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Tuesday, 7 March 2017 - 6.00pm
Lauterpacht Centre for International Law, Finley Library

A series of three lectures by Professor Anne Peters, Max Planck Institute, University of Heidelberg

Series abstract: Privatisation Under and Of Public International Law

International law has emerged out of (Roman) private law sources and analogies, as Hersch Lauterpacht has shown. One might call this the publicisation of private law-bits and pieces to shape a droit public européen and a public international law.

The last decades have brought about counter-trends of privatisation. First, states have radically and often under pressure by international and regional financial institutions divested themselves of infrastructure and handed over tasks and services to the private sector. This is the privatisation under public international law.

Second, global markets, global corporations, and global supply chains have begun to shape not only the substance of international law but also its structure (in terms of legal subjects and legal sources/instruments). This is the privatisation of public international law.

Privatisation under international law and privatisation of international law are linked, because the rise of the private sector (business), the concomitant shrinking of states, and the deep engagement of international organisations (IOs) with private partners have been transforming the international legal persons themselves, the international law-making processes, and the legal outcomes, too.

Lauterpacht' s original intention of strengthening the element of law, and of countering lawlessness in international relations was in 1927 served by drawing on private law as the best available model of law existing at the time. Ninety years later, Lauterpacht's quest for a "reign of law" in what we now call global governance can be best satisfied by acknowledging and carving out the public-law quality of international law while accommodating and integrating the increasingly important private actors into global governance.

Part 1: Conceptual Foundations and Privatisation in States Under the Purview of International Law

Lecture 1 states the problem, defines the key concepts, and examines privatisation (selling infrastructure and outsourcing tasks) within states. Contrary to what is often assumed, public international law is not blind or neutral towards privatisation programmes.
International organisations pushing states to privatise must not undermine a state's capacity to comply with international human rights obligations. And where a state takes a sovereign decision to pursue privatisation, the state's responsibility to protect (R2P) which is attached to its sovereignty prohibits the state to completely relinquish responsibility for tasks connected to the state's monopoly on the legitimate use of force. Besides these specific means at the disposal of the state, a substantive, inalienable essence of statehood can today only be constituted by international human rights. The privatising state remains obliged to guarantee a human rights minimum for all persons under its jurisdiction and maybe even beyond. This will mainly be satisfied through the proper regulation of providers and contractors. It is an open question how far the state's responsibility to regulate private actors in an extraterritorial fashion stretches.

The Sir Hersch Lauterpacht Memorial Lecture

The Sir Hersch Lauterpacht Memorial Lecture is a series of annual lectures given in Cambridge to commemorate the unique contribution to the development of international law of Sir Hersch Lauterpacht.  The lectures are given by a person of eminence in the field of international law and a revised and expanded version of the lectures is usually published in the Hersch Lauterpacht Memorial Lecture Series by Cambridge University Press.

Anne Peters is Director at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law Heidelberg (Germany), and a professor at the universities of Heidelberg, Freie Universität Berlin, and Basel (Switzerland). She has been a member (substitute) of the European Commission for Democracy through Law (Venice Commission) in respect of Germany (2011-2014), and served as the President of the European Society of International Law (2010-2012). She was a fellow at the Wissenschaftskolleg in Berlin (2012/013), and held visiting professorships at the universities of Beijing (Beida), Paris I, Paris II, and Sciences Po. Born in Berlin in 1964, Anne studied at the universities of Würzburg,Lausanne, Freiburg, and Harvard, and held the chair of public international law at the university of Basel from 2001 to 2013.

Books (authored and co-edited) include: Beyond Human Rights (CUP 2016); Transparency in International Law (CUP 2013); Oxford Handbook of the History of International Law (OUP 2012, ASIL certificate of merit); Conflict of Interest in Global, Public and Corporate Governance (CUP 2012); The Constitutionalization of International Law (OUP 2011); Non-state Actors as Standard Setters (CUP 2009); Women, Quotas and Constitutions (Kluwer 1999).

Her current research interests relate to public international law including its history, global animal law, global governance and global constitutionalism, and the status of humans in international law.

She has regularly taught international law, human rights law, international humanitarian law, the law of international organizations, EU law, comparative constitutional law and constitutional theory, and Swiss constitutional law.

An audio recording of this lecture (Part 1) is available on the University's Streaming Media Service

A list of all recorded events and lectures at the Lauterpacht Centre can be viewed in on this website in Media/Audio recordings.