Arman Sarvarian

Dr Arman Sarvarian

Senior Lecturer in Public International Law, Director of Postgraduate Research
+44 (0)1483 686221
14A AB 05
Semester Two: Tuesday 1200-1300hrs (Weeks 1-9), Friday 1200-1300hrs (Weeks

Academic and research departments

School of Law.


Areas of specialism

Public International Law

University roles and responsibilities

  • Director of Postgraduate Research

My qualifications

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Public International Law
University College London
Barrister, England and Wales (Non-Practising)
The Honourable Society of Lincoln's Inn
Master of Laws (LL.M.) in Public International Law (First-class)
University of Cambridge
Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.) in Law (First-Class)
School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London


Research interests

Research projects

Research collaborations

Indicators of esteem

  • Member of the AHRC Peer Review College (2015-2018)

    Peer reviewer for the Leiden Journal of International Law, International & Comparative Law Quarterly, European Journal of International Law, Journal on the Use of Force and International Law, Oxford University Press, Cambridge University Press, Routledge, Hart Publishing and Manchester University Press

My teaching

Courses I teach on



Postgraduate research supervision

Postgraduate research supervision

My publications


Sarvarian A (2011) Problems of ethical standards for representatives before ICSID tribunals, Law and Practice of International Courts and Tribunals 10 (1) pp. 67-134
There exists no 'international bar' regulating the practice of forensic advocacy before international courts and tribunals. Before arbitral tribunals such as the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes and the Iran-US Claims Tribunal, legal argumentation is almost entirely left to the discretion of parties. There has been concern amongst participants in the arbitral process regarding ethical issues that have arisen concerning the conduct of representatives. Through analysis of ICSID procedural rules and jurisprudence, with supplementary reference to other investment arbitral tribunals as well as the Iran-US Claims Tribunal, it is argued that there is a need for procedural reform in order to introduce common and strict ethical standards of conduct for counsel appearing before such tribunals. In the absence of prescribed admission requirements or deontological rules, it is further submitted that ICSID tribunals have an inherent power to protect the integrity of their own proceedings by sanctioning representatives for misconduct. It is recommended that, as part of the progressive professionalisation of the international judicial system, the principles of integrity of arbitral proceedings, fair trial and equality of arms require that all litigants' representatives be subjected to uniform standards of conduct. © 2011 Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden.
Sarvarian A (2013) The Struggle for the Soul of Europe: Manifestation of Christianity in the Public Sphere,
Sarvarian A (2008) The Artsakh Question: An Analysis of Territorial Dispute Resolution in International Law, Melbourne Journal of International Law 9 (1) pp. 190-216
Sarvarian A (2015) Uti Possidetis Iuris in the Twenty-first Century Consensual or Customary, International Journal on Minority and Group Rights 22 (3) BRILL-Martinus Nijhoff Publishers
Sarvarian A Apologies for Historical Wrongs: When, How, Why?,
Sarvarian A (2014) Written Submission from Dr Arman Sarvarian, Lecturer in Law, University of Surrey and Director of the Surrey International Law Centre, In: The Scottish Government?s proposals for an independent Scotland: membership of the European Union Scottish Parliament European Union and External Relations Committee
Sarvarian A (2013) The Attribution of Conduct in the Law of International Responsibility, the European Union and the European Court of Human Rights, European Journal of Human Rights 1 (4) pp. 654-677
Sarvarian A (2013) Common Ethical Standards for Counsel before International Courts and Tribunals,
The problem of divergent ethical standards for counsel before international courts is of growing interest and concern to judges and practitioners. With international advocacy highly unregulated, recent years have seen a rise in challenges to the participation of counsel and of threats to the integrity of the judicial process. In this normative vacuum, an uneven playing field is created between those counsel who are members of national bars are bound by ethics that do not apply to their academic or diplomatic counterparts. Moreover, conflicting national standards binding upon practitioners create procedural problems within a single jurisdiction. In response, practitioners have begun to examine the feasibility of articulating common standards through study groups in professional organisations such as the International Law Association, International Bar Association and Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe. The ILA Hague Principles on Ethical Standards for Counsel Appearing before International Courts and Tribunals 2010 are the first attempt to do so.
Despite its increasing importance, the subject has yet to be comprehensively debated in international law scholarship. This paper, deriving from the author?s forthcoming monograph entitled ?Professional Ethics at the International Bar? to be published in late 2013 by Oxford University Press in its ?International Courts and Tribunals Series?. It identifies the core issues in the ?professionalisation? of advocacy before international courts as the regulatory competence of international courts and the articulation of common standards in light of national differences of legal culture. The paper argues that professionalisation is both feasible and desirable to protect procedural integrity and thereby promote the external legitimacy of international adjudication amongst the public. This can be accomplished through a drafting process sensitive to national differences and prioritising standards that pragmatically solve recurrent practical problems.
The paper ties into the overall theme of ?International Law as a Profession?. In particular, it directly links to the sub-theme of ?individual accountability of judges, counsel and legal advisers?. The central argument of the paper that the articulation of common ethical standards for counsel appearing before international courts and tribunals is desirable and feasible in order to protect and promote the integrity and fairness of the international judicial process woul
Sarvarian A (2013) House of Commons Political and Constitutional Reform Select Committee Inquiry: Parliament?s role in conflict decisions: an update, In: Written evidence from Dr Arman Sarvarian, Lecturer in Law, University of Surrey PCD05
Sarvarian A (2009) Observations and Proposals for the Improvement of relations between Turkey and Armenia, Etter Lemkin 1 pp. 20-42
Sarvarian A (2013) The (In-)Dependent Lawyer Before the Court (Case E-7/12 Schenker North AB and others v EFTA Surveillance Authority, Order of the President (21 December 2012), European Law Reporter 4 pp. 127-132
Sarvarian A (2014) The Kadi II Judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union: Implications for Judicial Review of UN Security Council Resolutions, In: Avbelj M, Fontanelli F, Martinico G (eds.), Kadi on Trial: A multifaceted analysis of the Kadi judgment 8 Routledge
The judgment of the European Court of Justice concerning the Kadi case has raised substantive and procedural issues that have caught the attention of scholars from many disciplines including EU law, constitutional law, international law and jurisprudence. This book offers a comprehensive view of the Kadi case, and explores specific issues that are anticipated to resonate beyond the immediate case from which they derive.

The first part of the volume sets out an analysis of the new judgment of the Court, favouring a "contextual" reading of what is the latest link in a judicial chain. The following three parts offer interdisciplinary accounts of the decision of the European Court of Justice, including legal theory, constitutional law, and international law. The book closes with an epilogue by Ernst-Ulrich Petersmann, who studies the role of the Kadi case in the methodology of international law and its contribution to the concept of global justice.

The book brings together legal scholars from a range of fields, and discusses pressing topics such as the European Union?s objective of ?the strict observance and the development of international law?, the EU as a site of global governance, constitutional pluralism and the protections of fundamental rights.

Sarvarian A (2014) Implications of EU Accession to the European Convention on Human Rights for the Law of International Responsibility, In: Kosta V, Skoutaris N, Tzevelekos V (eds.), The EU Accession to the ECHR 7 pp. 87-103 Hart Publishing
Article 6 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU) provides that the EU will accede to the system of human rights protection of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). Protocol No 9 in the Treaty of Lisbon opens the way for accession. This represents a major change in the relationship between two organisations that have co-operated closely in the past, though the ECHR has hitherto exercised only an indirect constitutional control over the EU legal order through scrutiny of EU Member States. The accession of the EU to the ECHR is expected to put an end to the informal dialogue, and allegedly also competition between the two regimes in Europe and to establish formal (both normative and institutional) hierarchies.
In this new era, some old problems will be solved and new ones will appear. Questions of autonomy and independence, of attribution and allocation of responsibility, of co-operation, and legal pluralism will all arise, with consequences for the protection of human rights in Europe.
This book seeks to understand how relations between the two organisations are likely to evolve after accession, and whether this new model will bring more coherence in European human rights protection. The book analyses from several different, yet interconnected, points of view and relevant practice the draft Accession Agreement, shedding light on future developments in the ECHR and beyond. Contributions in the book span classic public international law, EU law and the law of the ECHR, and are written by a mix of legal and non-legal experts from academia and practice.
Sarvarian A (2014) The Lawfulness of a Use of Force upon Nuclear Facilities in Self-Defence, Journal on the Use of Force and International Law 1 (2) pp. 247-272 Hart Publishing
Focusing upon the perennial issue of the temporal scope of the right of self-defence in international law, this article examines the lawfulness of a military strike upon nuclear facilities as an invocation of the controversial doctrine of ?pre-emptive self-defence? or, alternatively ?anticipatory self-defence?. It analyses this question with principal reference to customary international law as a supplementary gloss upon Article 51 of the UN Charter through detailed scrutiny of the applicable precedents, particularly the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962 and the Osiris use of force in 1981. In arguing that the proposed strike would be an illegal use of force, the article provides a current assessment on the state of the law of self-defence. It concludes that even if Article 51 of the UN Charter allows for either anticipatory or pre-emptive scope, international custom precludes their invocation to justify uses of force against nuclear facilities.
Sarvarian A (2012) Common Ethical Standards for Counsel before the European Court of Justice and European Court of Human Rights, European Journal of International Law 23 (4) pp. 991-1014 Oxford University Press
There is no ?international bar? that regulates the practice of forensic advocacy before international courts and tribunals. The lack of common ethical standards for representatives before international courts and tribunals has been becoming increasingly topical, particularly in the field of investment arbitration. Initiatives by such professional organizations as the International Law Association and the International Bar Association to identify universal ethical principles suggest that there is a body of opinion amongst practitioners who believe that common ethical standards are necessary. However, the topic remains virgin territory in relation to the European Court of Justice and the European Court of Human Rights. This article examines the historical evolution of the representation before the Courts and the procedural and ethical problems concerning representatives that have arisen in practice. It concludes that, far from being a topic of only theoretical interest, there have been considerable problems in practice arising from questionable professional conduct by representatives and conflicting national standards. It suggests that the absence of a prescribed code of conduct setting out the Court?s? precise standard for representatives is a threat to the Courts? procedural integrity and legitimacy. It proposes that the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe take the lead in drafting a code of conduct for the European Courts, in consultation with their judiciaries, which could subsequently be adopted by the Courts and integrated into national codes of conduct.
Baker RB, Sarvarian A (2015) Procedural Fairness and the Institutional Dynamic: Where We Are and Where We Should Be Going, In: Sarvarian A, Fontanelli F, Tzevelekos V, Baker RB (eds.), Procedural Fairness in International Courts and Tribunals British Institute for International and Comparative Law
The chapters in this volume have sought to provide a better understanding of procedural fairness within the international system. Our aims have been restrained given that the research agenda here is new: we have not sought to offer a ?universal model? of the concept but have rather sought to open a discourse with the more modest aim of identifying potential sub-principles that fit into the overarching conceptualisation of ?procedural fairness? and exploring the degree of commonality of these principles amongst the various jurisdictions within the international judicial system. The aim of this concluding chapter is to provide a logical categorisation of these sub-principles, provide a possible framework given the findings that have been presented, and advance the key questions future research will have to grapple with given the current state of the research agenda. Of particular interest for future research are the problems for procedural reform of international courts and tribunals given the realities of cross-fertilisation, effectiveness and the utility of ad hoc reform versus grand revisions.
Sarvarian A (2012) The Accession of the European Union to the European Convention on Human Rights and the Law of International Responsibility,
There have been a string of decisions in recent years by the European Court of Human Rights concerning the peacekeeping operations and sanctions regimes pursuant to a mandate of the United Nations Security Counci lin which Member States of the Council of Europe take part. These include the cases of Bankovic v. Belgium, Bosphorus v. Ireland, Behrami v. France and al-Jedda v. United Kingdom in addition to the decision of the European Court of Justice in Kadi v. Council of the European Union. These decisions have raised important issues concerning the justiciability before the Strasbourg Court of these actions, the attribution of international responsibility to the UN and/or to the Member States and the applicability of European human rights standards to the operations of Member States when acting pursuant to a UN Security Council mandate.
The putative accession of the European Union to the European Convention on Human Rights 1950 potentially amplifies the importance of these issues. For the first time, EU organs will join the jurisdiction of an external court empowered to hold them accountable to external human rights standards. In EU operations under the Common Foreign and Security Policy, particularly peacekeeping operations, this accountability is likely to test the tension in the law of international responsibility concerning the attribution of responsibility to an international organisation or to Member States. There is also the possibility of divergence between competing human rights norms under EU law, the ECHR and UN law.
In a doctrinal analysis of the ILC Articles on State Responsibility and the ILC Draft Articles on the Responsibility of International Organisations with special reference to the aforementioned jurisprudence, the paper aims to identify the analytical problems likely to arise in a CFSP case before the Strasbourg Court. In so doing, it particularly focuses upon the attribution of concurrent or exclusive responsibility in CFSP operations, judicial review by the Strasbourg Court of the lawfulness of UN Security Council resolutions and a special regime of EU law displacing the general law of international responsibility. It considers the likelihood that the Strasbourg Court will be prompted to adopt a more activist policy concerning the responsibility of Member States for operations taken pursuant to UN Security Council mandates as a consequence of EU accession to the ECHR.
Sarvarian A (2013) Professional Ethics at the International Bar, Oxford University Press
The monograph examines whether it would be desirable and feasible to articulate common ethical standards for counsel appearing before international courts and tribunals. It conducts original research into the issues arising from the nascent process of professionalisation of advocacy before international courts and tribunals. It considers whether professionalisation ought to happen and, if so, is feasible in light of the practical limitations on international courts and the considerable diversity amongst national traditions of advocacy. It analyses the commonalities and differences amongst these traditions and the resulting issues arising in practice before the International Court of Justice, European Court of Justice, European Court of Human Rights, investment and commercial arbitration and the International Criminal Court. It explores early attempts to articulate common standards by international professional organisations to identify the challenges for their adoption and application and the ability of international courts to prescribe and enforce such standards. The monograph argues that the professionalisation of advocacy through the articulation of common ethical standards is both desirable and feasible in order to protect the integrity and fairness of the international judicial process.
Sarvarian A The Doctrine of Uti possidetis iuris and Territorial Disputes,
Sarvarian A (2012) Ethical standards for prosecution and defence counsel before international courts, Journal of International Criminal Justice 10 (2) pp. 423-446
There exists no international bar that regulates the practice of forensic advocacy before international courts and tribunals. This lack of common ethical standards for representatives before international courts and tribunals has become increasingly topical. Initiatives by such professional organizations as the International Law Association and the International Bar Association to identify universal ethical principles suggest that there is a body of opinion amongst practitioners that common ethical standards are necessary. Despite the wealth of literature on the Nuremberg trial, the historical record has never been studied from the specific standpoint of the professional ethics of counsel. This article examines the historical record of the International Military Tribunal (IMT) to draw historical lessons. In doing so, a fascinating and, in some respects, astonishing narrative is revealed of the actions of certain individuals and the lax standard of professionalism set by the IMT. The lessons from the Nuremberg experience are an invaluable cautionary tale in the capacity of counsel to endanger or safeguard the integrity of judicial proceedings and, consequently, their overall legitimacy. As the proto-international bar gradually organizes itself into a profession and as professional ethics for prosecutors becomes increasingly contentious before the International Criminal Court, a closer examination of the Nuremberg legacy provides compelling material for the need for common and robust ethical standards for counsel practicing before international courts and tribunals. © Oxford University Press, 2012, All rights reserved.
Sarvarian A (2015) Splitting the Baby: Judicial Review of United Nations Security Council Resolutions by the European Court of Human Rights, International Organizations Law Review 12 (1)
Sarvarian A (2014) Statehood, Westlaw UK Insight
Sarvarian A, Fontanelli F, Zidar A, Tzevelekos V, Baker R (2015) Procedural Fairness in International Courts and Tribunals, British Institute of International and Comparative Law
This book frames the study of procedural fairness as the identification of fundamental principles inherent to international judicial and arbitral processes. It draws together a number of pertinent issues on specific aspects of fairness (e.g. the equality of arms principle) before international courts and tribunals within a comprehensive narrative. The book brings academics and practitioners together to initiate ground-breaking research into this novel topic. It employs a comparative approach whereby contributors analyse the procedures and practices of various international courts and tribunals. It identifies patterns of commonality and divergence in the core standards of procedural fairness of international courts and develops a holistic understanding of the nature of procedural fairness and the challenges to its realisation in the international judicial system. The book concludes that, while there is no universal model of procedural fairness, nascent principles of fairness are emerging in the jurisprudence of international courts in order to resolve procedural and practical issues.
Sarvarian A (2016) Codifying the Law of State Succession: A Futile Endeavour?, European Journal of International Law 27 (3) pp. 789-812 Oxford University Press
The succession of states is one of the most complex, challenging and politicized problems in international law. Attempts by the International Law Commission to codify it in the dying days of decolonization produced two treaties, neither of which has attracted broad participation or proved to be particularly influential on subsequent practice. As in the first great wave of succession practice in decolonization (1950?1974), the second great wave of ?desovietization? at the end of the Cold War (1990?1996) featured reactive solutions purporting to apply principles whose authority, content and theoretical underpinnings were unsettled. The purpose of this article is to examine whether recent practice supports the hypothesis that codification of a ?law of state succession? ? whose very existence has long been contentious ? is a futile endeavour. The article examines the 21st-century succession practice in a historiographical approach. It uses the South Sudan and Scotland cases against a historical backdrop of codification with reference to their key issues of succession.
Sarvarian Arman (2019) Procedural Economy at the International Court of Justice, The Law and Practice of International Courts and Tribunals Brill Academic Publishers
In April 2016, the International Court of Justice held a colloquium to commemorate the 70th
anniversary of its establishment. One of the principal themes of this event was the potential
adoption of improvements to the procedures and working practices of the Court. For this
purpose, a Counsel Survey was commissioned to canvass for ideas amongst the informal bar of
practitioners who regularly appear before the Court as counsel. The response to the Survey
revealed a general interest in procedural reform at the Court, particularly with respect to the
areas of evidence and procedural efficiency in contentious cases.
A growing awareness of the devastating impact of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) on international peace and security inspired multilateral efforts in the 20th century to alleviate the threat posed by these weapons. These efforts culminated in the adoption the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (1968), the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (1972) and the Chemical Weapons Convention (1997). This complex of WMD disarmament regimes, which was expanded by the recent adoption of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in 2017, provides legal frameworks for reducing, and eventually eliminating, all WMD stockpiles.
The disarmament literature tends to place a focus on political, technical, scientific and military aspects surrounding the implementation of disarmament regimes, while largely neglecting their legal architecture and the wider role of international law in the field of disarmament. However, developments in recent years, including the ad hoc chemical disarmament of Syria, the Marshall Islands lawsuit brought against the nuclear weapons states at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), and the adoption of the new treaty on nuclear weapons, have accorded increased attention to international legal aspects surrounding disarmament.
In the context of these movements, this thesis intends to make a two-fold contribution. First, it addresses gaps in the disarmament literature by offering a comprehensive up-to-date analysis of the international law on disarmament, including of recent legal debates. As a second contribution, it will provide a novel evaluation of the legal effectiveness of disarmament regimes by identifying criteria which are considered crucial for successful disarmament and applying them to the respective WMD regimes. Through this dual examination of legal and practical aspects surrounding disarmament, this thesis aims to offer useful insights and support to both international legal scholars and disarmament practitioners in the appropriate interpretation, implementation and strengthening of disarmament regimes.

Additional publications