Gerry Simpson

Gerry SimpsonEmail:
Administrative support: Rachel Yarham
Room: New Academic Building 6.13
Tel. 020-7955-7245

Gerry Simpson was appointed to a Chair in Public International Law at LSE January, 2016. He previously taught at the University of Melbourne (2007-2015), the Australian National University (1995-1998) and LSE (2000-2007). He is the author of Great Powers and Outlaw States (Cambridge, 2004) and Law, War and Crime: War Crimes Trials and the Reinvention of International Law (Polity 2007), and co-editor (with Kevin Jon Heller) of Hidden Histories (Oxford, 2014) and (with Raimond Gaita) of Who’s Afraid of International Law? (Monash, forthcoming, 2016) 

Research Interests

Gerry’s current research projects include an ARC-funded project on Cold War International Law (with Matt Craven, SOAS) and Sundhya Pahuja, (Melbourne) and a counter-history of International Criminal Justice.

He is currently also writing about the literary life of international law; an exploratory essay –  "The Sentimental Life of International Law" –  was published in The London Review of International Law. A book of the same name will be published in 2017. He is an editor of The London Review of International Law and an occasional essayist and contributor for Arena Magazine in Melbourne (his latest essay is entitled "Syrian Fantasies") and The Conversation. He will teach Rethinking International Law, Public International Law and International Criminal Law at the LSE in Lent, 2017.

External Activities

Dr Simpson has worked for several NGOs and was a member of the Australian Government Delegation to the Rome Diplomatic Conference for the Negotiation of the Statute for the International Criminal Court. In 2004, he was the Sir Ninian Stephen Visiting Fellow in the Asia-Pacific Centre for Military Law, University of Melbourne. He appears regularly in the British media (writing for the BBC and appearing on television), and engages in human rights training with the UK Foreign Office and the Belgrade Humanitarian Law Centre.


(ed. with Raimond Gaita)  Who’s Afraid of International Law? (Monash University Press, 2015)  [FORTHCOMING]

(ed. with Kevin Heller) The Hidden Histories of War Crimes Trials (OUP, 2013)

Several instances of war crimes trials are familiar to all scholars, but in order to advance understanding of the development of international criminal law, it is important to provide a full range of evidence from less-familiar trials. This book therefore provides an essential resource for a more comprehensive overview, uncovering and exploring some of the lesser-known war crimes trials that have taken place in a variety of contexts: international and domestic, northern and southern, historic and contemporary. It analyses these trials with a view to recognising institutional innovations, clarifying doctrinal debates, and identifying their general relevance to contemporary international criminal law. At the same time, the book recognises international criminal law's history of suppression or sublimation: What stories has the discipline refused to tell? What stories have been displaced by the ones it has told? Has international criminal law's framing or telling of these stories excluded other possibilities? And - perhaps most important of all - how can recovering the lost stories and imagining new narrative forms reconfigure the discipline?

(ed. with Yuki Tanaka and Tim McCormack) Beyond Victor’s Justice: The Tokyo War Crimes Trial Revisited  (Martinus Nijhoff) (2011).

The aim of this new collection of essays is to engage in analysis beyond the familiar victor’s justice critiques. The editors have drawn on authors from across the world — including Australia, Japan, China, France, Korea, New Zealand and the United Kingdom — with expertise in the fields of international humanitarian law, international criminal law, Japanese studies, modern Japanese history, and the use of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. The diverse backgrounds of the individual authors allow the editors to present essays which provide detailed and original analyses of the Tokyo Trial from legal, philosophical and historical perspectives.

Law, War and Crime : War Crime Trials and the Reinvention of International Law (Polity 2007)

Law, War and Crime - coverFrom events at Nuremberg and Tokyo after World War II, to the recent trials of Slobodan Milošević and Saddam Hussein, war crimes trials are an increasingly pervasive feature of the aftermath of conflict. In his new book, Law, War and Crime, Gerry Simpson explores the meaning and effect of such trials, and places them in their broader political and cultural contexts. The book traces the development of the war crimes field from its origins in the outlawing of piracy to its contemporary manifestation in the establishment of the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

Great Powers and Outlaw States (Cambridge, 2004)

Great Powers - cover

From the Congress of Vienna to the "war on terrorism", the roles of "great powers and outlaw states" have had a major impact on international relations. Gerry Simpson describes the ways in which an international legal order based on "sovereign equality" has accommodated the great powers and regulated outlaw states since the beginning of the nineteenth century. Simpson also offers a way of understanding recent transformations in the global political order by recalling the lessons of the past--in particular, through the recent violent conflicts in Kosovo and Afghanistan.


Foreword Professor James Crawford; Preface; Acknowledgements; Part I. Introduction: 1. Great powers and outlaw states; Part II. Concepts: 2. Sovereign equalities; 3. Legalised hierarchies; Part III. Histories: Great Powers: 4. Legalised hegemony: Vienna to The Hague 1815–1906; 5. ‘Extreme equality’: rupture at The Hague 1907; 6. The great powers, sovereign equality and the making of the UN charter: San Francisco 1945; 7. Holy alliances: Verona 1818 and Kosovo 1999; Part IV. Histories: Outlaw States: 8. Unequal sovereigns 1815–1839; 9. Peace-loving nations: 1945; 10. Outlaw states: 1999; Part V. Conclusion: 11. Arguing about Afghanistan: great powers and outlaw states redux; 12. The puzzle of sovereignty.

Prize Winner
ASIL: Certificate of Merit for Pre-eminent Contribution to Creative Legal Scholarship

War Crimes: Volumes I and II (Ashgate, 2004)

The past two decades have witnessed a revival of interest in international criminal law. This renascence has been stimulated by events such as the wars suffered by Sierra Leone and Cambodia, and the establishment of the world's first permanent international criminal court. These volumes consider war crimes law from a theoretical and historical perspective, presenting the finest English-language scholarship on the subject.

'Whatever one's views, this book deserves to be welcomed for making available in one place some of the most informed writings on this contentious subject.' Journal of the Commonwealth Lawyers' Association

The Nature of International Law, (ed.) Ashgate Press, 2002).

(with Timothy McCormack) The Law of War Crimes (ed.) Kluwer International (1997)

Selected articles
and chapters in books

'OS Grid Ref. NM 68226 84912 & OS Grid Ref. TQ 30052 80597' in The Objects of International Law, Joyce and Hohmann (forthcoming, 2017)

'Imagination' in J. D’Aspremont and S. Singh, (eds.), Fundamental Concepts for International Law, (forthcoming, Elgar, in press, 2017)

'The Globalisation of International Law' in C. Reus-Smit and T. Dunne, Globalisation of International Society (eds.), (forthcoming, Oxford University Press, in press, 2016)

'Pathologies of Expansion' in The Globalisation of International Society, Reus-Smit and Dunne (eds), Oxford, forthcoming, 2016)

'Being Afraid of International Law' in R. Gaita and G. Simpson (eds.), Who’s Afraid of International Law (forthcoming, Monash University Press, 2016)

'Juridical Investigations: Martin Wight as International Lawyer' in (Robert McCorquodale and Jean-Pierre Gauci eds.), British Approaches to International Law, 1915-2015, (Brill, 2016)

James Lorimer and the Character of Nations: A Twenty First Century Treatise' 27 (2) European Journal of International Law, (2016) 431-446

'Human Rights with a Vengeance: One Hundred Years of Retributive Humanitarianism', 33 Australian Yearbook of International Law (2016) 1-14.

'The End of the End of History: Some Epitaphs for Liberalism', Baltic Yearbook of International Law, (2016) 332-343.

'Humanity, Law, Force' in H. Charlesworth and J. Farrall, (eds.), Strengthening the Rule of Law through the UN Security Council, (Routledge, 2016) 72-86.

'Something to Do with States' in A. Orford and F. Hoffman (eds.), Oxford Handbook of International Legal Theory, (Oxford University Press, 2016) 564-582.

'The Sentimental Life of International Law' London Review of International Law (2015)

'Roger Avant Garde' in For the Sake of Future Generations (eds. Linton, Simpson, Schabas), Nijhoff, 2015)

'International Law’s Common Humanity' in C.Taylor (ed.), Essays for Raimond Gaita, (Monash University Press, 2014).

'Linear Law' in C. Schwobel (ed.), Critical Approaches to International Criminal Law (Routledge, 2014)

'History of Histories' in K. Heller and G. Simpson (eds.), The Hidden Histories of International Criminal Law (Oxford University Press, 2013)

'Crime, Structure, Harm' in S. Joidon (ed.) Sustainable Development, International Criminal Justice and Treaty Implementation, (Cambridge University Press (2013)

'Atrocity, Law, Humanity' in Cambridge Companion to Human Rights Law (eds. C. Gearty and C. Douzinas) (Cambridge University Press, 2013)

'International Law in Diplomatic History' in Cambridge Companion to International Law (eds. J. Crawford and M. Koskenniemi) (Cambridge University Press, 2012)