Daniel Bethlehem, the Legal Adviser at the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office has recently been Knighted by Her Majesty the Queen and is now Sir Daniel Bethlehem QC. Sir Daniel has been Legal Adviser (i.e the most senior lawyer) at the Foreign Office since 2006. In 2008, he was named by the London Times as one of the top 100 lawywers in the UK (see here). Before taking up the position at the Foreign Office he had a distinguished career as an academic and a practicising international lawyer. He was a Lecturer in International Law at the London School of Economics and then proceeded to Cambridge where he was first Deputy Director and then Director of the Lauterpacht Centre for International Law. In his academic life he wrote on a broad range of topics especially on the law of the United Nations, international economic law and the relationship between European and international law. Throughout this time he practised as a barrister from 20 Essex Street, London and had a remarkably broad international practice. He has appeared as counsel and advocate in several important cases before the International Court of Justice, the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, he European Court of Justice, the European Court of Human Rights, the WTO and NAFTA panels, several international arbitral tribunals, as well as in the UK domestic courts. Unfortunately, it is now remarkably rare for international lawyers to have such broad expertise. I should say that I was privileged to be his student. I am also grateful to him and to Dame Rosalyn Higgins (who was also at the LSE) for giving me my first opporntunity to teach and for the wonderful opportunity to work with them on their academic work and on cases they were involved in. I learnt so much in those years.
Sir Daniel’s knighthood was announced in the Queen’s birthday honours list earlier this week. Readers may be interested to know that such honours are conferred in the UK every New Year and on the Queen’s birthday. Actually, the Queen’s birthday refers to her official birthday celebrated in mid June (as opposed to her date of birth – April 21) because the weather is supposed to be nicer at this time of year.
Presumably Daniel will be heading off to Buckingham Palace soon where the Queen will tap him on the shoulders with her sword and say “Arise Sir Daniel”.