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Lawfare: do law and courts have power to solve global problems? | LSE Festival

Hosted by LSE Festival: Power and Politics

In-person and online public event (Great Hall, Marshall Building)


Professor Larry Kramer

Professor Larry Kramer

Howard Morrison KC

Dr Joana Setzer

Dr Joana Setzer

Professor Gerry Simpson

Professor Gerry Simpson


Dr Theresa Squatrito

Dr Theresa Squatrito


Dr Theresa Squatrito

Dr Ian Higham

There is a growing expectation for law and courts, whether domestic or international, to be remedies for international problems. We explore the power of law and courts in the face of contemporary international challenges.  

Days after Russian forces invaded Ukraine in February 2022, world leaders and policy analysts alike quickly invoked international law with an unprecedented 39 states referring Russia to the International Criminal Court. International humanitarian law has similarly been front and centre in commentary by politicians, diplomats, policy analysts and the media on Israel’s response to Hamas’ attacks in October. International courts and tribunals have been increasingly asked to weigh in on climate change, and even domestic law and courts have been seen responding to international problems from child slavery to environmental damage. 

Is lawfare – or the mobilisation of law and courts – a hollow hope or promising cure for the regional and global problems of our time? 

Meet our speakers and chair

Larry Kramer is President and Vice Chancellor of the London School of Economics and Political Science. He is a renowned legal scholar and teacher, a former Dean of the Stanford Law School, and a former President of the William & Flora Hewlett Foundation.

Howard Morrison is a British lawyer. From 2011 to 2021 he was a Judge of the International Criminal Court based in The Hague, Netherlands. Currently he is UK advisor on war crimes to the Ukrainian Prosecutor General.

Joana Setzer (@JoanaSetzer) is Assistant Professorial Research Fellow at the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at LSE. Her main areas of expertise are climate litigation and global environmental governance.

Gerry Simpson is Professor of International Law at LSE. His latest work, The Sentimental Life of International Law: Literature, Language and Longing in Global Politics, was published by Oxford last year. He is currently working on a book entitled The Atomics: My Nuclear Family at the end of the Earth. Gerry is a Fellow of the British Academy.

Ian Higham (@highamian) is a postdoctoral research officer in environmental politics at the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at LSE. He conducts research on multiple projects in global environmental politics with a focus on integrating human rights and climate policy.

Theresa Squatrito is Associate Professor in International Organisations in the Department of International Relations at LSE. She teaches international organisations and international institutions, and the politics of international human rights at LSE.

More about this event

This event is part of the LSE Festival: Power and Politics running from Monday 10 to Saturday 15 June 2024, with a series of events exploring how power and politics shape our world. Booking for all Festival events will open on Monday 13 May.  

The Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment (@gri_lse) is a world-leading centre for policy-relevant research and training on climate change and the environment. 

The Department of International Relations (@LSEIRDept) at LSE is now in its 96th year, and is one of the oldest as well as largest IR departments in the world, with a truly international reputation. The Department is ranked 2nd in the UK and 4th in the world in the QS World University Ranking by Subject 2023 tables for Politics and International Studies.

Hashtag for this event: #LSEFestival

From time to time there are changes to event details so we strongly recommend that if you plan to attend this event you check back on this listing on the day of the event. 

How can I attend? Add to calendar

This event is part of the LSE Festival: Power and Politics. The event is free and open to all, but a ticket is required. The event will be hybrid, with an in-person audience and an online audience.

Register here for the in-person in event

If you would like to attend online, register you can register for all events at LSE Festival online events.

To find out more about Festival bookings, please visit the ticket information page or email events@lse.ac.uk

This event will be streamed live on YouTube

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