Christine Chinkin

Christine Chinkin

Room: 50 Lincoln's Inn Fields, Room 303
Tel. 020-7955-6393

Christine Chinkin, FBA is Emerita Professor of International Law and Director of the Centre on Women, Peace and Security at the LSE. She is a barrister, a member of Matrix Chambers. Together with H. Charlesworth, she won the American Society of International Law, 2005 Goler T. Butcher Medal 'for outstanding contributions to the development or effective realization of international human rights law'. She is a William C Cook Global Law Professor at the University of Michigan Law School. She has held visiting appouintments in Australia, the United States, Singapore and the People’s Republic of China. She is currently a member of the Kosovo Human Rights Advisory Panel and was Scientific Advisor to the Council of Europe’s Committee for the drafting of the Convention on Preventing and Combatting Violence against Women and Domestic Violence.

see also Christine Chinkin's LSE Experts page

Research Interests

Current research interests are gender and post-conflict reconstruction; the political and legal aspects of human security; and the application of the Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, 1979 by CEDAW and by the UK government.

I am currently a member of the Kosovo Human Rights Advisory Panel, constituted by UNMIK, and in that connection also carry out research on the application of human rights standards by United Nations' missions.

External Activities

The UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women : A Commentary (M. Freeman, C. Chinkin and B. Rudolf, eds) (Oxford, OUP, 2012), author of pp 101-122; 443-474; co-author of 1-50.

This volume is the first comprehensive commentary on the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and its Optional Protocol. The Convention is a key international human rights instrument and the only one exclusively addressed to women. It has been described as the United Nations' 'landmark treaty in the struggle for women's rights'.

The Making of International Law (with A. Boyle) (Oxford University Press, Foundations of Public International Law, 2007), 338pp.

The Making of International LawThis is a study of the principal negotiating processes and law-making tools through which contemporary international law is made. It does not seek to give an account of the traditional - and untraditional - sources and theories of international law, but rather to identify the processes, participants and instruments employed in the making of international law. It accordingly examines some of the mechanisms and procedures whereby new rules of law are created or old rules are amended or abrogated. It concentrates on the UN, other international organisations, diplomatic conferences, codification bodies, NGOs, and courts.

Every society perceives the need to differentiate between its legal norms and other norms controlling social, economic and political behaviour. But unlike domestic legal systems where this distinction is typically determined by constitutional provisions, the decentralised nature of the international legal system makes this a complex and contested issue. Moreover, contemporary international law is often the product of a subtle and evolving interplay of law-making instruments, both binding and non-binding, and of customary law and general principles. Only in this broader context can the significance of so-called 'soft law' and multilateral treaties be fully appreciated.

An important question posed by any examination of international law-making structures is the extent to which we can or should make judgments about their legitimacy and coherence, and if so in what terms. Put simply, a law-making process perceived to be illegitimate or incoherent is more likely to be an ineffective process. From this perspective, the assumption of law-making power by the UN Security Council offers unique advantages of speed and universality, but it also poses a particular challenge to the development of a more open and participatory process observable in other international law-making bodies.

Dispute Resolution in Australia (with H. Astor) (Butterworths 2nd edition Butterworths, 2002), 462 pp

A critical treatment of processes of alternative dispute resolution currently adopted within Australia. Dispute resolution methods (in particular those adopted in commercial, family, discrimination and international disputes) are considered in a theoretical and evaluative light.

The Boundaries of International Law: A Feminist Analysis (with H. Charlesworth), (Manchester University Press, 2000), 414pp. (Translated into Japanese, 2004).

Halsbury's Laws of Australia, Volume 14 : Foreign Relations paras 215-5 – 215-110; (Butterworths: Sydney, 1994; 2nd edition 2001).

Third Parties in International Law (Oxford University Press, Monograph Series in International Law, 1993), 385pp.

Selected articles
and chapters in books

(with M.Nowicki, F.Tulkens) 'Final Report of the Human Rights Advisory Panel' Criminal Law Forum 28 (1) pp.77-97

(with Madeleine Rees) 'Exposing the Gendered Myth of Post Conflict Transition:The Transformative Power of Economic and Social Rights' New York University journal of international law & politics  48 (4) (2016) pp.1211-1226

‘Addressing Violence against Women in the Commonwealth within States’ Obligations under International Law’, 40 Commonwealth Law Bulletin (2014) pp.471-501 (This was a paper written for the Commonwealth Law Ministers Meeting, May 2014).

This article examines international human rights standards with respect to redressing violence against women. It first sets out the international and regional instruments and jurisprudence relevant to determining international standards. It notes that, while there is no single convention explicitly on violence against women, the consistent language is such that these instruments in conjunction with the work of expert bodies (notably the Committee on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW Committee) and the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women) provide a blueprint of recommended actions and strategies for governments, inter-governmental organisations and NGOs to ensure the human rights of women free from violence. The article then discusses the widely accepted understanding of gender-based violence against women as ‘violence that is directed against a woman because she is a woman or that affects women disproportionately’. The article adopts the framework of understanding states’ obligations through the typology of the obligations to respect, protect and fulfil women’s right to be free from violence. In particular, the obligation to exercise due diligence to prevent such violence, to protect women against such violence, to prosecute and punish the perpetrators of such violence and to provide reparation to the victims of such violence. It recognises the importance of legislation that defines violence against women and criminalises its various manifestations. However, it also recognises that legal reform is not of itself an adequate approach and that legislation must operate in an effective system. It thus highlights the importance of a holistic, multisectoral and comprehensive national strategy that includes addressing the ways that law enforcement personnel, judges and prosecutors are influenced adversely by gender stereotypes and prejudices.

(with Mary Kaldor) 'Gender and New Wars' Journal of International Affairs, 67 (1) (2013) pp.167-190

War plays an important role in the construction of gender, or the social roles of men and women. This article analyzes the gendered experience of what Kaldor calls "new wars." It shows that new wars are largely fought by men in the name of a political identity that usually has a significant gender dimension. They use tactics that involve deliberate attacks on civilians, including systematic rape as a weapon of war, and are financed by predatory economic activities that tend to affect women more than men. The article describes the ways in which laws relating to gendered violence have been strengthened since the 1990s, arguing that implementation has been very weak. The article concludes that the construction of masculinity in new wars, in contrast to the heroic warrior of "old wars," is much more contradictory and insecure. On the one hand, extreme gender differences can only be secured through continued violence; on the other hand, the very contradictory and insecure character of masculinity offers a potential for alternatives. By looking at new wars through a gender lens, it is possible to identify policy options that might be more likely to contribute to a sustained peace. These include support for civil society, which tends to involve a preponderance of women, implementation of law at local and international levels, and greater participation of women in all aspects of peacemaking, including peacekeeping and law enforcement.

‘International Dispute Resolution with Particular Attention to China’, in Collected Courses of the Xiamen Academy of International Law, vol 4 (2011) 211-307 (Martinus Nijhoff, 2013).

Accesso a la Justicia, Género y Derechos Humanos’ in Violencia de Género Estragia de litigio para la defense de los derechos de las mujeres, (2010, Ministerio Publico de la Defensa, Buenos Aires) 17-49.

C. Chinkin and I. Rangelov, 'A Bottom-Up Approach to Redressing past Violations of Human Rights', in D Kostovicova and M Glasius (eds) Bottom-Up Politics: An Agency Approach to Globalization (Palgrave, 2011) 112 – 126.

'The UK CEDAW story.'  European Human Rights Law Review 2011, 3, 274-293.

Discusses the UK's interaction with the Convention for the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) 1979. Looks at the context of the UK's signing and ratification of CEDAW in 1986. Highlights UK reservations on signature and ratification, and objections to UK reservations from foreign nations. Comments on the reporting obligations of the CEDAW Committee. Considers the application of CEDAW to the UK's Overseas Dependent Territories and Crown Dependencies. Explains the legal reception to CEDAW.

'International Humanitarian Law, Human Rights and the UK Courts’, in L. Boisson de Chazournes and M. Kohen, International law and the Quest for its Implementation (Martinus Nijhoff, 2010) 243

'Panel Discussion: Has International Law Civilized Conflicts since 1907?' (Chinkin, C.; Tomuschat, C.; Ronzitti, N.) Veroffentlichungen - Walther Schucking Instituts fur Internationales Recht an der Universitat Kiel  Vol. 173 (2009) pp. 509-520

'An International Law Framework with Respect to International Peace and Security' in Marlies Glasius and Mary Kaldor, A Human Security Doctrine for Europe (Routledge 2006) 173-199. 

Evaluation of the role of international law in human security doctrine, in particular the principles of jus ad bello, jus in bellum and human rights law.

'Feminist Approaches to International Law: Reflections from Another Century', in Doris Buss and Ambreena Manji (eds), International Law Modern Feminist Approaches (Hart Publishing, 2005) 17-47 (with H. Charlesworth and S. Wright).

International Law Modern Feminist Approaches - coverThis chapter revisits our prize winning article 'Feminist Approaches to International Law, 85 American Journal of International Law (1991) 613. It considers how developments in international law and procedures, global politics and economic globalization have impacted on the transformative potential of international law for the empowerment of women.

'Post Conflict Reconstruction and Rehabilitation', in Radhika Coomaraswamy and Dilrukshi Fonseka (eds), Peace Work (Women Unlimited/ICES, 2004) 208-37.

Peace Work - coverExamination of gender roles in post-conflict reconstruction and constitutionalism.

'Regulatory Frameworks in International Law', in Christine Parker, Colin Scott, Nicola Lacey and John Braithewaite (eds), Regulating Law (Oxford University Press, 2004) 246-268 (with H. Charlesworth)

Regulating Law - coverAn examination of international law as a regulatory regime, in particular in the context of post-conflict reconstruction, using Bosnia-Herzegovina and Timor Leste as case studies.

'Feminist Reflections on International Criminal Law', in Andreas Zimmermann (ed.), International Criminal Law and the Current Development of Public International Law (Duncker and Humblot, 2002) 125-60.  

International Criminal law - coverA feminist analysis of developments in international criminal process and jurisprudence that questions whether there have been significant advances in taking account of women's perspectives.

The United Nations Decade for the Elimination of Poverty: What Role for International Law? 54 Current Legal Problems, 553-589 (2001)

An examination of how poverty can be recast as a violation of human rights and the evolution of human rights law to address it.

Reports / discussion papers

Gender, Minorities and Indigenous Peoples, (with F. Banda) (Minorities Rights Group, 2004) 36pp (translated into at least eight languages).

A study of the concept of intersectionality in international human rights law, in particular between issues of race, ethnicity and gender).

Peace Agreements as a Means for Promoting Gender Equality and Ensuring Participation of Women
(UN Doc. EGM/PEACE/2003/BP.1)