10 October 2019

The Changing Character of International Dispute Settlement

John G. Merrills Memorial Conference

Panoramic view of Moot Court

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. 

This event is supported by SCIEL, University of Sheffield and the Society of Legal Scholars

Register your interest For all general enquiries, please contact Fiona Davies: fdavies3@sheffield.ac.uk 


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.


By Train 

Sheffield Railway Station is located in the city centre and is a 30 minute walk to Bartolomé House. For more information or to buy tickets, please visit the National Rail or Trainline. 

If you are travelling from London to Sheffield, Sheffield Marketing are offering discount fares from London St Pancras to Sheffield. For more information, please visit their website. 

By Plane 

You can reach Sheffield via Manchester Airport. There are frequent trains and buses from Manchester Airport to Sheffield City Centre. Journey time via train is approximately 90 minutes and the bus/coach is 120 minutes. Please see the Manchester Airport website for more information.

You can also reach Sheffield via Doncaster Sheffield Airport however, it does have very limited flight options. If you are travelling from Sheffield to Doncaster Sheffield Airport, the X6 bus is a direct service departing Sheffield Interchange. The journey from Sheffield Interchange takes around 65 minutes to the airport. For more information, please see the Doncaster Sheffield Airport website.

By Bus or Tram  

If you are travelling by bus from Sheffield Railway Station, the 95 to Walkley will take you from Sheffield Station (Stop SS1) to Mushroom Lane which is only a 2 minute walk to Bartolomé House. 

If you are travelling by tram from Sheffield Railway Station, the Blue Line to Malin Bridge will take you to the University of Sheffield stop, which is a 9 minute walk to Bartolomé House. 


We recommend using the Q-Park Durham Road Car Park and booking a space for your car. It is located on Durham Road, Sheffield which is an 8 minute walk to Bartolomé House. For more information and how to book your space, click here. 


We recommend The Leopold Hotel and The Mercure Sheffield St Paul's Hotel & Spa, which are both located in Sheffield City Centre. 

The Leopold Hotel is located on Leopold Street and is only a 20 minute walk to Bartolomé House. You can take the tram from the City Hall stop to the University of Sheffield stop, which is a 9 minute walk to Bartolomé house. For more information and how to find them, please see their website. 

The Mercure Sheffield St Paul's Hotel & Spa is located on Norfolk Street, Sheffield, beside the Millennium Gallery and the Winter Gardens. It is a 23 minute walk to Bartolomé House. You can take the No. 95 bus to Walkley from the Moorhead stop (a 5 minute walk from The Mercure St Paul’s Hotel & Spa) to the Mushroom Lane stop, which is a 2 minute walk to Bartolomé House. For more information and how to find them, please see their website.  

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