yet the legal and practical ramifications thereof remain uncertain.

For over 20 years, the EU pursued a policy of ensuring that its trade and cooperation agreements are governed by a human rights clause. These human rights clauses comprise two main parts. The first part is an ‘essential elements’ clause, which establishes human rights and democratic principles as the basis for an agreement. The second part is an ‘appropriate measures’ clause. Under this latter part, the parties to the agreement may adopt ‘appropriate measures’ if the other party fails to comply with the essential elements of the agreement.cotonou

The Cotonou Agreement is an example of this EU model. Under Article 9(2)(4)  ‘Respect for human rights, democratic principles and the rule of law’ constitute ‘the essential elements’ of the Agreement. Next, subject to certain procedural preconditions, Article 96 allows ‘a Party [that] considers that the other Party fails to fulfil an obligation stemming from respect for human rights, democratic principles and the rule of law’, as set out in Article 9(2), to adopt ‘appropriate measures’. Notably, under this provision, any such ‘measures’ must be ‘taken in accordance with international law, and proportional to the violation,’ and ‘shall be revoked as soon as the reasons for taking them no longer prevail’.

According to EU practice, human rights clauses are incorporated in a framework agreement, and the substantive agreement makes reference to that human rights clause. In conformity with this practice, the four EPAs with the Cariforum, East African Community (EAC), Southern African Development Community (SADC) and West African regions, refer (inter alia) to the Cotonou Agreement and its human rights clause. Thus, the Cotonou Agreement functions as a framework agreement in this respect.

How would the expiry of the Cotonou Agreement affect the agreements incorporating and/or referring to its provisions?

For the foregoing, the EU Parliament debated several questions, which were addressed by a leading expert in the field. First, can the EPA references to the human rights clause in the Cotonou Agreement be used to suspend the EPAs after the expiry of the Cotonou Agreement? Second, if these clauses lack legal effect, does the EU have any alternative means at its disposal to react to violations of human rights, democratic principles and the rule of law by an EPA partner country? Third, how might this be done under EU law? And fourth, are there any other constraints under international law on such measures?

The expert report as well as the ad hoc briefing suggested that the EPAs do not incorporate the mechanism established under the Cotonou Agreement for the adoption of ‘appropriate measures’. However, the SADC, West Africa, and Cariforum EPAs do incorporate the principles set out in the essential elements clause of the Cotonou Agreement such that it can be said that these agreements are based on these principles. This means that, under international law of treaties, it is possible to suspend these agreements in the event that one of the parties violates these principles, even in the absence of an express possibility of adopting ‘appropriate measures’.

The situation with the EAC EPA is slightly distinct. The SADC, Cariforum and West Africa EPAs are based on the principles and essential elements ‘as set out’ in the relevant provisions of the Cotonou Agreement, not the actual provisions of the Cotonou Agreement, while the EAC EPA is based on ‘building on the acquis of the Cotonou Agreement’.  Dr Bartels analyzed the wording and interpretation of the relevant instruments provisions and opined that in light of other statements, objectives, and recitals in the EAC EPA, the acquis is in fact incorporated into the agreement. This would mean that all four agreements are governed by a similar legal position.

Suspension of EPAs on ground of fundamental change of circumstances and/or material breach

The practical meaning of holding the above suggested interpretation is that there is a basis for suspension of the agreements under international law, specifically under the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties (VCLT), in the event that the basis of the agreements is no longer there. This is all the more the case if the basis for the agreement disappears because of the conduct of one of the parties. The report presented to the committee addressed the legal options for suspending the agreements, namely – under the doctrine of fundamental change of circumstances (VCLT, Article 62) and material breach of a treaty (VCLT, Articles 60(3)(a) and (b)).

As for the first option, under the doctrine of fundamental change of circumstances, Dr Bartels noted that he is of the opinion that this is a weak route for a lawful suspension of the agreements. Pointedly, the doctrine of fundamental change of circumstances requires the triggering change to be “unforeseen”. A provision anticipating possible suspension in case a party failed to comply with the ‘essential elements’ ipso facto undermines the [un]foreseeability condition. As for the doctrines of material breach, these may serve as stronger legal basis for a lawful suspension of EPAs. Specifically, according to the ICJ in the Namibia Advisory opinion, repudiation can be manifested by factual circumstances and by the conduct of the parties. Thus, if one of the parties acts in a manner which displaces the ‘basis of the agreement’ (i.e., human rights violations) then, that party de facto repudiated the treaty. This, in turn, allows the other party to suspend the agreement. Additionally, under VCLT, Article 60(3)(b), if the party acts in a manner which removes the basis of the agreement and/or contradicts it, this conduct could be considered as a violation of a ‘provision essential to the accomplishment of the object or purpose of the treaty’. Under this constellation, the other party would be allowed to suspend the agreement on grounds of material breach.

Having established that, and given the basis notion that as only “obligations” may be violated, Dr Bartels addressed the more important question, which is whether these four ‘basis clause’ actually establish obligations?  According to him, these clauses do not establish obligations. The provisions prescribe that human rights ‘are’ the basis for the treaty, thus the clauses serve as a statement of fact and a presumption on which the treaty is predicated. The clauses do not give rise to an international obligation, and are not crafted as such. Nonetheless, posited Dr Bartels, on this point there is no substantive difference between a statement of fact and a stipulation of an obligation. In fact, the legal effect is the same in both cases. In other words, if a party acts so as to remove the basis of the agreement, the other party is entitled to suspend the agreement whether the ‘basis’ is coached as an obligation or not.

In outline, under international law, certainly for the SADC, Cariforum and West Africa EPAs can be considered to be based on the principles of respect for human rights, democratic principles, and the rule of law, with the legal consequences that this entails. The EAC EPA, however, is at most required to be consistent with these principles, without this having any bearing on the conduct of the parties outside the scope of that agreement.

The expert also addressed the possibility of suspending these agreements as a form of countermeasures due to a violation of human rights. On this point, Dr Bartels noted that countermeasures are legitimate under international law. Nevertheless this route would not achieve the same result as a human rights clause. The difficulty with following the countermeasures route is that countermeasures are only available for ‘injured’ States, and it is generally considered that, on the current state of international law, a State (or the EU) would only be ‘injured’ for these purposes if one of its nationals were affected by the conduct of the other party.

Full brief: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/ep-live/en/committees/video?event=20160713-1500-COMMITTEE-INTA


UCL Law Journal Blog: Stay Tuned!

ucqhgnu13 July 2016

The UCL Journal of Law and Jurisprudence is launching the UCL Law Journal Blog. The Blog’s primary aim is to make a high-quality contribution to current debates on local and global issues of law and jurisprudence, and offer these contributions in a free, accessible, and updated platform, covering up-to-date events, developments, debates, cases, and more.

The Blog particularly invites submissions from law students, practitioners, researchers, and junior scholars. The Blog is not dedicated to any particular filed of law or methodology, and welcomes any topical, relevant, critical, and engaging contributions in conformity with the house style and guidelines added. Blog posts may be submitted in the form of a brief analysis of a legal development, case notes, book reviews, reports of proceedings and legal events, and legal debate.

The Blog will also keep the readers updated on the events and announcements of particular interest to research students and young academics. Stay tuned!