UCL Faculty of Laws


The Known and Unknown Unknowns: Appearing before, and Decision Making by, International Courts

11 December 2017, 6:00 pm–7:00 pm

Old Bailey

International Law Association (British Branch) Lecture Series.

Event Information

Open to



UCL Laws



Speaker: Dr Gavan Griffith QC, Essex Court Chambers
Chair: Dr Martins Paparinskis, UCL

About this talk:

The rise of the Powerpoint and Post-Hearing Brief and the eclipse of Advocacy:  Gavan Griffith reflects upon practical and unrecorded roles of counsel, advocacy, and decision making in international disputation, as enlivened over the last 30 years through the International Court of Justice and commercial and investment arbitrations at the Permanent Court of Arbitration, ICSID, and other arbitration institutions.

The speaker:

For the 14 years prior to 1998 as Solicitor-General Gavan Griffith was counsel for Australia, including from the 1980’s as Agent at the International Court of Justice in the successive case of Nauru v Australia (the first claim for theft, cf. occupation, of a country), Portugal v Australia, and in the two unsatisfactorily disposed of Requests for Advisory Opinions by the WHO and the General Assembly as to the Legality of Nuclear Weapons. Since then he has practiced out of Essex Court Chambers as an international commercial and investments disputes arbitrator at ICSID Tribunals and ad hoc Annulment Committees, the PCA and elsewhere. He was first called to the Australian Bar in 1984 and later by Lord Denning at Lincoln’s Inn. He has 8 commissions as silk running back 35 years, with a present ambition to become a King’s Counsel. He is D.Phil from Oxford and sometimes visiting law Fellow at Magdalen College  between 1968 and 1981; Australian Delegate to the United Nations, the Hague Conference on Private International Law and to UNCITRAL between 1984 to 1997, including on the latter’s adoption of the Model Law in 1985; as well as other engagements as a member of the Permanent Court of Arbitration; Chairman of Intelsat Panel of Legal Experts and the like, and  a term seconded as special counsel to the United Nations in 1994 – 1995 on a $1 contract.