The Oxford University Faculty of Law has recently advertised two Faculty positions in international law. The first of those positions is the Chichele Professorship of Public International Law which will fall vacant at the end of the current academic year, as a result of the retirement of Professor Vaughan Lowe. The second position is a University Lecturership in Public International Law which falls vacant as a result of the departure of Professor Stefan Talmon to Bonn University. As is the case with all permanent Faculty positions at Oxford, each of these positions is associated with a Fellowship at an Oxford college. The Chichele Professorship is associated with a professorial fellowship at All Souls College and the University Lecturership is associated with a fellowship at St Anne’s College.
The Chichele Professorship of Public International Law is one of the most prestigious positions in international law around the world. The previous four holders, before Vaughan Lowe are: James Brierly, Sir Humphrey Waldock, D.P. O’Connell and Sir Ian Brownlie. It is the oldest chair in public international law at an English University, and arguably the oldest in the English speaking world. It was established in 1858, nine years before the Whewell Professorship of International Law in Cambridge. The Regius Professorship of Public Law, the Law of Nature and the Law of Nations was established at Edinburgh University in 1707 (the same year as the union of England and Scotland) but that chair was not specifically for public international laws and today is mainly a chair in public law. Oxford had distinguished international lawyers even before the establishment of the Chichele Professorship. Alberico Gentili, who held Oxford’s Regius Professorship of Civil Law from 1587 was really the leading international law scholar (and practitioner) of his day (See the October 2011 issue of the American Journal of International Law for David Bederman’s reviews of two recent books on Gentili). For an excellent history of international law in Oxford, see extracts from Vaughan Lowe’s inaugural lecture.
The University Lecturership in Public International Law is (to use North American terminology) a tenured (or tenure-track) faculty position. The terminology for faculty positions differs around the world, including in the English speaking world. In the US, it is Professor, Associate Professor, Assistant Professor. In the UK it is usually Professor, Reader, Senior Lecturer, Lecturer. As is the case with many things, the terminology in Oxford is different even from that which is used in other English universities. Nowadays, the University of Oxford really only has two types of permanent or tenured positions: statutory professorships (like the Chichele chair), which account for about 10% of permanent appointments at Oxford; and University Lecturerships. Unlike other UK universities, Oxford has never had Senior Lectureships and the title of Readers has, to all intents and purposes, been abolished (except for those who already have that title). The vast majority of permanent Oxford academics hold a University Lectureship though holders of this position can apply for the title of professor. The top of the pay scale for an Oxford university lectureship is, when allowances are also taken into account, commensurate with what some professors at some other UK universities are paid.
The deadline for applying for both positions comes up quite soon. For the University Lecturership is it this Friday – 23rd March. For the Chichele Chair it is Monday 2nd April. Successful applicants can expect to be part of a vibrant international law community with deep connections to a range of other disciplines within the university.