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Lord Nicholas Phillips to succeed Dame Rosalyn Higgins as the new President of BIICL

The British Institute of International and Comparative Law (BIICL) has announced that Dame Rosalyn Higgins DBE QC has decided to stand down as President of the Institute and will be succeeded in that office by the Right Honourable The Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers, KG, PC from 1 February 2016.

BIICL is one of the leading independent research centres for international and comparative law, and the rule of law in the world. Its high quality research projects, seminars, training and publications encompass almost all areas of public and private international law, comparative law and the rule of law, and it is at the forefront of discussions on the many contemporary issues of international and comparative law.

Lord Phillips is the immediate past President of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom. He is a long-term BIICL member, and has been involved in BIICL activities, including its Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law.

Lord Phillips said: 'Ever since I was a student I have been particularly interested in international law, both public and private. I joined the BIICL as a young barrister and I watched its standing grow steadily over half a century, crowned in 2008 by the Presidency of Tom Bingham, for whom I had the greatest admiration and affection. In my judicial career I followed in his footsteps, inspired but daunted by the example that he had set. Now I have not only his example, but that of Rosalyn Higgins to inspire me. It is both a great honour and a great pleasure to be invited to succeed them.'

Dame Rosalyn Higgins, who was the former President of the International Court of Justice, had been President of BIICL since March 2011. Throughout her time in the role Dame Rosalyn has made a significant contribution to the development of BIICL. She brought her extensive experience of international law, as well as her personal warmth and encouragement, to the role. She gave significant time and energy to chairing and speaking at BIICL events, which deal with important contemporary international legal issues and developments.

Dame Rosalyn said: 'It was a pleasure, as well as a privilege, to be BIICL President. The outstanding leadership given by the Director and the Chairman of the Trustees means that this is a body going from strength; and I have much enjoyed getting to know the very able staff members and have admired the responsibilities they have undertaken so well. The standard of the celebrated Grotius and FA Mann lectures remain intact; and they are supplemented by the dazzling and frequently offered seminars on contemporary topics.'

Sir Frank Berman, Chair of BIICL's Board of Trustees said: 'BIICL has been hugely privileged over the years by the quality of its Presidents and the example they have shown. Rosalyn Higgins has been devoted to the Institute and its best interests, and has been an inspiration in particular to the Institute's staff and to its younger members. We are deeply grateful to Nicholas Phillips for his ready willingness to assume the mantle and offer leadership over the next period.'

Professor Robert McCorquodale, Director of BIICL said: 'It is a wonderful statement of the international standing of BIICL and the impact of its work that it has had a succession of excellent Presidents, who have all had long-term commitment and engagement in issues of international and comparative law, and the rule of law. I very much look forward to working with Lord Phillips'.




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  1. The British Institute of International and Comparative Law (BIICL) provides informed, independent and practical legal ideas for a global community. Its high quality and respected work involves analysis and debate about contemporary issues on every continent, from its base in the heart of London's energetic and multicultural legal network. (Registered Charity No. 209425. Company Registration 615025). For more information visit
  2. Dame Rosalyn Higgins is one of the most eminent international lawyers of her, or any, generation. She served as a judge of the International Court of Justice from 1995 to 2009, having been elected by the General Assembly and the Security Council of the United Nations. She was President of the International Court from 2006 to 2009. Dame Rosalyn was previously a distinguished academic and practicing public international lawyer, having been Professor of International Law at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) from 1981 to 1995, after a number of earlier distinguished academic positions. She practiced International Law at the English Bar, being appointed Queen's Counsel in 1986 and elected a Bencher of Inner Temple in 1989. She has had a long association with the Institute, having been its Vice-President for many years and formerly the chair of its Public International Law Advisory Committee.
  3. The Right Honourable The Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers, KG, PC was Called to the Bar in 1962. Lord Phillips was appointed a Judge of the Queen's Bench Division in 1987 and a Lord Justice of Appeal in 1995. Elevated to the House of Lords in 1999, he was appointed Master of the Rolls in 2000, Lord Chief Justice in 2005, and Senior Law Lord in 2008. He was the founding President of the UK Supreme Court from 2009 until 2012. A Knight Companion of the Order of the Garter, Lord Phillips is a Visiting Professor at King's College London and at Oxford University, the President of the Qatar International Court and Dispute Resolution Centre, and a non-resident Judge on the Court of Final Appeal of Hong Kong.

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