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Sir Elihu Lauterpacht CBE KC LLD, 1985 - 1995

Elihu Lauterpacht Sir Hersch Lauterpacht's only son, Sir Elihu Lauterpacht, founded the Centre in 1983 and was Director until 1995. It is through his vision, energy and commitment that the Centre became the leading centre of activity in the UK in international law. Sir Elihu had a distinguished career in international law practice and teaching. In 1950, he was called to the Bar, and became a QC in 1970. He practiced before the International Court of Justice and other international jurisdictions, as well as before the English courts. He was ad hoc judge in the Bosnia case before the International Court and was a distinguished arbitrator. In 1953, he became a Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge and was Lecturer and Reader in International Law in the University. In 1994 he was appointed an Honorary Professor of International Law. Sir Elihu left a permanent mark on international law through his work as author, editor and innovator. He became editor of the International Law Reports in 1960, and inaugurated the Iran-United States Claims Tribunal Reports in 1983 and the ICSID Reports in 1993. He remained actively involved in practice as well as in the work of the Centre as its Director Emeritus. He was knighted in 1996. Sir Elihu sadly passed away in 2017.


John Dugard SC, 1995 - 1997

John Dugard SC

John Dugard is one of South Africa's foremost experts in public international law, jurisprudence, human rights and criminal procedure. For 30 years he was professor of law at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, where  he directed the Centre for Applied Legal Studies, a unit that engaged in human rights research, advocacy and litigation. He participated in the drafting of the Bill of Rights of the 1996 South African Constitution. From 1998 to 2006 he was professor of international law at the University of Leiden.

John was a member of the UN International Law Commission for 15 years and was Special Rapporteur on Diplomatic Protection to this body. In 2001 he was appointed Chair of the UN Human Rights Inquiry Commission to Investigate Violations of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. From 2001 to 2008 he was UN  Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. Since 2000 he has served intermittently as Judge ad hoc of the International Court of Justice. John is a member of the Instititut de droit international and an Honorary Member of the American Society of International Law (2008). Six South African universities have conferred honorary degrees on him.

In 2010 John was awarded the Gruber Foundation Justice Prize for championing international human rights law and in 2012 the President of South Africa conferred on him the Order of the Baobab (Gold), South Africa's highest civilian service award. 


James Crawford AC SC, 1997-2003 and 2006-2010

James Crawford SC Professor James Crawford AC SC FBA LLD was Whewell Professor Emeritus at the University of Cambridge and Judge at the International Court of Justice. Judge Crawford was a distinguished academic and practitioner in the field of international law. He left his position as Director of the Centre in 2003 to take up the role of Chair of the Faculty of Law. Following the departure of Daniel Bethlehem QC, Professor Crawford recommenced as Director, stepping down for the second time in 2010.

Judge Crawford had an extensive practice in international law and international arbitration, appearing before the ICJ, ITLOS, ICSID and ICC tribunals. He was an arbitrator in ICSID and ad hoc arbitrations as well as in inter-state cases, was a member of the ICSID panel of arbitrators, author of numerous books, and co-editor of the British Yearbook of International Law. He was previously a Member of the Australian Law Reform Commission (1982-1990) and the International Law Commission (1992-2001). He was the ILC Special Rapporteur on State Responsibility from 1997-2001. Professor Crawford sadly passed away in May 2021. 

In memoriam: HE Judge James Crawford AC SC FBA


Daniel Bethlehem KC, 2003 - 2006

Daniel Bethlehem QC Daniel Bethlehem is a former Legal Adviser to the United Kingdom Foreign and Commonwealth Office in succession to Sir Michael Wood. Prior to taking up this position, he was Director of the Centre, Lecturer at the Faculty of Law, University of Cambridge and Queens Counsel practising at 20 Essex Street Chambers in London.

Mr Bethlehem has acted in a wide variety of matters across the full range of international law. He has appeared before the International Court of Justice, the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, the European Court of Justice, the World Trade Organization, the Iran-United States Claims Tribunal, the European Court of Human Rights and the House of Lords. He was a Panellist on the WTO Indicative List of Panellists and an Arbitrator of the Court of Arbitration for Sport and is the author/editor of a number of books and articles.


Dr Charlotte Ku, 2006 - 2007

Dr Charlotte Ku served as Acting Director from October 2006 to February 2007.

Before coming to Cambridge, Charlotte completed a 12-year term as Executive Director and Executive Vice-President of the American Society of International Law (ASIL), where, among many other things, she coordinated a multi-million annual budget and led many successful development and sponsorship projects. 

In conjunction with the Academic Council on the United Nations System, Charlotte conducted annual workshops on global governance for academics, advocates, and government officials. She has also been a visiting professor at the John Hopkins University and an assistant professor in government and foreign affairs at the University of Virginia. Charlotte has served on a number of management and editorial boards, including the Academic Council on the United Nations System and International Legal Materials, and has herself published nearly 40 academic papers.

Charlotte’s term as Acting Director of the Centre ended in February 2007, when she took up the leadership of the University of Illinois College of Law's Graduate and International Studies Programme.


Professor Mark Weller, 2010 - 2015

Professor Weller holds the Chair of International Law and International Constitutional Studies in the University of Cambridge. He is the former Director and a Fellow of the Lauterpacht Centre for International Law. He has served as United Nations Senior Mediation Expert and is a highly experienced international dispute settlement professional. He is certified and accredited as a professional mediator and was elected a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators. He is a barrister (Middle Temple) and Associate Tenant at Dougthy Street Chambers, London.

Professor Weller holds Doctorates in International Law and International Relations, in Law, and in Economic and Social Sciences from the Universities of Cambridge, Frankfurt and Hamburg respectively, and Masters’ degrees from the Fletcher School and the University of Cambridge. Professor Weller also trained in advanced negotiation and dispute settlement at Harvard Law School and the Kennedy School of Government.


Professor Eyal Benvenisti 2016 - 2023

Professor Eyal Benvenisti took on the role of Centre Director in January 2016 overseeing a busy 8-year period of growth for the Centre with a wide variety of lectures and events and ever-increasing numbers of visiting academics and students from around the world. His friendly and approachable nature and willingness to help the next generation of international lawyers with his guidance and knowledge of international law was appreciated by colleagues and visitors alike. Professor Benvenisti stepped down as Director at the beginning of 2024.

Professor Benvenisti is the Whewell Professor of International law and the Director of the Lauterpacht Centre for International Law. He was Anny and Paul Yanowicz Professor of Human Rights, Tel Aviv University Faculty of Law (from 2002) and Hersch Lauterpacht Professor of Law at the Hebrew University (from 1990). He was Global Professor of Law at New York University School of Law (since 2003), and Visiting Professor at Yale, Harvard, Toronto, Columbia, Pennsylvania, Michigan. He gave a special course at The Hague Academy of International Law (2013). Prof Benvenisti's areas of research and teaching are international law, constitutional law and administrative law. He was Project Director for the “GlobalTrust – Sovereigns as Trustees of Humanity” research project, funded by an ERC Advanced Grant (2013-2018).

Professor Benvenisti is the recipient of several prizes including the Humboldt Research Award and the Francis Deak Prize.