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Monday, 23 October 2023

The Centre is delighted to celebrate its 40th anniversary in 2023. The Research Centre for International Law was founded in 1983 by Sir Elihu Lauterpacht. Clive Parry, Robert Jennings and Derek Bowett all played a part in the creation of the Centre, which was set up with very little funding, to provide institutional protection for various academic and research initiatives undertaken by Sir Eli and others, such as the publication of the International Law Reports.

In 1985, 5 Cranmer Rd in Cambridge was purchased with generous financial support from the Lauterpacht family, Dr Earl Snyder and Mr Edward St George. With formal premises, the Centre expanded its activities, starting with Friday lunchtime lectures and the Hersch Lauterpacht Memorial lecture series and increasing its range of publications.

Over subsequent years, the Centre grew steadily and with its success came further expansion. Through the generosity of various benefactors, an additional wing was added in 1996 and then in 2002, 7 Cranmer Rd was acquired to provide conference and accommodation facilities. A link corridor to connect 5 and 7 Cranmer Road followed in 2017 by a new seminar room in 2022. This year, state-of-the-art audio visual equipment was installed in the Finley Berkowitz Lecture Hall. This new technology has enabled a greater number of attendees from around the world to participate in the Centre’s lectures and events.

The Centre was renamed the Lauterpacht Research Centre for International Law by the University of Cambridge in 1996 in honour of both Sir Hersch and Sir Elihu Lauterpacht for their distinguished contribution to international law at Cambridge, and beyond. Thanks to Sir Eli’s leadership and personal generosity, and his ability to persuade many other generous benefactors of his vision, the Centre has grown from its relatively humble beginnings in Sir Eli’s private study into one of the world’s leading centres for the study of international law.

Since its inception in 1983, the Lauterpacht Centre for International Law has welcomed in the region of 1,000 visiting fellows from around the world. The Centre provides a unique setting for them to pursue their own work, to have an opportunity to meet with other scholars and Centre Fellows, to discuss and present their research as well as to attend the many lectures and events that are available. 

Commenting on the Lauterpacht Centre's 40th anniversary, Professor Mark Elliott, Chair of the Faculty of Law, said: 'During its first 40 years, the Lauterpacht Centre has made an immeasurable contribution, establishing itself as a global hub for outstanding scholarship in the field of International Law. I am delighted to join the Centre in celebrating this milestone in its history and look forward immensely to the next chapter.'

If you would like to share your memories of the Centre, we would welcome your contributions which will be available to read on the Centre’s website. These will be recorded in the Centre’s history archives for future generations of lawyers. We also warmly welcome donations to further develop and promote facilities for the study of international law. We thank you in advance and look forward to hearing from you!

Memories of the Centre 1983-2023