The publications listed here represent a small selection of the work of GCILS staff members. To see full listings of publications please click through to the University of Glasgow main webpages in each individual staff member profile.

The politics of the moot court

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Scholarship has generally represented moot court competitions in one of two ways: either as a beneficial way for students to develop practical skills prior to the Bar, or as a reproducer of hierarchy and exclusion. This review essay attempts to plot a third way of thinking about moots, one that finds critical potential in the exercise of mooting while remaining attentive to its conservative biases. Building out from a critique of the common law focus of Thomas and Cradduck’s The Art of Mooting, the essay reflects on how critical approaches to international law can be used to teach moot skills more effectively. The essay then turns to the limitations such a critical pedagogy must be aware of within the actual practice of the competition, considering how these limits can be navigated and even flipped into teachable moments for critically inclined students. The essay closes with a call for a more nuanced discussion about the use of experiential learning, of which moots are only one example, for fostering critical engagement with international law.

Soirila, U.

In re Arbitration between the Italian Republic and the Republic of India concerning the ‘Enrica Lexie’ incident

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On May 21, 2020, a Tribunal established under Annex VII of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) rendered an Award regarding the 2012 Enrica Lexie incident, which involved the death of two Indian fishermen at the hands of Italian Marines. The Award is lengthy and wide-ranging, finding that: (1) Italy and India had concurrent jurisdiction over the incident; (2) the Tribunal had incidental jurisdiction to determine the immunity of the Italian Marines; (3) the Marines enjoyed immunity as state officials; but nevertheless that (4) India was entitled to compensation for the loss of life, physical harm, damage to property, and moral harm. The Award has been received more positively by Italy than India, but neither party has indicated that they intend to do anything other than comply with it.

International Law and Corporate Actors in Deep Seabed Mining

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The deep seabed beyond national jurisdiction (known as the Area) comprises almost three-quarters of the entire surface area of the oceans, and is home to an array of prized commodities including valuable metals and rare earth elements. In recent years, there has been a marked growth in deep seabed investment by private corporate actors, and an increasing impetus towards exploitation. This book addresses the unresolved legal challenges which this increasing corporate activity will raise over the coming years, including in relation to matters of common management, benefit-sharing, marine environmental protection, and investment protection. Acting under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), the International Seabed Authority is responsible for regulating the Area for the benefit of humanity and granting mining contracts. A product of its history, the UNCLOS deep seabed regime is an unlikely hybrid of capitalist and communist values, embracing the role of private actors while enshrining principles of resource distribution. As technological advances begin to outstrip legal developments, this book assesses the tension between corporate commercial activity in the Area and the achievement of the common heritage.

Poverty and Human Rights: Multidisciplinary Perspectives

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This timely and insightful book brings together scholars from a range of disciplines to evaluate the role of human rights in tackling the global challenges of poverty and economic inequality. Reflecting on the concrete experiences of particular countries in tackling poverty, it appraises the international success of human rights-based approaches. Drawing on insights from philosophy, history, economics and politics, contributors consider a range of questions concerning the nature of human rights and their possible relationship to poverty, inequality and development. Chapters interrogate human rights-based approaches and question whether the normative human rights framework provides a sound foundation for addressing global poverty and equitable distribution of resources. Probing practical questions concerning the extent to which international human rights institutions have been effective in combating poverty, this thought-provoking book considers possible strategies in response to the challenges that lie ahead. Offering robust and provocative guidelines for the future of human rights and development, this unique book will be indispensable for academics and researchers investigating the intersection of human rights and poverty, particularly those interested in human rights-based approaches to tackling inequality. Its practical insights will also benefit policy-makers in need of novel methodologies for promoting equality.

Suzanne Egan

Youth-led peace: The role of youth in peace processes

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More than 600 million young people live in fragile and conflict-affected contexts. Despite being deeply affected by violence in a myriad of ways, young people’s voices are not heard, nor included in the processes of conflict resolution and peacebuilding. The ‘youth bulge’ is seen as a driver of instability, and young people are typically portrayed as perpetrators of violence or potential ‘spoilers’ who should be protected from radicalisation and extremism. The active role young people play as peacemakers, mediators and peacebuilders at grassroots and local levels are under-acknowledged and they are often not included in official peace processes. Beyond peacebuilding, young people display ownership, agency and leadership in diverse areas that are of significance to local, regional, national and international peace and security, ranging from climate change to tackling inequalities. Yet, the achievements of young people are hindered due to the absence of adequate recognition, protection, funding and meaningful partnerships. This report explores the diverse contributions of youth to peace processes and discusses the challenges and barriers young peacebuilders face while working towards peace, based on findings of a consultation with youth-led peacebuilding organisations and a workshop that brought together key actors in the field of Youth, Peace and Security. We then explore the multiple dimensions of inclusion in peace processes and chart potential avenues for future research, policy and practice in light of lessons learned from youth-led peace initiatives.

Yulia Nesterova
Graeme Young
Alex Maxwell

‘From the Wells of Disappointment’: The Curious Case of the International Law of Democracy and the Politics of International Legal Scholarship

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It is a common impression shared by many international lawyers today that the brief ‘turn to democracy’ that occurred in some segments of international legal scholarship in the early to mid-1990s was, on the whole, little more than a detour of overly excitable imagination – not exactly a complete error of judgement or an outright frivolity, but certainly a lapse of conceptual clarity and professional rigour. Whatever changes may have occurred within the broader international legal system, the argument goes, they certainly did not amount to a ‘democratic revolution’, and any claims to the contrary were and are simply baseless. The kind of fundamental reorganization of the international legal system that was forecasted by scholars like Thomas Franck and Anne-Marie Slaughter never took place, and the main lesson one should learn from this whole episode is that international legal scholars should not give in to their utopian reflexes as quickly and as readily as the ‘pro-democracy enthusiasts’ did, but should rather exercise analytical restraint and professional judgement and attend much more carefully to matters of legal logic and technical legal reasoning. This, in a nutshell, is the received wisdom about the history behind international law’s ‘turn to democracy’, and the aim of this article is essentially to challenge it – in part by uncovering the latent theoretical fudging behind it, in part by exploring the general narrative structure that supports this received wisdom and the latter’s relationship to the broader ideology of international legal anti-utopianism.