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26th Annual SLS/BIICL Workshop on Theory in International Law 'Inside the mind of international decision-makers'

Event Details

Time: 14:00-19:00

Venue: British Institute of International and Comparative Law, Charles Clore House, 17 Russell Square, London WC1B 5JP

The 2017 Conference on Theory and International Law seeks to understand better the behaviour of those who shape international law - international and domestic judges, arbitrators, and state officials. Inspired by ground-breaking research that opens the "black box" of international decision-making, this Conference invites participants to theorise, experiment and speculate.

Some of the questions we will explore are: Do decision-makers behave rationally? Do they behave predictably?What factors may influence their decision-making? What are the roles of cognitive skills, intuition, and background, including education and political persuasion? What are the implications of these insights for choosing a method of dispute settlement for a particular case or designing a dispute settlement mechanism for future disputes? What are the implications for the conduct and procedures of international negotiations?

Keynote address:

Professor Anne van Aaken, University of St. Gallen: Inside the Arbitrator's Mind

Chair: Dr Philippa Webb, Co-convenor of the SLS International Law Section, King's College London, 20 Essex Street


Panel 1: Inside the Judge's mind

Chair: The Rt Hon the Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers KG PC, President of BIICL

  • Dr Angela Zhang, King's College London: Judging in Europe: Do Legal Traditions Matter?
  • Ms Elena Abrusci, University of Nottingham: Inside human rights adjudication: The impact of the educational and work background of judges and members of human rights bodies on judicial convergence and fragmentation
  • Ms Katrin Fenrich, Institute for the Law of Peace and Armed Conflict Ruhr University: The Interdependency of International Decision-Makers or The Power of Consent

Panel 2: Inside the State decision-maker's mind

Chair: Professor Matthew Happold, University of Luxembourg

  • Mr Manu Misra, Bocconi University: State Compliance with Investment Treaty Arbitration Awards:A Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA)
  • Ms Alexandra Hofer, Ghent University: The power of emotions and subjective beliefs in foreign policy decision-making and their influence on international law
  • Dr Maria Varaki, Erik Castren Institute of International Law and Human Rights in Helsinki: From expertise and techniques to virtues

Closing address:

Dr Charlotte Peevers, University of Glasgow: Prospects of truth seeking: the Chilcot Inquiry and the decision to go to war

Read the Event programme

Join the conversation @BIICL #26SLSBIICL

Pricing and Registration

BIICL Members:

  • Individual - £55
  • Full-time Academic - £35
  • Full-time Student - £15


  • Individual - £95
  • Full-time Academic - £60
  • Full-time Student - £25

N.B. A limited number of free places are available for staff of government and NGOs.

Free NGO Places

A limited number of places for this event are available for staff of NGOs to attend free of charge as part of an initiative by the Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law to provide NGOs with access to legal education and training events.

Please email our Events Team at with your contact details, your position and the NGO that you work for. We will organise your attendance, subject to availability.


If you have any queries, please contact the events team.

Photography and audio recording

Please note that our events may be photographed or audio recorded. These materials will be used for internal and external promotional purposes only by the British Institute of International and Comparative Law. If you object to appearing in the photographs, please let our photographer know on the day. Alternatively you can email BIICL Marketing Manager, Carmel Brown, in advance of the event that you are attending.

Event Cancellation Policy

Cancellation by us

The British Institute of International and Comparative Law reserves the right to modify or cancel any event if unforeseen circumstances arise. If we cancel an event we shall inform you as soon as possible using the contact details provided to us and offer you a full refund.

Cancellation by you

All cancellations must be made in writing via email to and be no less than one week prior to the event.

Payment for registration will always be required, and must be made prior to the event. If sufficient written notification of cancellation is received, a full refund will be given. If insufficient notice is given, payment for your registration will still be required.

No charge events

All events are costly to set up, even those for which there is 'no charge'. If you register but find you are unable to attend, please let us know as soon as possible. As a charity we need to cover the costs of events, and we may charge you a fee of £10 for administration and catering costs if you fail to attend or give us less than 24 hours' notice.

By registering for an event, you have confirmed that you have read and understood our cancellation policy.

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