Doughty Street International’s public international law group consists of individuals with strong academic backgrounds in public international law and extensive experience advising and representing States, international organisations, corporations and individuals. We also practice in a number of domestic jurisdictions other than the UK including the US, India, and a number of states in Africa and the Caribbean.

Doughty Street International offers a wide range of expertise in areas that include:

  • diplomatic immunity

  • State immunity

  • diplomatic protection

  • environmental protection

  • the return of cultural property

  • the law of the sea, including piracy

  • land and maritime disputes

  • State responsibility

  • the use of force

  • international humanitarian law

  • mediation and conflict resolution

Members of the public international law group regularly appear before the International Court of Justice and international arbitral tribunals. Recent cases before the ICJ include:

  • Application of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide in the Gaza Strip (South Africa v Israel) (pending)

  • Obligations of States in respect of Climate Change (Request for Advisory Opinion) (pending)

  • Application of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (The Gambia v Myanmar) (pending)

  • Legal Consequences of the Separation of the Chagos Archipelago from Mauritius in 1965, Advisory Opinion of 25 February 2019

  • Application on the Obligations concerning Negotiations relating to the Cessation of the nuclear Arms Race and to Nuclear Disarmament (Marshall Islands v UK & ors) (2016) 

  • Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (Croatia v Serbia) (2015)

  • Cambodia v Thailand (2013)

Our expertise is not limited to the international plane and extends to the application of international law in domestic jurisdictions. Recent cases include:

  • Barnet LBC v AG (A Child) [2022] EWCA Civ 1505 (child protection, diplomatic immunity, conflict of laws, positive obligations)

  • R v Reeves Taylor [2019] UKSC 51 (UN Convention against Torture, armed conflict, universal jurisdiction)

  • R (on the application of Bancoult (No. 2)) v Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs [2016] UKSC 35 (Chagos Islands)

  • National Commissioner of the South African Police Service v Southern African Human Rights Litigation Centre & Anor [2014] ZACC 30 (Constitutional Court of South Africa) (torture, obligation to investigate)

  • R v Gul [UKSC] UKSC 64 (definition of terrorism, international law, non-international armed conflict)

Mediation work is done in conjunction with the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue, Geneva.

Our group is inter-disciplinary. Members of our group specialise in international criminal law and international human rights law. For further information on these areas of our work, and other specialist areas, please follow the links.

A number of our members have previously served in high-level advisory roles for the United Nations. Our team includes the former UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, former counsel to the UN Special Rapporteur on Counter-Terrorism and Human Rights and former advisors to the United Nations and League of Arab States Joint Special Envoy for Syria, Kofi Annan.