Surrey International and European Law Research Group

The Surrey International and European Law Research Group conducts the research activities of the School of Law in public international law, including European Union law, European human rights law, international criminal law and transnational comparative law. The main focus of the research group is the jurisdictions of international courts and tribunals, such as the International Court of Justice, European Union courts, European Court of Human Rights and International Criminal Court.

The present Parliament (2015-2020) will feature the most historic period in British history concerning the engagement of the United Kingdom with international jurisdictions. From controversial uses of force in Iraq and Syria and the prospective entry into force of the crime of aggression in the Statute of the International Criminal Court to initiatives to reform human rights law to limit the enforceability of judgments of the European Court of Human Rights and the forthcoming referendum on membership in the European Union, there has never been a more challenging and engaging time for the continuing commitment of the United Kingdom to international law.

The group’s research approach is focused not only on the production of original research publications but also on the generation of projects that impact on the conduct of international law in practice. Consequently, the group is engaged in the creation of projects of multidisciplinary scope that connect the insight gleaned from academic research to these important events. For example, the group regularly comments on international law matters in the media and conducts training workshops aimed at influencing the awareness and understanding of international law amongst legal professionals and the general public.

Research projects

In September 2014, Dr Arman Sarvarian and Dr Rudy Baker together with Dr Filippo Fontanelli (University of Edinburgh) and Dr Vassilis Tzevelekos (University of Hull) staged a two-day workshop at the University of Surrey on this topic with the support of the University of Surrey Institute of Advanced Studies and the British Institute of International and Comparative Law. The workshop featured a combination of senior and junior academics and practitioners, including Judge Awn al-Khasawneh (International Court of Justice), Judge Sir David Edward (Court of Justice of the European Union) and Judge Paul Mahoney (European Court of Human Rights) with a keynote speech by Professor Philippe Sands QC (University College London and Matrix Chambers). Based on the papers presented at the workshop, the organisers collaborated to produce an edited volume published by the British Institute of International and Comparative Law in November 2015.

Increasingly prominent in practice, problems arising in the procedures of international courts and tribunals concern areas as diverse as the handling of expert evidence, the burden and standard of proof, imbalances in the representation of parties, access to the court or tribunal and the independence and impartiality of judges and arbitrators. Whilst raising fundamental questions concerning the status in law of principles of procedural fairness, the topic encompasses not only the procedural law of international courts and tribunals narrowly construed (i.e. – their textual instruments, potentially supplemented by other sources of law) but also broader questions concerning institutional, architectural and/or systemic reform that are connected to the conduct of procedure. These may include, for example, the provision of legal aid mechanisms to indigent and/or inexperienced parties to address imbalances in representation.

The book brings academics and practitioners together to initiate ground-breaking research into this novel topic. It employs comparative approach whereby contributors will analyse the procedures and practices of various international courts and tribunals. The aim is to identify patterns of commonality and divergence in the core standards of procedural fairness of international courts and to develop a holistic understanding of the nature of procedural fairness and the challenges to its realisation in the international judicial system. The book also comments on the theoretical question of the implications that fairness in international procedural law may have for general international law, such as its systemic traits, the ‘humanisation’ of international procedure and the responsibility of international courts and tribunals for failure to meet standards of fairness.

The contributors to the volume are: Judge Awn al-Khasawneh (International Court of Justice), Judge Sir Kenneth Keith (International Court of Justice), Dr John Sorabji (University College London, Legal Adviser to the Master of the Rolls), Dr Gabriele Ruscalla (Max Planck Institute, Luxembourg), Professor Serena Forlati (University of Ferrera), Ms Sophie Rigney (Ph.D. Candidate, University of Melbourne), Miss Laura Marschner (Ph.D. Candidate, University of Zurich), Mr Raymundo Tullio Treves (Permanent Court of Arbitration and Max Planck Institute, Heidelberg), Dr M.I. Fedorova, Radboud University Nijmegen, Dr James G. Devaney (European University Institute), Mr Philip Weiner (Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, former Judge, Court for Bosnia-Herzegovina), Ms Catherine Gibson (Covington & Burley LLP), Professor Chiara Giorgetti (University of Richmond), Professor Hugh Thirlway (former Head of Legal Department, International Court of Justice), Mr Brooks Daly (Deputy Secretary-General, Permanent Court of Arbitration), Mr Hugh Meighen, (Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer), Professor Chi Carmody, University of Western Ontario, Ms Oonagh Sands, Foley Hoag LLP (Washington, D.C.), Professor Dr Julianne Kokott (Advocate General, Court of Justice of the European Union), Mr Wolfgang Rosch, Legal Secretary (Court of Justice of the European Union), Dr Lucas Lixinski (University of New South Wales), Dr Sergey Vasiliev (University of Amsterdam)

Dr Arman Sarvarian has fostered relations between the International Criminal Court in the Republic of Armenia both in providing expertise concerning the central issue of ratification of the ICC Statute by Armenia and in promoting awareness of the ICC in Armenia. He was the author of a confidential memorandum submitted to the ad hoc Commission on Constitutional Reform, which adopted its recommendation of an amendment to the Constitution of Armenia in its final report approved by the President of Armenia. His work has been instrumental in improving awareness and understanding of the key legal and political issues concerning ratification of the ICC Statute.

He commenced an applied research project on ratification of the Statute of the International Criminal Court by Armenia in 2014 with the aim of engaging directly with the political and legal issues on the domestic scene. Armenia participated in the Rome Diplomatic Conference and signed the Rome Statute on 1 October 1998. Although the Armenian delegation to the Rome Conference had strongly supported the adoption of the Rome Statute, no moves were taken until 2004 to initiate the constitutional process of ratification. On 13 August 2004, the Constitutional Court ruled that the Rome Statute conflicts with the Constitution on two points, which halted the process of ratification for a decade.

In collaboration with colleagues from the American University of Armenia, Dr Sarvarian organised a high-level conference on the issue of ratification held on 6 April 2013 with the support of the Coalition, the ICRC and the University of Surrey. The participants included Judge Howard Morrison (International Criminal Court) and Registrar Silvana Arbia (International Criminal Court), Mr Armen Baibourtian (Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Armenia to the Rome Conference in 1998), Ms Kirsten Meerschaert-Duchens (Europe Programme Coordinator, Coalition for the International Criminal Court) and Mr Armen Harutyunyan (now Judge, European Court of Human Rights). The conference received extensive coverage in the Armenian media, including the Public Television of Armenia, the Public Radio of Armenia, CivilNet TV and Radio Liberty Armenia. It was held as the negotiations between the EU and Armenia on an association agreement, which included a duty for Armenia to take steps to ratify the Rome Statute, were approaching their climax. In the autumn of 2013, President Serzh Sargsyan announced the creation of an ad hoc Commission on Constitutional Reform to examine the case for amendments to the Constitution of Armenia.

Following the conference, Dr Sarvarian was commissioned to prepare a memorandum on the ICC Statute for the Commission on Constitutional reform. In its final report of October 2014, the Commission concluded that ‘the constitutional reform must also create modalities for the ratification of [the Rome Statute]’. This report was approved by President Sargsyan, who tasked the Commission to draft constitutional amendments based on the report for the consideration of the National Assembly with a view to a referendum being held per the constitutional procedure. When the draft amendments were published by the Commission in the summer of 2015, no amendment was submitted concerning the Rome Statute to the National Assembly. Instead, the Commission held closed meetings in October 2015 and ultimately decided against proposing an amendment to enable ratification.

On September 2014, Dr Sarvarian organised, with the financial support of the Coalition to the International Criminal Court, the Embassy of the United Kingdom to the Republic of Armenia and the University of Surrey, a two-day training workshop on the ICC Statute and the ICC Rules of Procedure and Evidence for twenty defence counsel of the Chamber of Advocates of the Republic of Armenia. The trainers were Judge Howard Morrison (ICC), Professor Esteban Peralta Losilla (Head of Counsel Support Section, ICC) and Dr Sarvarian. The workshop participants received a concentrated period of training on the ICC Statute system of jurisdiction and admissibility, the Rules of Procedure and Evidence, testimonial evidence, the rights of defendants and victims, professional ethics of defence counsel and practical aspects of advocacy before the ICC. These topics were completely new to the workshop participants, who took part with interest and enthusiasm. The workshop generated interest on the part of Armenian defence counsel to seek to qualify for admission to the ICC List of Defence Counsel, which is open to nationals of States that are not members of the ICC. As a contribution to the workshop, the International Committee for the Red Cross provided the first unofficial translation of the ICC Rules of Procedure and Evidence in the Armenian language.

In April 2014 and May 2015, the Coalition for the International Criminal Court employed Dr Sarvarian’s expertise on the conduct of their targeted campaigns aimed at persuading the Republic of Armenia to join the ICC. Dr Sarvarian advised the CICC on the constitutional and domestic political situation in Armenia, including the process of constitutional reform and the centenary commemoration of the Armenian Genocide in 2015. In September 2015, he was also called upon to advise a group of Armenian non-governmental organisations (e.g. – Civil Society Institute) interested in creating a national coalition for the ICC. He acted as an expert legal adviser providing the NGOs with technical knowledge on the ICC Statute.

On 20 November 2015, Dr Sarvarian addressed a side event of the ICC Assembly of States Parties in The Hague at the invitation of the Coalition for the International Criminal Court. The side event, entitled ‘Global Civil Society & European States: What can be done to advance international justice’ was co-hosted by the CICC, Luxembourg and the European External Action Service. In his speech, Dr Sarvarian briefed the participants (including the Ambassador of the European Union to the ICC and the European External Action Service representative on ICC matters) on the relationship between the ICC and Armenia, particularly the constitutional developments, and made recommendations for concrete activities for the European Union to consider in promoting ICC-Armenia relations in the context of a new Association Agreement.

Dr Theodore Konstadinides’ research coheres around the field of EU Constitutional law broadly with an emphasis on competence delimitation between the EU and the Member States. Theodore’s recent work is focusing on constitutional principles and values such as the place of effective judicial protection and constitutional identity in European integration. His current project engages with the rule of law in the European Union. It looks at its implementation, monitoring and enforcement at both the national and EU level. His work involves questions about the EU as a political community and as an internal market as well as the external profile of the EU as a global economic and security actor.

Dr. Sabrina Germain's research interests lie in the many connections between law and public policy. More particularly she is interested in the interaction between the public and private sector and the influence of private entities on the law-making process. Her most recent project explores the influence of justice principles and the role played by for-profit actors (the medical profession, employers and insurers) in the development of distributive norms for the allocation of health care resources in western welfare states. The study presents health care policy trends leading to the enactment of major health care reform in the United States, a predominantly privately-run health care system, and the United Kingdom, the first universal health care system in the world. Through a historical narrative the study reveals the role played by for-profit actors and discourses of justice in the allocation of resources to finance and provide health care services.

Publications

  1. Germain S. Justice and Profit in Health Care Law: A Comparative Analysis of the United States and the United Kingdom (Oxford, Hart Publishing, forthcoming, 2017)
  2. Konstadinides T. The Rule of EU Law: The Evolution and Scope of the European Constitutional Project (Oxford, Hart Publishing, Modern Studies in European Law, forthcoming, 2016)
  3. *Dyson T and Konstadinides T. ‘Enhancing Energy Security in the European Union: Pathways to Reduce Europe’s Dependence on Russian Gas Imports’ (2016) European Law Review (forthcoming – June Issue)
  4. Konstadinides T. ‘The Competences of the Union’ in Schütze R. and Tridimas T. (eds.)The Oxford Principles of European Union Law, Vol. 1: The European Union Legal Order (Oxford University Press, 2016)
  5. Dr Rudy Baker, 'Customary International Law: A Reconceptualization,' 41 Brooklyn Journal of International Law (forthcoming 2016)
  6. Dr Rudy Baker, 'Legal Recursivity and International Law: Rethinking the Customary Element,' 14 Dartmouth Law Journal (forthcoming 2016)
  7. Dr Rudy Baker, 'Rethinking the European Union’s Enlargement and Neighborhood Policy: Lessons from California,' 10 Journal of Regional Security (forthcoming 2015)
  8. Sarvarian, Fontanelli, Baker and Tzevelekos (Eds), Procedural Fairness in International Courts and Tribunals (British Institute of International and Comparative Law, November 2015)
  9. Arman Sarvarian, ‘Humanitarian Intervention after Syria’, 36(1) Legal Studies (2016), Early View (2 December 2015)
  10. Arman Sarvarian, ‘Splitting the Baby: Judicial Review of United Nations Security Council Resolutions by the European Court of Human Rights’, 12(1) International Organizations Law Review (2015), 169-203
  11. Arman Sarvarian, ‘Uti Possidetis Iuris in the Twenty-first Century: Consensual or Customary?’, 22(3) International Journal on Minority and Group Rights (2015), 511-532
  12. Konstadinides T. ‘Dealing with Parallel Universes: Antinomies of Sovereignty and the Protection of National Identity in European Judicial Discourse’ (2015) 34 (1) Yearbook of European Law 127-169. ISSN
  13. Konstadinides T. ‘EU Foreign Policy under the Doctrine of Implied Powers: Codification Drawbacks and Constitutional Limitations’ (2014) 39 (4) European Law Review 511-530
  14. Dr Rudy Baker (with co-author Zoran S. Nikolić) 'Between Politics and Science: The Dilemma of Reason,' 22 The Journal Jurisprudence 22: 81-99 (2014)

Government

  • Dr Arman Sarvarian, Written evidence cited in the report of the House of Commons Defence Select Committee, Intervention: Why, When and How? (28 April 2014), para. 50.
  • Dr Arman Sarvarian, Written evidence cited in the report of the Scottish Parliament European Union and External Relations Committee, The Scottish Government’s proposals for an independent Scotland: membership of the European Union (23 May 2014), para. 173.

Media commentary

  • Arman Sarvarian, 'PM kicks human rights bill into the long grass – let’s make sure it stays there', The Conversation (27 May 2015)
  • Arman Sarvarian, 'Queen’s speech 2015: the experts respond', The Conversation (27 May 2015)
  • Arman Sarvarian interviewed on BBC Radio Five Live and Eagle Radio on legality of UK airstrikes targeting Islamic State in Syria
  • Arman Sarvarian interviewed on BBC News 24 and BBC Radio Surrey on whether British nationals can be prosecuted for taking part in the Syrian Civil War

Public speeches and conference presentations

  • Dr Arman Sarvarian, ‘The Contribution of the British Bar to International Law’, British Institute of International and Comparative Law (1 December 2015), 
  • Dr Arman Sarvarian, ‘Procedural Reform in International Courts and Tribunals: Feasible? Desirable?’, British Institute of International and Comparative Law (17 November 2015), Temple Garden Chambers International Adjudication Seminar Series
  • Dr Arman Sarvarian, ‘Humanitarian Intervention after Syria’, University of Liverpool (23 October 2015)
  • Dr Rudy Baker, BELGRADE SECURITY FORUM 2015: DOES THE EU NEED A FOREIGN POLICY?, Belgrade, Serbia (Sponsored by the Belgrade Center for Security Policy / Belgrade Fund for Political Excellence / the European Movement in Serbia) (September 30-October 2, 2015), Presenter: 'Rethinking the European Union’s Enlargement and Neighborhood Policy'
  • Dr Arman Sarvarian, ‘Ethics in the International Bar: Rules, Gaps and Improvements in the Regulation of Professional Ethics in International Courts and Tribunals’, British Institute of International and Comparative Law (28 May 2015), Temple Garden Chambers International Adjudication Seminar Series

Our staff

Dr Arman Sarvarian  (Director) Public International Law
Dr Theodore Konstadinides European Union Law
Dr Troy Lavers International Criminal Law
Dr Noreen O'Meara European Union Law, European Human Rights Law
Dr Rudy Baker Public International Law, International Criminal Law, International Relations
Dr Sabrina Germain Comparative Law, Law and Public Policy, Public Health Law

Contact us

Please contact the director of the group for more information about its activities.

Find us

Address
Floor Five
Frank Whittle Building (AB)
University of Surrey
Guildford
Surrey
GU2 7XH