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Prof Christian J Tams

GCILS Director and International Law Chair

Christian J. Tams is Professor of International Law at the University of Glasgow and GCILS’ founding director. He is a Vice-President of the European Society of International Law and the review editor of the European Journal of International Law. At Glasgow, he directs the Erasmus Mundus Master in International Law of Global Security, Peace and Development (ILGSPD) and the Glasgow-Leuphana dual degree programme in international economic law.

Christian is an expert in public international law, with special expertise in the fields of dispute resolution, international security and investment protection. Much of his work focuses on the promise and limits of settling international disputes before international courts and tribunals. In addition, Christian’s recent research has highlighted linkages between international investment arbitration and general international law, emphasised the relevance of international inspections, and analysed the international legal regime against genocide.

In addition to his academic work, Christian regularly advises States and other actors in international disputes. In recent years, he has acted in proceedings before the International Court of Justice, the Iran-US Claims Tribunal and arbitral tribunals, and provided expert advice in domestic proceedings bearing on international law. Since 2020, he is a member of the scientific advisory council of the German Federal Foreign Office.

Below is a list of key publications. For a full list please click on the following link:

University of Glasgow Profile


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International Inspections

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International inspections are a common technique of international law. Inspectors visit prison camps, chemical factories, nuclear reactors, and research stations in Antarctica — to assess whether the provisions of international law are complied with. But notwithstanding this practical relevance, international lawyers have tended to neglect international inspections, at least as a general category: what studies exist, tend to focus on particular regimes, providing much detail but insufficient orientation. The present volume takes a different approach. It looks at a wide range of inspection regimes and seeks to identify cross-cutting issues. While reflecting their heterogeneity, its central aim is to situate international inspections in the wider field of international law’s means of control and to highlight elements of unity in diversity. Combining panoramic and kaleidoscopic perspectives, the volume’s sixteen chapters encourage international lawyers to engage more fully with international inspections.

Anne-Laure Chaumette

The Genocide Convention. Article-by-Article Commentary

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75 years ago, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, the first universal human rights treaty of the United Nations era and the keystone of the international legal regime against genocide. In the second edition of their work, Lars Berster, Björn Schiffbauer and Christian J. Tams engage with the Genocide Convention's provisions on an article-by-article basis and elucidate how they contribute to the global fight against genocide. Their Commentary offers an in-depth analysis of the Convention's nineteen provisions. It offers authoritative guidance on the definition of genocide, on the duties of States to prevent and punish it, and on the Convention's implementation regime. Building on the success of the first edition, the Commentary will be of interest to academics, students and practitioners working in international law, criminal law, genocide studies and human rights.

Lars Berster
Björn Schiffbauer

International Investment Law and General International Law: Radiating Effects?

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Edited by Christian J. Tams, Professor of International Law, University of Glasgow, UK, Stephan W. Schill, Professor of International and Economic Law and Governance, University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands and Rainer Hofmann, Professor of Public Law, Public International Law and European Law, University of Frankfurt, Germany. This book questions whether investment law influences the wider field of general international law, and more specifically, whether approaches adopted by tribunals in investment arbitrations have radiated, or should radiate, into other fields of international law.

Stephan W. Schill
Rainer Hofmann

Swords, Shields and Other Beasts: The Role of Countermeasures in Investment Arbitration

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"Our topic can be thought of as a meeting of the old and the new, and it can be approached via a straightforward question: is there room, in the contemporary world of investment arbitration, for countermeasures, that traditional means of self-help? Countermeasures—and more so the concept’s traditional label, reprisals—evoke an era of interstate international law of limited reach: an era which, for lack of adequate institutions, accommodated ideas of ‘private justice’ to a significant extent, notably by accepting the right of one State to respond to another State’s wrongful conduct by means of coercion. This right permitted the State to respond to wrongful conduct affecting State rights as well as rights of nationals, despite the obvious risk of abuse. As investment lawyers with a measure of historical awareness know full well, in the field of foreign investment, the risk of abuse regularly materialised, as ‘home States’ (in the contemporary parlance) reacted coercively against host States accused of having interfered with rights of foreign investors. (...)"

Eran Sthoeger

International Investment Protection and Constitutional Law

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This book develops a conceptual framework that captures not only the tensions between constitutional values that are common to liberal democracies – human rights, democracy, and the rule of law – and the investment treaty regime, but also the potential for co-existence and complementarity. Contributions from leading experts in the field address how different systems of constitutional law interact with the investment treaty regime. Chapters provide a detailed overview of the various forms of interaction, and critically engage with the competing claims for supremacy that constitutional law and international investment law formulate. The book also addresses the reactions within the investment treaty regime to the demands formulated by constitutional law, in particular the use of constitutional analogies to understand international investment law and investor-state dispute settlement. Investigating the leading questions and issues surrounding this growing topic, this book will be an ideal read for students and scholars interested in financial, economic, and international law. Practitioners of constitutional law will also benefit from this innovative book.

Stephan W. Schill