About the Lab

Projects and people

Future of International Law project

Beyond Global Capitalism: Reclaiming the Future of International Law

Contemporary international law supports a particular approach to the market and the promotion of economic interests. Since the early 1990s, it has been constructed around a neoliberal ideology supporting a global capitalism of markets for goods, services and technology, open foreign investment regimes, and the free flow of capital across state borders. This ideology reflects a general commitment to private title and privatization, to commodification and accumulation, but was built around the promises by the economically powerful of widespread social and economic benefit. In significant ways these promises did not materialize, often because international law promotes the wrong values and benefits the powerful at the expense of the weak, either by design or because of its structural inadequacies. What has become apparent are the ways in which domination, exploitation and coercion, accompanied by gross inequalities, serve as a set of unexamined facts about the global economy and its normative order, international law. The post-1945 international legal order was supposed to be a break from the coercion of international law of the past in the interests of justice, but what seems to have happened is that the coercion has simply taken on a particular form, which, when combined with fragmentation in international law, have resulted in serious normative deficiencies.  

This collaborative writing project studies the international legal regimes of investment, trade, finance and human rights and the terms on which humanity has been challenged by them. Drawing on a range of disciplinary insights, the work will expose problematic cleavages – the separation of the economic and non-economic realms, the bifurcation of the internal and external affairs of states, and the existence of both the fragmentation of international legal orders as well as their unity of purpose in so far as the worst tendencies of self-interest in a market find sustenance among them all. This is an inquiry into what is in essence the economic violence of international law and perhaps the basis for its redemption.


John Linarelli is Chair in Commercial Law at Durham University, co-directs the Institute of Commercial and Corporate Law at Durham and is a member of the Centre for Law and Global Justice at Durham.

Margot Salomon is Associate Professor in the Law Department and directs the Laboratory for Advanced Research on the Global Economy LSE Human Rights.

Muthucumaraswamy Sornarajah is CJ Koh Professor of Law at the National University of Singapore.



  • Dr Margot Salomon, Lab Director

Lab Visiting Fellows 

  • Dr Ali Kadri, Senior Research Fellow at the Middle East Institute, National University of Singapore. 
  • Andrea Saldarriaga, Former co-lead, Investment and Human Rights Project
  • Andrea Shemberg, Former co-lead, Investment and Human Rights Project

Former Lab Fellows

  • Dr Nicolas Bueno, Postdoctoral Researcher in Business and Human Rights, Université de Louvain
  • Dr Radha Ivory, Lecturer, TC Beirne School of Law, University of Queensland
  • Dr Claire Charters, Associate Professor, Faculty of Law, The University of Auckland, New Zealand
  • Dr Joshua Curtis, Visiting Fellow, Freie Universität, Berlin
  • Professor Muthucumarswamy Sornarajah, Professor, National University of Singapore 
  • Marlies Hesselman, GLOTHRO Scholar (supported by the Globalisation and Transnational Human Rights Obligations Research Networking Programme)

Visiting Fellowships

We welcome applications from visiting scholars as well as practitioners interested in spending time at the Lab.

The Lab aims to put in place a fully funded Visiting Fellowship programme to enable exceptional applicants from around the world to spend time at LSE and actively engage with the Lab’s initiatives, irrespective of their financial means. Until that time, applicants who have funding in place can apply through the Visiting Fellowship programme, making particular reference to the Lab and the relevance of their work to its objectives.


The Lab hosts a Secondment Scheme and welcomes hearing from the public, private and non-profit sectors interested in seconding specialists to work on Lab projects.

Secondees need not be experts in the field of human rights but should be able to demonstrate how their placement at the Lab could benefit their organisation. Applications may be submitted at any time and will be considered by the Lab's Secondment Committee. For information on how to apply please email: 

Supper Club

The Supper Club is a cross-departmental group of LSE scholars co-ordinated by the Lab. The group was established in 2009 to discuss, debate and advance understanding and scholarship on topics related to justice and globalisation of multidisciplinary interest. The Club meets once per term and is open to any interested member of LSE academic staff.



'Ideas about rights “travelling” across national boundaries through donor policies and international NGOs', March 2016. Professor Naila Kabeer, Gender Institute, LSE. Link to paper

'The Obligations to Protect the Natural World: An Economic Liberal Foundation' June 2015, Dr Joe Mazor, Department of Government, LSE

‘How Foreign Aid Affects Election Outcomes’, Dec 2014, Dr Ryan Jablonski, Department of Government, LSE

'Voice, Reflexivity and Say: Governing Access to and Control of Land in China', Jun 2014, Dr Eva Pils, Visiting Fellow, Department of Law and Associate Professor at the Faculty of Law of The Chinese University of Hong Kong. Link to paper

'Human Rights, the ‘Political View’, and TNCs: An Exploration', Feb 2014, Dr Laura Valentini, Department of Government, LSE

'Capitalism and Democracy at Cross-Purposes', Dec 2013, Professor Robert Wade, Department of International Development, LSE, Link to paper

'Is the Concept of "Due Diligence" in the Guiding Principles Coherent?', Feb 2013, Dr Jonathan Bonnitcha, Visiting Fellow, Law Department, LSE. Link to paper Jonathan Bonnitcha & Robert McCorquodale, 2013

'The Right to Economic Development in the Arab World’, Jun 2011, Dr Ali Kadri, Visiting Fellow, Department of International Development, LSE. Link to paper

'The Politics of Pharmaceutical Patent Examination in Brazil', Nov 2011, Dr Ken Shadlen, Department of International Development, LSE, Link to paper chapter in ‪Knowledge Governance: Reasserting the Public Interest, ‪Leonardo Burlamaqui, ‪Ana Célia Castro & ‪Rainer Kattel (eds.) Anthem Press, 2012

'Theatre of the Rule of Law: Transnational Legal Intervention in Theory and Practice', Dec 2010, Dr Stephen Humphreys, Law Department, LSE, Link to paper prologue, S Humphreys, Theatre of the Rule of Law: Transnational Legal Intervention in Theory and Practice CUP, 2012

'Multipolarity and Global Governance: The "Multipolar Governance Dilemma" as it plays out in the G20 and the World Bank', Jun 2010, Professor Robert Wade, Department of International Development, LSE, Link to paper

'A Human Rights Analysis of the G20 Communique' Nov 2009, Dr Margot Salomon, LSE Human Rights & Law Department, Link to paper Sakiko Fukuda-Parr & Margot E. Salomon, 2009

‘Critical Reflections on Human Rights and Globalisation From Political Theory', Jul 2009, Dr Katrin Flikschuh, Government Department, LSE

'What Do We Mean When We Talk About "Human Rights"?', Jun 2009, Dr Margot Salomon, LSE Human Rights and Law Department, and Professor Robert Wade, Department of International Development, LSE

Sounding Board

Lab benefits from the ideas, experience and vision of a panel of outstanding thinkers with expertise from around the globe and across disciplines.

Professor Olivier De Schutter

Olivier De Schutter is professor at the University of Louvain (Belgium) and at the College of Europe. He has been a regular visiting professor at Columbia University, where he worked on governance in the EU and on global hunger. A specialist in economic and social rights, he held the post of United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to food from 2008-2014 and in 2014 was elected to the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. His current work is on the theory of governance and European integration, as well as on the links between trade, investment and human rights. He has been awarded the Francqui Prize for exceptional contributions to the social sciences and the humanities. His most recent books are Foreign Direct Investment and Human Development, The Law and Economics of International Investment Agreements (co-editor) (Routledge, 2012) and International Human Rights Law (Cambridge Univ. Press, 2nd ed. 2014). He also authored reports in 2013 on Gender Equality and Food Security (for the Asian Development Bank and FAO) and on Trade in Service of Sustainable Development (for the Belgian Government).

Professor Sakiko Fukuda-Parr

Sakiko Fukuda-Parr is Professor of International Affairs at The New School, New York. She is a development economist working in the multidisciplinary framework of capabilities and human development, and currently works on human rights and poverty, conflict prevention, and global technology. From 1995 to 2004, she was lead author and director of the UNDP Human Development Reports. A Japanese national, Professor Fukuda-Parr received her BA from Cambridge University (UK), MALD from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy (USA), and MA from the University of Sussex (UK). Her publications, in addition to the Human Development Reports, include: The Gene Revolution: GM Crops and Unequal Development; Readings in Human Development; Rethinking Technical Cooperation - Reforms for capacity building in Africa; Capacity for Development - Old Problems, New Solutions, and numerous papers and book chapters on issues of poverty, gender, human rights, and technology. She founded and is editor of the Journal of Human Development, and is on the Editorial Board of Feminist Economics. She is also on the board of several NGOs that advocate for human rights and technology for development. In 2008 Professor Fukuda-Parr sat on the interactive panel addressing the financial crisis convened by the President of the UN General Assembly.

Dr Ali Kadri

Dr Ali Kadris is Senior Research Fellow at the National University of Singapore. He was previouslyVisiting Fellow at the Department of International Development, London School of Economics and Head of the Economic Analysis Section at the United Nations regional office for Western Asia in Beirut. He is a member of the Sounding Board at the Laboratory for Advanced Research on the Global Economy, LSE.

Dr Rachel Kurian

Rachel Kurian is currently assistant Professor in International Labour Economics at the International Institute of Social Studies of the Erasmus University Rotterdam. She holds degrees in Mathematics and Economics, and has studied at the Universities of Madras, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, University of Cambridge, UK and University of Amsterdam where she completed her PhD in 1989. Her research has focused on economic globalisation, gender, human and labour rights, social justice, social exclusion and poverty. Her field experience has included Asia (Sri Lanka, India, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, South Korea), Latin America (Colombia, Peru, Chile, Ecuador), Caribbean (Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados), and Africa (Mauritius, Tanzania, South Africa). Publications since 2000 include:

  • “Models of Elderly Care in Japan and The Netherlands: Social Quality Perspectives” International Journal of Social Quality, Volume 2, Number 1, Summer 2012.
  • “Flexicurity and Gender Mainstreaming: Deliberative Processes, Knowledge Networks and the European Labour Market” in Gender Knowledge and Knowledge Networks in International Political Economy, Brigitte Young, Christoph Scherrer (eds), Nomos Verlagsgesellschaft, Baden-Baden (Germany) 2010.
  • Quest for Equity: Urban Dalit Women Employees and Entrepreneurs (co-authored with Satyendra Kumar and Annie Namala). A research report by Justitia et Pax: The Hague, 2010.
  • 'The Globalisation of Domestic Care Services', in T.D. Truong, S.E. Wieringa and A. Chhachhi (eds) Engendering Human Security: Feminist Perspectives, Zed Press and Women Unlimited, 2006.
  • 'Industrial Clusters and Labour in Rural Areas: The Brick Kiln Industry in Three States', in K. Das (ed) Indian Industrial Clusters, Aldershot/Brookfield: Ashgate, 2005.
  • Trade Unions and Child Labour: Challenges for the 21st Century, Maastricht, Shaker Publishing, 2005.
  • 'Labor, Race and Gender on the Coffee Plantations in Ceylon, 1834-1880.' in W. Gervase, C. Smith and S. Topik (eds). The Global Coffee Economy in Africa, Asia and Latin America, 1500-1989. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003.
  • Women Workers in a Global Economy: Trends and Issues, ISS Working Papers, General Series, no. 384, The Hague, 2003.
  • 'India: To Act and Learn.' in B. Grimsrud (ed). The Next Steps: Experiences and Analysis of How to Eradicate Child Labour, Oslo: Fafo, 2002.
  • 'Minder Onderwijs Minder Kinderarbeid ( 87E Jaargang, 31 Mei 2002), Economisch Statistische Berichten. 4364(2002).
  • 'Dubbele Standaard: Globalisering Zonder Democratie, De Helling, 3(2002).

Professor Fiona MacMillan

Fiona MacMillan is Professor of Law at Birkbeck, University of London and Visiting Professor of Law at the University of Roma Tre. Her areas of research expertise, in which she has published widely, are international economic law, copyright and cultural rights. Her work focuses on a consideration, in the particular context of rights relating to cultural production, of the problems posed by the relationship between public international law and international economic law. She is the director of Birkbeck’s LLM in International Economic Law, Justice and Development. At the University of Roma Tre she teaches a course on the international protection of cultural heritage that focuses on the problems of cultural heritage protection in the context of the divided system of international law. 

Professor Krista Nadakavukaren Schefer

Krista Nadakavukaren Schefer is professor of international law in the University of Basel’s Faculty of Law. Teaching a variety of courses, her recent research interests lie at the intersection of the international economic law regimes and other areas international law. Her recent work includes the examination of how the trade and investment systems affect poverty and poverty reduction, the connections between trade law and the laws prohibiting corruption, and an introductory analysis of the international legal framework on weight and obesity. A long time resident of Switzerland, Professor Nadakavukaren is a native of the United States. She spent a year at Wellesley College and graduated from the University of Chicago. She received her juris doctor from Georgetown University Law School, and her doctorate and “habilitation” from the University of Bern. She began her career at the University of Bern, where she continues to teach and act as a Senior Research Fellow with the World Trade Institute. 

Dr Usha Natarajan

Usha Natarajan (PhD, MA, LLB, BA) is assistant professor of international law at the Department of Law and the Center for Migration and Refugee Studies in the American University in Cairo. Her research is multidisciplinary, utilizing third world and postcolonial approaches to international law to provide an interrelated understanding of the relationship between international law and issues of development, migration, environment and conflict. Dr Natarajan explores the interplay of these issues globally and in the Arab region, with a particular focus on Iraq as well as the ongoing Arab uprisings. Prior to joining AUC in 2010, she served as Legal Research Fellow for Human Rights and Poverty Eradication at the Center for International Sustainable Development Law at McGill University, and taught international law at the Australian National University. She has worked with various international organizations including UNDP, UNESCO and the World Bank on law reform initiatives in Asia, including Indonesia during its democratic transition, and in post-independence Timor-Leste. In 2012, Dr Natarajan received the inaugural RP Anand International Law Prize for her essay on ‘A TWAIL Reading of the Arab Spring: A Reflection on Sovereignty over Natural Resources’. Recent publications include ‘Locating Nature: Making and Unmaking International Law’ (with K Khoday, Leiden Journal of International Law, forthcoming 2014) and ‘Forced Displacement from Syria or How to Institutionalize Regimes of Suffering’ (2013) 2(6) ESIL Reflections.

Professor Prabhat Patnaik

Prabhat Patnaik is an Indian economist and political commentator. He is Professor Emeritus at the Centre for Economic Studies and Planning at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi where he has taught since 1974 prior to which he taught at Cambridge University in the Faculty of Economics and Politics. In 1966 he won a Rhodes Scholarship to the University of Oxford where he studied first at Balliol College and later at Nuffield College, obtaining his BPhil and DPhil degrees in Economics.

Professor Patnaik specialises in Macroeconomics and Political Economy, areas in which he has written a number of books and articles. His books include Time, Inflation and Growth (1988), Economics and Egalitarianism (1990), Whatever Happened to Imperialism and Other Essays (1995), Accumulation and Stability Under Capitalism (1997), and The Retreat to Unfreedom (2003). He was the editor of Social Scientist and from 2006-2011 was the executive head of the Planning Board in the state of Kerala. In 2008 Professor Patnaik sat on the interactive panel addressing the financial crisis convened by the President of the UN General Assembly.  

Dr Asunción Lera St.Clair

Philosopher and sociologist, Dr Asunción Lera St.Clair is Research Director at the International Centre for Climate and Environmental Research-Oslo (CICERO), and former Professor of Sociology at the University of Bergen. St. Clair is Lead Author of the IPCC AR5 for the Working Group II Report; member of the Joint Programming Initiative Connecting Climate Knowledge For Europe (JPI Climate). Member of the Swedish Research Council Climate program; President of the International Development Ethics Association, and member of the editorial boards of the journals Global Environmental ChangeGlobal GovernanceGlobal Social PolicyGlobal Ethics, and Globalizations. Her research interests are focused on the relations between transformative change, climate change, critical poverty studies, development ethics, human rights and global justice, with a particular focus on epistemology and processes of knowledge production.

Journal articles: Climate Change and Development Framings: A Comparative Analysis of the Human Development Report 2007/8 and the World Development Report 2010 (with D.Gasper and A.V. Portocarrero), Journal of Global Environmental Change 23 (2013). ‘From Poverty to Prosperity: Addressing Growth, Equity and Ethics in a Changing Environment’ in O’Brien, K. Sygna, L. Wolf, J. (eds.) A Changing Environment for Human Security: New Agendas for Research, Policy and Action, London, Earthscan (with Victoria Lawson). Climate Justice: Narratives, Rights and the Poor. Special Issue of The South African Journal of Human Rights, eds. (with Siri Gloppen and Jackie Dugard), forthcoming 2013. ‘Climate Change Lawfare’ Journal of Social Research International Quarterly,Volume 79 No. 4, 2012 (with Siri Gloppen).Transformative Cornerstones of Social Science Research for Global Change (with Heide Hackmann). Report, International Social Science Council (ISS) Recent books: Climate Change, Ethics and Human Security in K.O’Brien, A.L.St.Clair, B.Kristoffersen (eds) Cambridge University Press. 2010. Development Ethics: A Reader, St.Clair, L.A. and D. Gasper (eds), London: Ashgate. 2009. Global Poverty, Ethics, and Human Rights: The Role of Multilateral Organisations (With Desmond McNeill), New York and London: Routledge, 2009.