Institute of Global Law

Institute of Global Law

Tobias Lock  



PhD (Dr. iur. Erlangen 2009), Assessor Juris (Qualified German Lawyer, 2006),
First State Examination (Erlangen 2004), Diploma in Common Law (NUI 2001)

contact details:
Tel: +44 (0)20 7679 1475 | internal: x21475
Email: t.lock@ucl.ac.uk
Administrator: Kerry Newlyn

+44 (0)20 7679 1478 | internal: x21478

Tobias Lock joined the Faculty and the Institute of Global in September 2007 as DAAD-Clifford Chance Lecturer in German Law. Before joining UCL he worked as lecturer and researcher at the Chair of Professor Bernhard W. Wegener in the Department of Public Law, University of Erlangen-Nuremberg ( Germany ).

He read law at the Friedrich-Alexander University of Erlangen-Nuremberg (First State Examination, 2004) and at University College Cork (Diploma in Common Law, 2001). He passed his Second State Examination in 2006 after having completed a two year trainee period at the Higher Regional Court (Oberlandesgericht) of Nuremberg and with Jones Day in Brussels where he mainly worked in the fields of State Aid and Competition Law. In 2009 the University of Erlangen awarded him a PhD (Dr. iur.) summa cum laude .

Tobias Lock's research focuses on European and International Law as well as German and Comparative Constitutional Law.

His recently published book deals with ‘The relationship between the European Court of Justice and international courts' (Das Verhältnis zwischen dem EuGH und internationalen Gerichten). It was inspired by the Mox Plant proceedings before the European Court of Justice (Case C-459/03), where the relationship between the ECJ and the ITLOS/UNCLOS and OSPAR arbitral tribunals was at issue. While there was some literature available on the general phenomenon of jurisdictional conflicts in international law and the relationship between international courts, not much had been written from an EC law perspective.

The book first outlines the situation under public international law. It is based on the premise that a conflict of jurisdiction is a treaty conflict. Thus the various ways of resolving treaty conflicts (express clauses, lex posterior , lex specialis and abuse of rights) are examined as to their suitability for the resolution of jurisdictional conflicts. The book then addresses the phenomenon of parallel proceedings and discusses ways of resolving them, such as the application of res judicata , lis alibi pendens and forum non conveniens . As neither of these rules is capable of resolving all potential conflicts (especially not conflicting interpretations of one and the same treaty provision by different courts), the possibility of future reforms is discussed, e.g. the introduction of a duty to exercise comity, the doctrine of stare decisis or appeals to the ICJ. These are largely dismissed as unrealistic or undesirable due to practical reasons (as law-making in international law is cumbersome and can often lead to non-satisfactory results).

The second part of the book addresses the specific problems related to the ECJ as the EU's court. The ECJ enjoys an exclusive jurisdiction over all disputes between Member States (Art. 344 TFEU) regarding Community law. It is argued that this exclusive jurisdiction goes even further and extends to all proceedings before the ECJ. A discussion follows about the Court's jurisdiction over Community agreements with an emphasis on mixed agreements and the solution found in the Mox Plant Case. That solution is found to be correct in the light of the object and purpose of Art. 344 TFEU. The question then asked is whether there are exceptions to the exclusive jurisdiction: first, the applicability of the CILFIT case law, as was argued by an arbitral tribunal in the so-called Ijzeren Rijn Case, and second, whether Member States can simply exclude Community law from the dispute and thus avoid an infringement of Art. 344. It is argued that the latter is generally possible (although not advisable as such a decision would not reflect the true legal situation between Member States). The IJzeren Rijn Tribunal's argument, in contrast, is dismissed. A further and equally important question is whether other international courts (such as the ITLOS in Mox) have a duty to respect the exclusive jurisdiction of the ECJ. Furthermore, the thesis addresses the question of whether the ECJ can be bound by decisions of other courts and tribunals according to a dictum in the ECJ's Opinion 1/91 with a particular emphasis on WTO-DSB decisions and the van Parys case. Finally the thesis discusses the relationship between the ECJ and the ECtHR, de lege lata and de lege ferenca (with particular reference to Art. 52 III of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and an possible accession of the ECHR by the EU).

Tobias is currently researching the EU's accession to the ECHR. He closely follows the negotiations and comments on them at conferences and in scholarly articles. He has just published a paper on the some of the technicalities of an accession in the European Law Review and has started researching its implications on the two European Courts and on the protection of fundamental rights in the Member States.

Furthermore, he is interested in fundamental rights law, having just completed a contribution on religious symbols.



Articles in peer-reviewed journals

Chapters in Books

  • Of Crucifixes and Headscarves: Religious Symbols in German Schools, in: Hunter-Henin (ed.), Law, Religion and Education, forthcoming with Ashgate (10,000 words)
  • Accession of the EU to the ECHR: Who Would Be Responsible in Strasbourg ?, in: Ashiagbor, Countouris, Lianos (eds.), Lisbon Treaty, forthcoming with CUP (9,000 words)  

 Miscellaneous articles


  • EU Accession to the ECHR: Consequences for the European Court of Justice, EUSA Conference, Boston , USA , 3 March 2011
  • EU accession to the ECHR: how to preserve the autonomy of EU law?, EU External Relations Law and Policy in the post-Lisbon Era, University of Sheffield , 13 January 2011
  • EU Accession to the ECHR, After Lisbon: The Future of European Law & Policy, Conference on European Law & Policy in Context, University of Birmingham, 24-25 June 2010
  • The future relationship between the two European Courts' at UCL Centre for Law and Governance in Europe , Hot Topics Lecture , 16 March 2009
  • ‘Unilateral Withdrawal from the Euratom Treaty' The Greens/EFA in the European Parliament and Heinrich Böll Foundation, Euratom - 50 years too much, held at Brussels on 8 March 2007

Media Work

  • BBC 2: Interview on ‘Daily Politics' about the Conservative Party's proposed ‘Sovereignty Bill' (aired 1 December 2009)
  • ARD (German National Television) Europamagazin: Interview on parking fines in Europe (aired 31 Octocber 2009)


German Constitutional Law (ELS First Year)
German Contract Law (ELS Second Year)
EU Law

The EU as an International Actor

This page last modified 2 February, 2011 by Laws Webmaster