Earlier this year, Dr Meagan Wong and Dr Emily Jones from the School of Law at the University of Essex, co-founded and co-convened a new lecture series on public international law: The Essex Public International Law Lecture Series. This is a weekly series which builds upon two important intellectual traditions of Public International Law: legal formalism and international legal practice; and international theory including postcolonial and feminist perspectives.
Co-chaired by Dr Wong and Dr Jones, the series features judges of international courts and tribunals, leading academics, and practitioners of international law from governmental service, international organizations, and private practice from across the globe.
The inspiration behind the series stems from the scholarly profiles and research interests of both co-founders.
Dr Meagan Wong is a formalist generalist international lawyer who has advised States on a broad set of issues of international law including the law of treaties, jurisdiction, the law of international organizations, international courts and tribunals, and the relationship between international law and domestic law. She has also spoken to senior navy officials on matters concerning provisional arrangements pending maritime delimitation.
Dr Emily Jones is a generalist international lawyer who is a critical legal scholar that specializes in gender and conflict, science and technology and international environmental law, and is the author of two books: The Law of War and Peace: A Gender Analysis (Volume One) (Zed Publishing 2021) and Feminist Theory and International Law: Posthuman Perspectives (forthcoming with Routledge’s GlassHouse series)
The lecture series was inaugurated on 25 January 2021 on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the first Security Council resolution by Professor Niels Blokker, who holds the Schermers Chair of International Institutional Law at the University of Leiden and is the former deputy legal advisor of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands.
As the leading authority in international institutional law, Professor Blokker delivered the inaugural lecture, entitled ‘the UN Security Council at 75’. The inaugural lecture, which was in the format of a Zoom webinar, was attended by over 400 attendees, with an audience comprising judges of international courts and tribunals, members of the UN International Law Commission, legal advisors to governments and International Organizations, diplomats, private practitioners, academics, scholars, colleagues and students within and outside of Essex.
The strength of the series continued across the Spring Term, featuring:
Professor Lauri Malksoo, University of Tartu, member of the Permanent Court of Arbitration national group for Estonia, and member of the Institut de droit International: “International Law and Russia’s 2020 Constitutional Amendments.”
Dr Ntina Tzouvala, Australian National University: Capitalism as Civilisation.
Ms Lucía Solano, legal advisor of the Colombian Permanent Mission to the United Nations and former head of the Treaty Office – International Law Directorate at the Colombian Ministry of Foreign Affair: A fireside chat ‘Negotiating Maritime Delimitation Agreements’.
Professor Martti Koskenniemi, University of Helsinki, former member of the UN International Law Commission: Global Law and the Populist Backlash – How to think about them?
His Excellency Judge Kriangsak Kittichaisaree, Judge of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (“ITLOS”), former Ambassador of Thailand, former member of the UN International Law Commission: International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea – Upholding the Rule of Law at Sea
Professor Hilary Charlesworth, Melbourne Law School, and former ahoc judge at the International Court of Justice, member of the Institut de droit international: The Travels of Human Rights: The UNESCO Human Rights Exhibition 1950-53
Professor Campbell McLachlan QC, Victoria University of Wellington, member of the Institut de droit international on: Systemic Integration, Revisited.
With between 150-350 attendees per event, the far-reaching and varied audience enjoyed hearing about cutting edge research, scholarship and practice in these lectures.
Professor Malksoo’s lecture was based on the recent amendments to Russia’s constitution featured his 2021 publication with the American Journal of International Law, ‘International Law and the 2020 Amendments to the Russian Constitution’. His lecture was attended by legal advisors to the European Parliament, Council of Europe, constitutional law advisors and practitioners, government and cabinet advisors, academics and students.
Dr Ntina Tzouvala’s lecture featured her recently published monograph with Cambridge University Press entitled Civilisation as Capitalism and was the first legal theory lecture of the series. Her lecture was attended by academics of both international legal theory and formalism, legal advisors to governments, diplomats, practitioners, and students from various parts of the world, including Australia, Latin America and Asia.
H.E. Judge Kriangsak Kittichaisaree’s lecture was the first public discussion of his new book The International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea with Elements of International Law, Oxford University Press – of which the Editors of the Series from the Press House had attended. Other members of ITLOS had attended his lecture, along with diplomats, government advisors, practitioners, academics and students.
Lucía Solano’s fireside chat on the negotiation of maritime delimitation agreements featuring a very important practice of international law had been attended by judges from the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, members of the UN International Law Commission, legal advisors, government lawyers, navy officials, academics, and students.
Of note, was Judge Liesbeth Lijnzaad from ITLOS making a nod to women in international law of the sea during the Q&A session.
Professor Campbell McLachlan’s lecture featured his ongoing research for his forthcoming book entitled The Principle of Systemic Integration in International Law with Oxford University Press. His lecture was attended by judges of international courts and tribunals, members of the UN International Law Commission, legal advisors to government, diplomats, practitioners, academics, and students.
We will publish in due course a follow-up piece about the Summer Term lectures.