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27th Annual SLS/BIICL Workshop on Theory & International Law The Return of the "S" Word: Sovereignty in Contemporary International Law

Event Details

Time: 14.00-19.30 (Registration from 13:30)

Venue: British Institute of International and Comparative Law, Charles Clore House, 17 Russell Square, London WC1B5JP

It was not too long ago, in the days, months and years following the collapse of the Berlin Wall, that many prominent "internationalists" (lawyers and international relations theorists alike) were relishing the end, or death, of state sovereignty - or at the very least ushering in the concept's twilight years. Fast forward to the present, however, and the geo-political climate at the start of 2018 seems only to highlight the naivety of this assumption and the continuing longevity of the idea of sovereignty and the importance of states' political independence. Under a rising tide of populist nationalism in the West and a resurgence of authoritarianism among existing and emerging superpowers in the East, sovereigntist rhetoric continues to play out in self-determination struggles, as well as mooted withdrawals from international institutions like the European Union and the International Criminal Court - institutions championed very much in opposition to the worst excesses of state sovereignty.

With this background in mind, the 2018 Workshop on Theory and International Law aims to re-engage the concept of sovereignty in contemporary international law, inviting contributions which relate to the (contested) nature or evolving meaning of state sovereignty, as well as how the concept manifests in relation to specific areas of international law and institutional practice, including e.g. statehood and self-determination struggles, membership and withdrawal of international organisations, etc.

The workshop will include keynote presentations from the following:

Sovereignty after Sovereignty
Professor Gerry Simpson
, London School of Economics

The International Criminal Court: A Threat to, or Supporter of Sovereignty?
Professor Robert Cryer,
Birmingham University

Sovereignty of Cyberspace or Sovereignty in Cyberspace?
Professor Nicholas Tsagourias, University of Sheffield

Download the final programme

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Pricing and Registration

BIICL Members:

  • Individual - £60
  • Concession* - £40
  • Student - £20


  • Individual - £100
  • Concession* - £65
  • Student - £35

* Concessions include academic staff, retired, unwaged and staff of not for profit agencies and government.

SLS members are entitled to BIICL member price for this event. To apply for an SLS member place please contact the events team


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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