The Centre for International Law brings together one of the largest and most diverse communities of international lawyers in the UK. The Centre provides a platform for collaboration, engagement with external institutions, and the dissemination of our internationally-recognised research. The Centre is intellectually inclusive, embracing a diverse range of methodological approaches and seeking to foster an interdisciplinary ethos.
International law has been studied at the University of Bristol for well over one hundred years. It was first taught in 1895 by Sir Charles M. Kennedy at what was then University College, Bristol. T.J. Lawrence, Sir Francis Vallat, J.J. Fawcett, Eileen Denza and Elizabeth Wilmshurst are all distinguished international lawyers who were members of academic staff at Bristol University. In the latter portion of the 20th century international law developed a maritime focus through the writing and teaching of Clive Symmons; this was reflected in the Law of the Sea being among the first postgraduate units to be offered by the then Faculty of Law in the 1980s.
Nowadays, our members regularly provide advice to institutions such as the UN, OSCE, African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the International Labour Organization, as well as many non-governmental organisations. In 2011, Professor Sir Malcolm Evans was appointed as Chair of the United Nations Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture (SPT). Members of staff have also generated substantial research grant income from various funding bodies to examine the workings of international and national organisations.
The focuses of our teaching are the popular LLM programmes in International Law, Law and Globalisation, International Law and International Relations, alongside various units which are offered at undergraduate level. A significant proportion of the Law School’s current research students are undertaking degrees in our field, and the Centre seeks to facilitate the building of a wider community of international law scholars within the School. Our graduates have (amongst other occupations) become government legal advisors, practising international lawyers, have found positions in NGOs or have stayed in academia. The former Principal Legal Advisor at the British Foreign Office, Sir Daniel Bethlehem QC, is a Bristol Graduate.
The Centre for International Law provides an inclusive and interdisciplinary space for the production of our world-leading research. Through the collaborative work of its members, it aims to tackle some of the most pressing international challenges of our time.
Areas of expertise
- International Human Rights Law
- Law of the Sea and Maritime Security
- International Trade and Investment Law
- International Legal Theory
- International Dispute Settlement
- Business and Human Rights
- International Labour Law
- Migration, Citizenship and Refugee law