UCL Faculty of Laws


Priya Urs

Priya Urs
Key information

  • Integrated Bachelor of Arts and Law (B.A., LL.B.) (Honours), National Law School of India University (2013), Master of Law (LL.M.), University of Cambridge (2014)
  • priya.urs.17@ucl.ac.uk

Priya joined the Faculty of Laws in September 2017. Her doctoral research in international criminal law addresses the exercise of prosecutorial discretion during the initiation of investigations and prosecutions at the International Criminal Court. Her thesis specifically examines the application of the often overlooked but increasingly contentious criterion of ‘sufficient gravity’ to justify the decisions whether to initiate an investigation or prosecution. Priya’s research is supported by the UCL Faculty of Laws Research Scholarship and the Joseph Hume Scholarship.
Alongside her PhD, Priya is a Teaching Fellow at the Faculty of Laws (2018–20) and at the Department of Political Science (2019–20), where she is the sole convenor of the postgraduate course ‘War and International Law’. Since 2018, she is a Coordinator for the UCL Public International Law Pro Bono Project, which in 2018 received a Provost’s Education Award. In 2018–19, she also co-founded and co-convened the UCL Public International Law Discussion Group.
Prior to starting the PhD, Priya spent three years as a Research Fellow at the Max Planck Foundation for International Peace and the Rule of Law, Heidelberg, where she implemented various rule of law projects across Afghanistan, Pakistan and Cambodia. Earlier, in 2013–14, she read for the Master of Law (LLM) at the University of Cambridge, where she was awarded a First Class degree and the David Thompson Prize (Homerton College) in recognition of her results. Her previous work experience includes internships at the Supreme Court of India and the National Human Rights Commission of India, as well as research assistance at the University of Cambridge, Amnesty International and the Centre for Law and Policy Research.

Research Supervisors

Areas of Expertise

Public International Law, International Criminal Law, Law on the Use of Force, Law of Armed Conflict/International Humanitarian Law.

UCL Associations/Academic and Professional Memberships

  • Project Coordinator, UCL Public International Law Pro Bono Project (2018-20).
  • Member of Editorial Board, UCL Journal of Law and Jurisprudence (2018-19).

Public Engagements & Media Coverage




  • P Urs, 'Obligations Erga Omnes and the Question of Standing before the International Court of Justice' (2021) 34(2) Leiden Journal of International Law 505.


  • P Urs, 'Judicial Review of Prosecutorial Discretion in the Initiation of Investigations into Situations of "Sufficient Gravity"'(2020) 18(4) Journal of International Criminal Justice 851.


  • P Urs, 'Effective Territorial Control by Non-State Armed Groups and the Right of Self-Defence' (2017) 77 Zeitschrift für ausländisches öffentliches Recht und Völkerrecht (aka Heidelberg Journal of International Law) 31.


  • P Urs, ‘The Role of the Security Council in the Use of Force Against the “Islamic State”’ (2015) 19 Max Planck Yearbook of United Nations Law 65.

Edited Volumes


  • P Urs, 'Situation on the Registered Vessels of the Union of the Comoros, the Hellenic Republic and the Kingdom of Cambodia', in F Lachenmann and R Wolfrum (eds), Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law (2020).

  • K Trapp and P Urs, 'Peace Diplomacy and Conflict Prevention', in R Geiß and N Melzer (eds), Oxford Handbook on the International Law of Global Security (2021).

  • P Urs, 'Distinguishing between Secession and Declarations of Independence', in J Vidmar, L Raible and S McGibbon (eds), Research Handbook on Secession (Edward Elgar, forthcoming).


  • E Novic and P Urs, 'Secession', in R Grote, F Lachenmann and R Wolfrum (eds), Max Planck Encyclopedia of Comparative Constitutional Law (2017).