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Sydney Centre for International Law

Outstanding scholarship in global and transnational law

The Sydney Centre for International Law (SCIL) is a hub of international legal thought and debate in the Asia-Pacific region.

The Sydney Centre for International Law was established in 2003 as a centre of excellence in research and teaching in international law. The centre fosters innovative, interdisciplinary scholarship across the international legal field, and also provides an avenue for the public to access international legal expertise. It operates within the University of Sydney Law School, building upon its well-recognised history of strength in this area.

Leadership team

Professor Emily Crawford, Sydney Law School

Professor Emily Crawford, Director

Visit Professor Emily Crawford's academic profile.


Management committee

The centre is managed by a committee comprised of the following associates: Ms Irene Baghoomians, Professor Chester Brown, Professor Emily Crawford, Professor Mary Crock, Dr Rosemary Grey, Professor David Kinley, Associate Professor Jacqueline Mowbray, Professor Luke Nottage, Professor Ben Saul, Professor Tim Stephens, and Professor Stacie Strong.

Black International and International Criminal Justice

16 May 2023, 1-2pm, Event details

What are the possibilities of international criminal justice being informed by epistemologies that emerged from Black and African intellectuals’ historical engagement with the concept of ‘justice’? This paper responds with an intervention rooted in Black internationalism focusing on Pan-Africanist thinkers.

The life of international law is not logic but experience

11 May 2023, 6-7.30, Event details

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. famously maintained that “the life of the law has not been logic: it has been experience.” Holmes statement suggests an antecedent question: what is the life of the law? This essay construes this question ontologically. What gives law life? What animates it, and in so doing warrants the claim that law contributes to the production of social order in a particular community?

Politics all the way down? A qualified defence of critical legal theory

20 April 2023, 6-7.30pm, Event details

In this talk, Dr Ntina Tzouvala sets out to defend the potential for legal theory of what Edward Said called ‘contrapuntal reading’, Louis Althusser (drawing from Jacques Lacan) described as ‘symptomatic read-ing’, and Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick denounced as ‘paranoid reading’.

Gender persecution: New frontiers in international criminal law

1 March 2023, 1-2pm, Event details.

Sydney Law School staff, students and external guests were invited to this conversation on the crime against humanity of 'gender persecution', which is currently being prosecuted for the first time in the International Criminal Court.


Lisa Davis, Special Advisor on Gender Persecution to the International Criminal Court Prosecutor and Associate Professor at The City University of New York (CUNY) Law School

in conversation with

Rosemary Grey, Senior Lecturer, Sydney Law School and Co-Director of the Sydney Centre for International Law.

Watch on YouTube: Gender persecution: New frontiers in international criminal law, 1 March 2023.

SCIL International Law Year in Review Conference

17 February 2023, Event details

The Sydney Centre for International Law was delighted to present the eighth 'International Law Year in Review Conference' at Sydney Law School on Friday 17 February 2023.

This annual ‘year in review’ conference gives participants insight into the latest developments in international law over the preceding year, especially those most salient for Australia.  Participants were able to attend in-person or remotely.

Among other things, the panels addressed:

  • armed conflict in Ukraine
  • interstate dispute resettlement (ISDS)

The conference traversed recent developments in public international law, treaty-making, international criminal law, international environmental law, and international trade and investment law. Speakers included leading academics, practitioners and government lawyers.

The event provided lawyers and non-lawyers alike the opportunity to remain abreast of important trends in international affairs.

Watch on YouTube: Russia's aggression in Ukraine, 17 February 2023.

Works-in-Progress Event

16 February 2023, Event details

SCIL hosted a works-in-progress event on the day before the International Year in Review Conference.  

The purpose of the works-in-progress event was to help authors, particularly junior authors, develop draft articles for publication.

Access information about eligibility, attendance, and submission.

The Public International Law Webinar Series

12 - 16 October 2022, Event details

The 2022 public international law webinar series brought together leading public international law practitioners, academics, and arbitrators to discuss topical issues of global importance. There were six weekly webinars in this series. 

Climate Change – Adaptation – Resilience – Sydney Law School has a Plan!

17 October 2022, 6-7.30pm

Her Excellency the Honourable Margaret Beazley AC KC, Governor of NSW, launched Professor Mary Crock’s (Sydney Law School) first illustrated children’s book and exhibition of artwork that reflects and extends her academic work on disaster, displacement, and resilience.

Hosted by the Sydney Centre for International Law and the Australian Centre for Environmental Law, the event celebrated the publication of True Roo: Little Walla and the Bushfire.

Repatriating Cultural Heritage: Conflict of Laws, Archaeology, and Indigenous Studies

21 September 2022,  Event details

From the intersection of conflict of laws, archaeology, and indigenous studies, this multidisciplinary webinar will explore legal and practical challenges and solutions in repatriating cultural heritage in Australia, China, the EU, and the USA.

Speakers included: Dr. Evelien Campfens, Professor Anne (Annie) Clarke, Professor Zheng Xin Huo, Professor Charles T. Kotuby Jr, and Mr. Craig Ritchie.

Watch on YouTube: Repatriating Cultural Heritage: Conflict of Laws, Archaeology, and Indigenous Studies, 21 September 2022.

Underutilisation of ADR in ISDS: Resolving Treaty Interpretation Issues

16 September 2022, Event details

Over the years, it has become evident that arbitration is the favoured dispute resolution mechanism over conciliation/mediation in investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS). This is due to the benefits of arbitration (binding process with final, enforceable award) over the shortcomings of conciliation/mediation (non-binding process with non-enforceable settlement agreements). Therefore, incentives, such as the recent adoption of the Singapore Convention on Mediation and proposed amendments by ICSID, are deemed promising developments for the promotion of more alternative dispute resolution (ADR) mechanisms in ISDS.

Book launch: Gender and International Criminal Law

7 September 2022, Event details

The Sydney Centre for International Law was excited to host a panel on the new book ‘Gender and International Criminal Law’ (Oxford University Press 2022), edited by Indira Rosenthal, Valerie Oosterveld, and Susana SáCouto.

In this panel, participants heard from some of the book’s Australian authors and were able to take part in a live ‘question and answer’ session.

Locating 'Human Dignity' in Cambodia

1 September 2022, Event details

Since its inclusion in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1949, ‘human dignity’ has become a foundational human rights concept, frequently used in the context of international human rights and sustainable development programs around the world. Yet despite assertions of ‘universality’, what ‘human dignity’ requires is frequently contested, while the term itself can be understood in diverse ways in different socio-cultural and political settings.

The research project ‘Locating “Human Dignity” in Cambodia’ explores these tensions, interrogating both how ‘human dignity’ is used in Cambodian law, policy, and advocacy, and how it is understood by Cambodians from diverse backgrounds and disciplines. In this event, the research team explored some of the project’s key findings, and discussed the ways ‘human dignity’ resonates and conflicts with legal, social and cultural norms in Cambodia.

This event was co-hosted by the Sydney Southeast Asia Centre (SSEAC) and the Sydney Centre for International Law (SCIL).

Exhibition launch: Iconic: The Use and Misuse of the Red Cross Emblem

4 August 2022, Event details

Professor Robert McLaughlin (ANU) formally launched the exhibition, created by Associate Professor Emily Crawford (Sydney Law School.) The exhibition showcased some of the most common ways the emblem has been misused in everyday life. 

2022 SCIL International Law Year in Review Conference

25 February 2022, Event program

Keynote speakers included:

Panels covered:

  • The latest developments in environmental law
  • Private international law
  • New human rights

The conference also included the launch of Non-Binding Norms in International Humanitarian Law with author, Associate Professor Emily Crawford (Sydney Law School).

Watch on YouTube:

2021 SCIL International Law Year in Review Conference

26 February 2021, Event program


  • International law and the case of Julian Assange,  Jennifer Robinson (Barrister at Doughty Street Chambers; Counsel for Assange)
  • Australia’s troubled Indigenous-Settler histories with Dr Cassandra Pybus, author of Truganini: Journey through the apocalypse (Allan & Unwin, 2020).


  • International criminal law
  • International environmental law
  • The rights of people with disabilities
  • Australia’s changing relationship with international law
  • Private, commercial and international investment law

Watch on YouTube:

Each year, student interns at the Sydney Centre for International Law (SCIL) prepare two articles for publication in the Australian Year Book for International Law, under supervision of SCIL staff. One article summarises decisions in which Australian state and federal courts have considered international law in the past year. The other summarises international legal proceedings involving Australia in the past year.  

These annual contributions are a valuable resource for practitioners and scholars, and provide our interns an opportunity to deepen their knowledge of international law and develop an academic publishing record.

The articles can accessed through a subscription to the Australian Year Book of International Law. In addition, SCIL has made the post-peer review manuscripts available free of charge via the following links, in accordance with the publisher's open access and self-archiving policies. 

Article on international law in Australian Courts in 2022
Rosemary Grey, Mary Crock, Jemima Back, Alistair Boyd, Niamh Callinan, Emma Clark, Timothy Collins, Julian Edwards, Joseph Harman, Mun K. Lee, Catherine Nguyen, Ibrahim Taha, Yuanhang Wang and Liuyuwen Yang, 'Cases before Australian Courts and Tribunals concerning Questions of Public International Law 2022', vol. 41, Australian Year Book of International Law (2023) 

Article on international law in Australian courts in 2021
Mary Crock, Mia Bridle, Ben Dajkovich, Bridget Hackett, Emily Halloran, Louisa Lemm, Adam Liskowski, Kathryn McCormack , George Napier , Madeline Pfeffercorn, Mrihika Sreenivasan Shankarla, and Alicia Vakalopoulos, 'Cases before Australian Courts and Tribunals concerning Questions of Public International Law 2021', vol. 40, Australian Year Book of International Law (2022) 377

Article on Australia's role in international legal proceedings in 2021
Mary Crock, Mia Bridle, Ben Dajkovich, Emily Halloran, Kathryn McCormack , Eden McSheffrey, Madeline Pfeffercorn, and Alicia Vakalopoulos, 'Cases before International Courts and Tribunals concerning Questions of Public International Law Involving Australia 2021' , vol. 40, Australian Year Book of International Law (2022) 475

Article on Australia and private international law in 2020 and 2021
S.I. Strong, Kathryn McCormack, Dadar Ahmadi Pirshahid, Mrithika Sreenivasan Shankarla, and Ruoshui Zhang, 'Developments in Australian Private International Law 2020–2021', vol. 40 Australian Year Book of International Law (2022) 508.

Article on international law in Australian courts in 2020
Mary Crock, Rosemary Grey, Freya Appleford, Wendy Chen, Sarah Charak, Christian Cieplik, Anisha Gunawardhana, Jake Jerogin, Adam Liskowski, Jessica Mitchell, Olivia Morris, Anh-Tuan Nguyen, Bianca Tini-Brunozzi, Alexandra Touw and Kevin Zoum 'Cases before Australian Courts and Tribunals concerning Questions of Public International Law 2020’ vol. 39 Australian Year Book of International Law (2021) 351.

Article on Australia's role in international legal proceedings in 2020
Mary Crock, Rosemary Grey, Freya Appleford, Anisha Gunawardhana, Miranda Hutchesson, Jake Jerogin, Emma Kench, Maxine Lucy McHugh, Olivia Morris, Alexandra Touw and Kevin Zou, 'Cases before International Courts and Tribunals Concerning Questions of Public International Law Involving Australia 2020' vol. 39 Australian Year Book of International Law (2021) 431


SCIL Year in Review conference

SCIL event


Listen to SCIL's podcast series Sydney Talks International Law - a coffee break length podcast where we chat with SCIL researchers & collaborators about their research.

Latest podcast: Dr Emily Crawford, Associate Professor at Sydney Law School, discusses her upcoming book on non-binding (or "soft") norms in international humanitarian law. Hosted by Dr Rosemary Grey, Sydney Centre for International Law.

Listen to the podcast


Donald R Rothwell and Tim Stephens
The International Law of the Sea, 3rd edition (Forthcoming)
(Hart Publishing, 2023)
This acclaimed textbook gives a contemporary account of the law of the sea. It provides a critical overview of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea including analysis of the bilateral, regional and global agreements that form the bedrock of the subject. The updated new edition places particular emphasis on the challenge of climate change, environmental concerns, such as pollution and rising sea levels, and the increasing strategic importance of islands. 

Emily Crawford
Non-Binding Norms in International Humanitarian Law: Efficacy, Legitimacy, and Legality
(Oxford University Press, 2021)
This monograph examines and analyses the phenomenon of non-binding instruments in the law of armed conflict, or international humanitarian law.

This volume looks at the benefits and drawbacks for States and non-State actors with regards to soft law, whether they are effective additions to the law of armed conflict, analysing the development through the lens of theories of legitimacy and legality in international law.

Mary Crock, Kate Bones, Daniel Ghezelbash, Jemma Hollonds and Mary Anne Kenny Children
Young People in Asylum and Refugee Processes: Towards Best Practice
(The Federation Press, 2020)
This important book is designed to assist migration agents, lawyers, social workers and other relevant professionals to effectively represent the rights and interests of migrant children and young people seeking protection in Australia. It covers both the law and policy and cultural competence and practices. It provides practical tools and suggestions about issues that commonly arise when assisting young non-citizens who apply for protection or other status in Australia.

Luke Nottage
International Commercial and Investor-State Arbitration: Australia and Japan in Regional and Global Contexts
(Edward Elgar, 2021)
This thought-provoking book combines analysis of international commercial and investment treaty arbitration in order to examine how they have been framed by the twin tensions of ‘in/formalisation’ and ‘glocalisation’. Taking a comparative approach, the book focuses on Australia and Japan in their attempts to become regional hubs for international arbitration and dispute resolution services in the increasingly influential Asia-Pacific context as well as a global context.

Stacie Strong
Legal Reasoning Across Commercial Disputes Comparing Judicial and Arbitral Analyses
(Oxford University Press, 2020)
This work provides important insights into how judges and arbitrators resolve complex commercial disputes in both national and international settings. The analysis is built from three major research sources which ensures that the analysis can bridge evidence of perception, behaviours, and outcomes amongst judges and arbitrators. A statistical survey provides a benchmark and point of comparison with the subjective statements arising from an extensive programme of interviews and questionnaires to provide an objective lens on the reasoning process that informs decisions and awards in practice.

Use discount code ALAUTHC4 for 30% off.

Edited collections

Ben Saul (ed.) 
Research Handbook on International Law and Terrorism (2nd edition)
(Edward Elgar, 2020)
This newly revised and updated second edition of the Research Handbook on International Law and Terrorism provides a comprehensive overview of international counter-terrorism law and practice from the perspectives of human rights, the law of armed conflict, the law on use of force, and international criminal law. Brand new and revised chapters provide critical commentary on the law from leading scholars and practitioners in the field.

Luke Nottage, Shahla Ali, Bruno Jetin and Nobumichi Teramura (eds)
New Frontiers in Asia-Pacific International Arbitration and Dispute Resolution
(Wolters Kluwer, 2020)
An invaluable book that challenges the existing procedures and frameworks for cross-border dispute resolution in commercial and treaty arbitration. The eastward shift in international dispute resolution has already involved initiatives not only to improve support for international commercial arbitration (ICA) and investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) but also to develop alternatives, such as international commercial courts and mediation. This remarkable book focuses on these initiatives and their accompanying case law and trends in the Asia-Pacific region.

Use discount code 25NEWF21 for 25% off.

Ben Saul and Dapo Akande (eds)
The Oxford Guide to International Humanitarian Law
(Oxford University Press, 2020)
The Oxford Guide to International Humanitarian Law provides a practical yet sophisticated overview of this important area of law. Written by a stellar line up of contributors, drawn from those who not only have extensive practical experience but who are also regarded as leading scholars of the subject, the text offers a comprehensive and authoritative exposition of the field. The Guide provides professionals and advanced students with information and analysis of sufficient depth to enable them to perform their tasks with understanding and confidence. Each chapter illuminates how the law applies in practice, but does not shy away from the important conceptual issues that underpin how the law has developed. It will serve as a first port of call and a regular reference work for those interested in international humanitarian law.

Sydney Centre for International Law (SCIL) offers internship positions to Sydney Law School students each academic year as an opportunity for interested students to advance their legal research and writing skills, gain exposure to developments in international law, and develop their curriculum vitae. 

For further information, visit the Law Student Portal via Canvas.

In 2023, SCIL launched its annual student essay prize, the winner of which will be announced each year at our International Year in Review Conference. In 2023, applicants could choose to write an essay on one of two themes: armed conflict in Ukraine, or investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS), focusing on developments in the preceding year.

The 2023 prize was awarded to Mr Ahan Gadkari, Jindal Global Law School, for his essay Legality of Trade Restrictions Against Russia from the Lens of WTO Law (PDF, 274KB)

The prize was $AUD 1000 and the opportunity for publication on the SCIL Website. 

Submissions were judged on the following criteria: relevance to SCIL conference themes; clarity of expression; persuasiveness and originality of argument; and engagement with diverse perspectives.

There was no requirement that papers discuss Australian law. The competition was open to persons of any nationality, provided they were currently enrolled in a program of higher education leading to a degree in law in any country (including but not limited to the J.D., LL.B., LL.M. or S.J.D.). 

SCIL hopes to run the prize again in 2024. 

Centre members have supported students’ successful involvement in a range of international law mooting competitions. You can access general information on moots open to student participation within Sydney Law School and beyond via the Sydney University Law Students Society (SULS) website. Students who enrol in the International Moot unit (LAWS3489/LAWS5189) may prepare for a range of competitions.

For further information and staff contacts about any one of these moots, please contact the Centre Administrator.

Our latest events

Gender persecution: New frontiers in international criminal law, 1 March 2023.

SCIL Year in Review Panel: Russia's aggression in Ukraine, 17 February 2023.