International Legal Profession

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The Duties of a Government International Legal Adviser

Although we may not like to be reminded of it, international lawyers start out as domestic lawyers. When being admitted to practice in a particular jurisdiction, we are taught that lawyers owe duties not only to clients, but also to domestic courts and the interests of justice (‘institutional duties’). These institutional duties are hierarchically superior: faced with a conflict between a client’s interests and the proper administration of justice, we must prefer the latter. Yet when we become international lawyers and advise not only entities within a State, but the State itself, we are not told how these institutional duties apply – if they even apply at all. In fact, when acting for a sovereign in the context of its rights and obligations vis-à-vis another sovereign/s, the suggestion that we owe greater loyalty to some other entity or institution might well be viewed with suspicion. Equally, if we owe exclusive duties to the client, and merely serve as their agents, then this erodes the idea of an international legal profession. This post…

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The International Criminal Court Independent Expert Review: reforming the Court: Part III

  Editor's Note: This post is Part III of a three-part series. Read Part I here and Part II here. In the first two parts of this series of posts, I examined the background to and structure of the 2020 Independent Expert Review (IER) of the International Criminal Court. The IER tasked…

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The International Criminal Court Independent Expert Review: reforming the Court: Part II

  Editor's note: This post is Part II of a three-part series. Read Part I here. In part one of this series of posts, I outlined the background to the 18th International Criminal Court Assembly of State Parties (ASP) adopting a resolution establishing an Independent Expert Review (IER) of the Court to…

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Destination: the Wasteland of Academic Overproduction (Part 2)

  In the first part of this essay, I have argued that the space available for innovative and imaginative thinking about international law hinges on the format of our research output. I have particularly shared my feeling that, notwithstanding the current veneration of the field for publications in refereed journals, our most innovative and imaginative pieces of scholarship…

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Destination: the Wasteland of Academic Overproduction (Part 1)

  We, international lawyers, publish too much, way too much. We know it too well and yet continue to produce scholarship by the truckload. We carry on with writing even if it comes at the expense of the breadth of our reading or the quality of our teaching. We persist to write, quite sadly I must say, even…

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