The Changing Character of International Dispute Settlement
6th December 2019
Moot Court, Bartolomé House, Winter St
Moot Court is located in the School of Law, Bartolomé House, Winter Street, Sheffield. You can find more information on where we are located on our contact page.
As the late Professor Merrills wrote in his seminal book International Dispute Settlement (6th ed, CUP, 2017), ‘the peaceful settlement of international disputes is the most critical issue of our time.’ Currently, we witness the exponential growth of disputes in areas as diverse as human rights, environment, trade and investment. Contemporary disputes are also more complex, involving multiple disputants, norms and dispute settlement institutions (legal or non-legal). The expansion of the system of international dispute settlement (IDS) through the multiplication of IDS institutions with overlapping competences has exacerbated the risk of fragmentation and of conflicting outcomes. The development of international law in new fields such as cyber law and space law raises the question of whether existing IDS institutions are adequate or whether new institutions are required. Questions are also raised as to whether existing dispute settlement mechanisms have the legitimacy to deal with issues involving public interests, such as health, environment, and human rights. These tensions are compounded by the resurgence of nationalism, protectionism, and isolationism. The immediate question is how the IDS system can address these challenges in order to maintain world peace and international legality. To this end, the Sheffield Centre for International and European Law (SCIEL) at the University of Sheffield is organising a one-day conference bringing together academics and practitioners who are experts in different fields of dispute settlement. The conference aims to identify ways and make proposals as to how the IDS system can address the above mentioned challenges and how it can evolve and adapt in order to preserve peace and international legality.
Click here for the full programme
Professor John G. Merrills (1942-2018)
John G. Merrills was Emeritus Professor at the University of Sheffield. He joined the University of Sheffield School of Law in 1964 and was made Professor of Public International Law in 1985, a position he held until his retirement in 2007. During his academic career at the University of Sheffield, John twice served as Dean of the Faculty of Law. John also served for eight years as an Alternate Member of the UN Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities. In 2007 he was elected an Associate Member of the Institut de Droit International.
John was a towering figure in public international law and international dispute settlement, on which he authored numerous books and articles. He was a popular and inspiring teacher and a collegiate and well-liked member of the academic community. His textbook International Dispute Settlement is published by Cambridge University Press and is now in its sixth edition. It remains the leading text in the area and is an important source of reference for policy-makers, academics and students alike.
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