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David Bicknell

David Bicknell

  • Visiting
  • Research fellows

Visiting Research Fellow


I am a Visiting Research Fellow researching and teaching in the School of Security Studies. I completed my PhD in the War Studies Department at King’s College, London in January 2021. My professional background is as a commercial lawyer at a leading City law firm in London from 1992-2015, I was a partner specializing in international finance from 2001-15. Prior to that, I had served in the British Army. My first degree is a B.Sc (Econ) in International Relations from the London School of Economics, after my Army service I completed post-graduate legal training at Nottingham Law School, and I then returned to full time education to complete an MA in War Studies at King’s in 2016.


Research Interests

  • International law and war
  • The law of armed conflict
  • War crimes
  • Human rights
  • The character of war
  • Legal history
  • The practice of law.



A penumbra of war: The use of lethal force in British military operations in internal armed conflicts.

My thesis used a multi-disciplinary approach encompassing international law, history and strategy to investigate the legal basis adopted by the British Army for the use of lethal force in internal armed conflicts from the Jamaica Rebellion in 1865 to the Iraq War, 2004-09.


Research visits

My research for my PhD included visits to the Huntington Library in San Marino, California and the Milton Eisenhower Library at John Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland to research the papers of Dr. Francis Lieber (1798-1872). Lieber is generally acknowledged as the main author of the first modern code of the laws of war issued in the American Civil War (1861-65).



Teaching staff and Graduate Teaching Assistant (2018-22).


I have taught on the second-year BA module 5SSW2063 ‘International Law, Human Rights and Intervention’ for four years as well as last year on the first year module 4SSW1001 ‘The Causes of War’. Last year, I also taught on the MA War Studies modules 7SSWN031 ‘International Peace and Security’ and 7SSWN086 ‘Dirty Wars’ as well as the War Studies Online MA module 7SSWN186 ‘International Law and the Use of Force’.


I am an essay tutor for the Department of Defence Studies at the Royal College of Defence Studies


Papers and publications


I have given a number of papers within the subject area of international law and war including:

  • ‘Francis Lieber and the development of the Principle of Military Necessity (King’s College, London/BISA, January 2020)
  • ‘Breathing life into international law: The European Court of Human Rights and the development of international human rights law’ (BISA/St Andrews, November 2019)
  • ‘Rules of Engagement: The Hidden Link Between Modern Conflicts’ (BISA Annual Conference, Bath, June 2018)



  • Book review: ‘Christine Chinkin & Mary Kaldor, International Law and New Wars (Cambridge University Press, 2017)’, Strife Journal, Issue 8 (February/ March 2018), pp. 77-80
  • Strife blog articles: ‘Challenges to the Rule of Law in Times of Crisis: “Introduction” and “Prosecuting war crimes: Some thoughts for the new Prosecutor of the ICC”’, Strife blog (24 and 27 May 2021)