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A New International Legal Order?: The challenge for International Law post-9/11

Speakers: Phil Shiner, Rabinder Singh QC
Chair: Professor Margot Light
October 2005


This seminar will explore how international law has become central to the legitimisation of the response of the US and UK to events post 9/11. International Law is now at a crossroads and is fast developing within domestic legal systems, yet it is clear that it can point in a number of different directions. The war in Iraq demonstrated its juridical and institutional weaknesses. Can the subject be strengthened and made more into a force that can be used for peaceful purposes? Are the US and UK concerned to change international law so as to make it more flexible and more capable of legitimising their agendas? This seminar will address these issues, focusing on a number of recent domestic legal challenges with strong international law dimensions, including cases on alleged abuses of rights by UK soldiers and on Guantanamo.

Phil Shiner leads the team at Public Interest Lawyers (PIL). He has acted for Gurkha soldiers facing discrimination in the British army and in relation to the conduct of British troops in post-occupation Iraq. He has dealt with international law issues through, for example, representing CND in a judicial review challenging the Government's decision to go to war.

Rabinder Singh QC practises at Matrix chambers, specialising in public law and human rights. He is the author of The Future of Human Rights in the UK (1997), Vice-Chair of the Constitutional and Administrative Law Bar Association, and was appointed as deputy High Court Judge in 2003.