UCL Faculty of Laws

Prof Philippe Sands

Prof Philippe Sands

Professor of the Public Understanding of Law

Faculty of Laws


Joined UCL
1st Jan 2002

Research summary

Professor Sands directs the Project on International Courts and Tribunals (www.pict-pcti.org). The project has the following aims and objectives:

- to facilitate access to and transparency in the work of international courts and tribunals;

- to enhance the effectiveness of international courts and tribunals;

- to promote greater knowledge about international courts and tribunals; and

- to promote international peace through international justice and rule of law.

The project is doing research into policy, legal and operational, issues in the administration of international justice in the twenty-first century, such as the composition and independence of the international bench. In 2006 the Centre for International Courts and Tribunals was awarded an AHRC grant of £250,000 to examine the appointment of international judges.


University of Cambridge
Other higher degree, Master of Laws | 1983
University of Cambridge
First Degree, Bachelor of Arts (Honours) | 1982


Philippe Sands joined the Faculty in January 2002. He is Professor of Law and Director of the Centre on International Courts and Tribunals in the Faculty, and a key member of staff in the Centre for Law and the Environment. His teaching areas include public international law, the settlement of international disputes (including arbitration), and environmental and natural resources law.

Philippe is a regular commentator on the BBC and CNN and writes frequently for leading newspapers. hHe is frequently invited to lecture around the world, and in recent years has been a Visiting Professor at the University of Toronto (2005), the University of Melbourne (2005) and the Universite de Paris I (Sorbonne) (2006, 2007). He has previously held academic positions at the University of London's School of Oriental and African Studies, Kings College London and , University of Cambridge and was a Global Professor of Law at New York University from 1995-2003. He was co-founder of FIELD (Foundation for International Environmental Law and Development), and established the programmes on Climate Change and Sustainable Development. He is a member of the Advisory Boards of the European Journal of International Law and Review of European Community and International Environmental Law (Blackwell Press). In 2007 he served as a judge for the Guardian First Book Prize award.

As a practicing barrister he has extensive experience litigating cases before the International Court of Justice, the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, the International Center for the Settlement of Investment Disputes, and the European Court of Justice. He frequently advises governments, international organisations, NGOs and the private sector on aspects of international law. In 2003 he was appointed a Queen's Counsel. He has been appointed to lists of arbitrators maintained by ICSID and the PCA.