Lord Guglielmo Verdirame KC is a Professor of International Law at The Dickson Poon School of Law. He joined King’s in September 2011 as Professor of international law appointed by both the Department of War Studies and the Dickson Poon School of Law. He currently works part-time at King's College London.
Before coming to King’s, he was a Lecturer in the Faculty of Law at the University of Cambridge and a Fellow of the Lauterpacht Centre for International Law (2003-2011); a Junior Research Fellow at Merton College, Oxford (2000-2003); and a Research Officer at the Refugee Studies Centre at the University of Oxford (1997-98). He was Director of Studies for Public International Law at the Hague Academy of International Law (2006), Visiting Professorial Fellow at Harvard Law School’s Human Rights Program (2006) and Visiting Professor at Columbia Law School (2015). He is the author of The UN and Human Rights: Who Guards the Guardians? (2011, CUP), Winner of the Biennial ACUNS Book Award, and of Rights in Exile (Berghahn Books, 2005), as well as numerous articles and chapters in books.
He practises as a member of the Bar in public international law and international arbitration. He has acted as counsel in many high-profile cases before international courts and tribunals, including before the International Court of Justice, the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, the European Court of Human Rights. He was counsel for the UK in the last dispute to be brought against the UK in the International Court of Justice (Marshall Islands v UK), and for the Italian Republic in the Enrica Lexie Incident dispute before both the UN Tribunal for the Law of the Sea and the arbitral tribunal in the Permanent Court of Arbitration. He is currently instructed by Ukraine in the case against Russia arising from the recent conflict in the European Court of Human Rights.
He is particularly sought-after by investors and states for his expertise and experience in investment arbitration (under BITs, ECT or investment chapters of FTAs). On the investor side of his practice recent highlights include winning a US$600 million investment claim against a European state. On the state side, they include successfully defending Ukraine from a US$6 billion Energy Charter Treaty claim, and Kenya from a US$2 billion BIT claim.
He has also acted in a number of high-profile cases involving international law issues in the English courts. For example, he was counsel for the HMG in the first Miller case on the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union; for the UN special rapporteur on counter-terrorism and human rights in the Shamima Begum case; for Princess Haya of Jordan in the widely reported proceedings between her and the Prime Minister of the UAE, which have led to very important judgments on the immunity of heads of government and on foreign act of State. He is regularly instructed, including by the Foreign Office, in cases concerning armed conflict and immunities.
He is a member of the House of Lords, having been appointed to a life peerage in October 2022.
- Public International Law, especially: the use of force and the laws of war; human rights and forced displacement; national security law; international organisations; international criminal law; energy, oil and the protection of foreign investment; and the settlement of international disputes.
- Philosophy of international law/relations, especially: just war; theory of the state and sovereignty; liberalism; German and British idealism.
- Interaction between law and strategy, especially in relation to the concept of lawfare, non-proliferation and counter-proliferation.
Some of his papers are available on SSRN http://ssrn.com/author=1011414
- 7SSWN049 International Law and War
- 7SSWM031 Law and Conflict in International Society (Core Module for the MA in International Peace and Security)
- 6FFLK008 Public International Law (LLB/BA Option)
Lord Guglielmo Verdirame KC will not be able to take on new PhD students save in genuinely exceptional cases. Please do not contact him with generic requests, and always send a CV and a detailed research proposal with your email.
Expertise and Public Engagement
In addition to his practice at the Bar and his more recent membership of the House of Lords, Lord Verdirame KC has served on the board of charities and companies. He currently chairs the Board of Trustees of A Bridge to the Future (a charity set up to raise a 30m endowment for the United World College of Mostar in Bosnia Herzegovina).