2024 Programme

Thursday 17 October: Day 1
09.00-09.45 Registration, networking and exhibition

09.45-10.00 

Introductory remarks

 

10.00-11.00  

Plenary 1: Sir Michael Wood KC, Member, UN International Law Commission; Barrister, Twenty Essex  In conversation with…

Dr Phoebe Okowa, EBS, Member, UN International Law Commission; Professor of International Law, Queen Mary University of LondonJudge Yuji Iwasawa, Judge of the International Court of Justice

11.00-11.30 Refreshment break

11.30-13.00   Panels

PANEL 1: Climate and the environment

This panel will address topical legal issues around climate change and the environment from the future of Kyoto and Paris and the UNFCCC, to requests for Advisory Opinions on climate issues before international courts and tribunals.

PANEL 2: Accounting for war

Despite the UN Charter’s stated aim to save ’succeeding generations from the scourge of war’, recent years have witnessed renewed and increased armed conflict. As part of their response, domestic and international actors alike have emphasised the legal accountability of those responsible for injuries and are taking steps to ensure such accountability, including through preparing for future implementation (e.g. through a register of damages). Such efforts have evolved beyond the traditional paradigm of (diplomatically agreed) inter-State reparations. Today’s picture is both more complex and in flux, partly due to evolution in the reach of human rights and (international) criminal law. For example, even while hostilities are still ongoing, the preparation for future reparations begins; there is development in the obligations of non-state actors beyond traditional IHL; and the very scope of compensation for unlawful use of force is a matter of debate. This panel will discuss the evolution and enforcement of accountability, both during and after the end of armed conflict, including through reparations, as well as the increasing role of human rights and recourse to international dispute settlement mechanisms.

PANEL 3: Domestic Courts and International Law

The domestic protection of human rights in the UK has been closely linked with international instruments, but now is in a state of flux: the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights ceased to apply, the domestic incorporation of the ECHR is debated, and international obligations, such as those flowing from interim measures orders of the European Court of Human Rights are challenged. At the same time, enforcement of international law in domestic courts has come to the forefront in the context of ensuring accountability for the Russian aggression against Ukraine.

The panel will discuss recent developments, tensions and trends concerning the interaction of international law and domestic law in UK courts, such as: the role of domestic courts in the development and enforcement of international law, the role of customary international law in domestic courts and comparative perspectives.

PANEL 4: Taxation

This session will consider the increasing trend towards multilateralization of international taxation, particularly through the OECD, the drivers behind this and the challenges that it poses including the need to ensure fairness, and to strike the right balance between States’ sovereign rights to raise taxation and protecting businesses from arbitrary or discriminatory tax practices. The multilateralization of taxation is also bringing into relief the intersection of taxation with other areas of international economic law especially international investment and trade law. The session will look at how this is developing and present a number of different perspectives on the key issues raised before considering what the future direction of travel might be.

13.00-14.00 Lunch break

14.00-15.30   Panels

PANEL 5: Investor-State dispute settlement

The panel will examine the latest hot topics and recent developments, including the developing jurisprudence on ISDS and enforcement before domestic courts (including assertions of State immunity), the failure to address signals of corruption, the interplay with non-treaty standards including those applicable to protection of the environment, and the latest views on the limits on the scope of States for non-discriminatory regulation in face of (e.g.) climate change.

PANEL 6: Domestic Courts and International Law

The domestic protection of human rights in the UK has been closely linked with international instruments, but now is in a state of flux: the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights ceased to apply, the domestic incorporation of the ECHR is debated, and international obligations, such as those flowing from interim measures orders of the European Court of Human Rights are challenged. At the same time, enforcement of international law in domestic courts has come to the forefront in the context of ensuring accountability for the Russian aggression against Ukraine.

The panel will discuss recent developments, tensions and trends concerning the interaction of international law and domestic law in UK courts, such as: the role of domestic courts in the development and enforcement of international law, the role of customary international law in domestic courts and comparative perspectives.

PANEL 7 : Sanctions: Is it really ‘the West versus the Rest’?

Sanctions are an important tool for enforcing international standards. They are used frequently in a variety of fields: from traditional areas of inter-State relations, to the world of sports and commerce. At the same time, sanctions have often been criticised as an instrument of the ‘Global North’ (or the ‘West’) to be used mainly against the ‘Global South’ (or ‘the rest’): the UN Human Rights Council has recently highlighted “the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights”. This panel will explore the current sanctions practice of States and other international actors and test the popular (but perhaps simplistic) assumption that they are a tool of the Global North. To do so, the panel will include perspectives from different geographical regions and fields.

PANEL 8: Current issues in Law of the Sea

For decades, deep seabed mining has been hailed as ‘the next frontier‘ in resource exploitation — but also prompted major concerns. Work on the International Seabed Authority (ISA)‘s ‘mining code‘, intended to provide a comprehensive set of rules, regulations and procedures to regulate prospecting, exploration and exploitation of marine minerals, has heightened tension: well over 20 governments, as well as NGOs and scientists, have called for a moratorium or a precautionary pause on deep sea mining. At the same time, industry experts anticipate a ‘commercial breakthrough’ or even predict a ‘new gold rush‘.

Against this backdrop, the 2024 London Conference of International Law will bring together experts from practice and academia to take stock of developments and assess the role of international law and institutions in relation to deep seabed mining.

15.30-16.00 Refreshment break

16.00-17.00

Plenary 2: Women in International Law Sally Langrish, Legal Adviser and Director General Legal, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office In conversation with…

Judge Joanne Korner KC, Member, International Criminal Court and President Graciela Gatti Santana, President of the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal tribunals

17:00 Close of Day 1

17.30   Drinks Reception – all delegates welcome
Location: Lancaster House, Stable Yard, St. James’s, London SW1A 1BB

19.30 for 20.00   Conference Dinner (For delegates who have added this option to their registration package)
Location: Six Park Place – Home of Royal Over-seas League, St James’s Street, London, SW1A 1LR

Dinner Speaker: Sir Christopher Greenwood GBE CMG KC

11.00-12.30   Panels
PANEL 7: Protection of human rights during crises

At a time of populism and reassertion of state sovereignty, speakers from a range of legal backgrounds (judicial, practitioner, research, civil society) will discuss the protection of human rights during times of crises.

Chair:

Rashmin Sagoo, Director – International Law Programme, Chatham House

Speakers:

Dr Tatyana Eatwell, Barrister, Doughty Street Chambers

Sonya Sceats, Chief Executive, Freedom from Torture

Murray Hunt, Director, Bingham Centre for Rule of Law

Panel Location: Westminster Room (4th Floor)
PANEL 8: Formation and development of international law in times of emergency

Emergencies require emergency action: and yet, international law may not be a useful ‘rapid response’ tool. This panel will discuss the value (or not) of attempts to move the content of customary law more rapidly, including through domestic courts and tribunals and international litigation; it will also consider resort to means of interpretation as a vehicle for the successful application and possibly development of both customary law and existing treaties; and will finally discuss ‘escape valves’ such as necessity and force majeure.

Chair:

Sir Michael Wood, member, International Law Commission; Barrister, Twenty Essex

Speakers:

Sean Aughey, Barrister, Essex Court Chambers

Dr Federica Paddeu, Queen’s College, Cambridge

Professor Jean d’Aspremont, Professor of International Law, Sciences Po School of Law; Chair in Public International Law, University of Manchester

Panel Location: Churchill Room (Ground Floor)
PANEL 9: International economic law in an enduring period of economic crisis

The once unyielding march towards a more liberalised system of international economic law has become a scramble to hold together existing frameworks. In circumstances where domestic economic systems are evolving (and in some cases diverging), the climate crisis is becoming increasingly critical, and the pandemic has exposed the fragility of global interconnectedness, how can States and international institutions respond, what does the future look like for international economic law, and how will that play out in practice? How effective are trade law and policy tools in addressing the crises of the world today?

Chair:

Janet Whittaker, Senior Counsel, Clifford Chance

Speakers:

Dr Greg Messenger, Associate Professor, University of Bristol Law School

Professor Gabrielle Marceau, Senior Counsellor Research Division, World Trade Organisation

Dr Tracey Epps, Trade Policy Consultant and Barrister

Stephen Adams, Senior Director, Global Counsel 

Panel Location: Abbey Room (4th Floor)
13.30-15.00   Panels
PANEL 10: Legal and political reactions to crises: the role of sanctions

The Ukraine crisis has put sanctions back into the news. States can exercise economic pressure on other states in a number of ways: the available toolbox ranges from retorsion to autonomous sanctions to sanctions imposed by the Security Council. This panel will explore the legal framework for sanctions (with an emphasis on unilateral sanctions), sanctions design, the requirements of human rights and due process that apply to sanctions, as well as attempts to counteract sanctions/economic coercion. Along with these more technical issues the panel will pose the question whether sanctions work and how they could be improved.

Chair:

Professor Dan Sarooshi KC, Barrister, Essex Court Chambers; Professor of Public International Law, University of Oxford

Speakers:

Helen Mulvein OBE, Legal Counsellor and Deputy Director, Multilateral and Sanctions Team, Legal Directorate, FCDO

Professor Takis Tridimas, Professor of European Law, King’s College London

Professor Leila Choukroune, Professor of International Law, University of Portsmouth

Dr Holger Hestermeyer, Professor of International and EU Law, King’s College London

Panel Location: Churchill Room (Ground Floor)
PANEL 11: Ethical challenges to the legal profession in situations of emergency

In the context of recent high-profile (and, in certain cases, public) withdrawal of lawyers from the representation of states, questions of ethics in the representation of states or in the provision of advice appear of ever-increasing importance. Further issues include the challenges faced by law firms with a presence in sanctioned states, as well as the reaction of scholarly societies to (some) emergencies (but not others).

Chair:

Dame Rosalyn Higgins GBE, KC, Former President, International Court of Justice

Speakers:

Douglas Wilson OBE, Director General, Attorney General’s Office

Amy Sander, Barrister, Essex Court Chambers ​

Professor Philippa Webb, Professor of Public International Law, King’s College London; Barrister, 20 Essex Street

Emma Lindsay, Partner, US Head of International Arbitration and Public International Law, Withers

Panel Location: Abbey Room (4th Floor)
PANEL 12: Cyberwarfare and other challenges to the law of armed conflict

As the on-going conflicts around the world tragically demonstrate the fundamental challenge to the law of armed conflict continues to be that of ensuring respect for the rules – whether in international or internal conflicts. But while the fundamental principles remain clear, new and not-so-new technologies and concepts continue to raise challenges in determining how those principles are to be applied. The risks and uncertainties that this brings to modern armed conflict have accelerated in recent years as the use of cyber technology in warfare has moved from the textbook onto the battlefield, the military application of artificial intelligence raises its own novel questions, outer space re-emerges as another potential domain of conflict and the increasing use of concepts such as “hybrid warfare” risk bringing more confusion than clarity to the application of the law.

This panel will examine some of the key challenges that these technologies and concepts pose to the application of, and respect for, the law of armed conflict and the on-going efforts in both the diplomatic and academic communities to bring clarity and ensure responsible behaviour by actors in a fragmented and fragile international environment.

Chair:

Paul Berman, Legal Director, Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office

Speakers:

Professor Dapo Akande, Professor of Public International Law, University of Oxford

Dr Kubo Mačák, Legal Advisor, International Committee of the Red Cross

Professor Noam Lubell, Professor of International Law; Director of the Essex Armed Conflict and Crisis Hub, University of Essex

Tara D. Brown, Sqn Ldr, UK Royal Air Force; Military Professor, Stockton Center for International Law, US Naval War College

Panel Location: Westminster Room (4th Floor)
17:00 Close of Day 2

Refreshments will be provided at points throughout the conference. Lunch will be served between 13:00 and 14:00 on Day 1 and 12:30 and 13:30 on Day 2.