Devika Hovell

Administrative support: Lewina Coote
Room: New Academic Building 6.32
Tel. 020-7955-7254

Devika Hovell joined the LSE in 2012 as an Assistant Professor in Public International Law. She holds a doctorate from the University of Oxford and a Master of Laws from New York University, where she was awarded the George Colin Award. Devika graduated from the University of Western Australia with a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Laws with First Class Honours. She served as an Associate to Justice Kenneth Hayne at the High Court of Australia, and as judicial clerk at the International Court of Justice in the Hague. She formerly held lectureships at the University of New South Wales and the University of Birmingham.

Research Interests
  • United Nations

  • Use of force and international humanitarian law

  • International courts and tribunals

  • Interface between public law and public international law

  • Relationship between international law and domestic law


No Country is an Island: Australia and International Law (UNSW Press: Sydney, 2006) (with Professor Hilary Charlesworth, Madelaine Chiam and Professor George Williams). [Highly Commended, Australian Human Rights Awards 2006]

International law does not seem immediately relevant to domestic Australian politics and law, let alone to our everyday lives. Yet, as this essential book shows, international law has a growing significance for trade, human rights, crime, terrorism and climate change. This is a highly readable, timely and important book that shows that while international law can seem remote, there is an urgent need to understand it and for its processes to be as transparent as possible.

The Fluid State: International Law and National Legal Systems (Federation Press: Sydney, 2005) (edited with Professor Hilary Charlesworth, Madelaine Chiam and Professor George Williams).

Described as ‘a valuable contribution to contemporary scholarship in the strongly comparative approach it performs and develops’ providing ‘a rich sense of the range of effects produced by the choice to refer to law in the administration of international matters when that choice is made in the fact of the “war on terror”, human rights violations and economic globalisation’.

Selected articles
and chapters in books

'A Dialogue Model: The Role of the Domestic Judge in Security Council Decision-Making' Leiden Journal of International Law (2013) 25 (3) pp.579-597

This article proposes a different theoretical account of the role of domestic courts when engaged in judicial review of decision-making by international institutions. Many domestic courts in democratic societies operate in accordance with a ‘public-law model’ when adjudicating questions related to international decision-making, underwritten by respect for doctrines such as the rule of law and separation of powers. Drawing on a case study of domestic-court decisions in the Security Council sanctions context, this article seeks to demonstrate how the public law model’s focus on concepts of ‘bindingness’ and hierarchy between judicial and political organs can lead to distorted outcomes when applied to decision-making by international institutions. As an alternative, the author proposes a different theoretical account of the judicial role, described as the 'dialogue model', of courts when engaging in the review of Security Council decision-making. The idea is that domestic courts should confine themselves to tools of 'interpretation' and 'declaration' in their approach to international decision-making, so as to position their judgments in amore theoretically supportable way in the broader legal context.

The Gulf Between Tortious and Torturous: UK Responsibility for Mistreatment of the Mau Mau in Colonial Kenya'  Journal of International Criminal Justice (2013) 11 (1) p.223-245

Analyses the Queen's Bench Division judgment in Mutua v Foreign and Commonwealth Office on whether the UK Government was liable for the abuse of Kenyan Mau Mau detainees by the colonial administration in the 1950s and 1960s on the basis of: (1) primary liability; (2) vicarious liability; (3) its alleged succession to the colonial government's primary liability on Kenya's independence; or (4) negligence. Discusses the significance of the fact that UK law does not recognise a tort of torture for each liability decision. Outlines the court's later ruling on whether the action was time-barred.

'The Deliberative Deficit: Transparency, Access to Information and UN Sanctions' in Jeremy Farrall and Kim Rubenstein, Sanctions Accountability and Governance in a Globalized World (Cambridge University Press, 2009), pp 92-122.

 'A Tale of Two Systems: The Use of International Law in Constitutional Interpretation in Australia and South Africa' (2005) 29 Melbourne University Law Review 95 (with George Williams), pp 95-130.

'Advice to the Hon Simon Crean MP on the use of force against Iraq' (2003) 4(1) Melbourne Journal of International Law 183 (with George Williams), pp 183-189.

'Deep Anxieties: Australia and the International Legal Order' (2003) 25 Sydney Law Review 423 (with Hilary Charlesworth, Madelaine Chiam and George Williams), pp 423-465.