International law

Our experts are making innovative contributions to international legal scholarship.

With a growing team of international law specialists, The University of Manchester Law School is contributing to global conversations about essential international regulatory frameworks.

Our expertise is sought by governments and international organisations and our research in this area covers:

  • comparative constitutional law;
  • international economic law;
  • international humanitarian law;
  • international investment law;
  • international legal theory;
  • law of international organisations;
  • law and social theory;
  • legal aspects of Israel/Palestine relations;
  • legal history;
  • public international law;
  • sociology of law;
  • the law and practice of international courts and tribunals;
  • WTO law.


A sociology of the transnational constitution

  • Funder: European Research Council
  • Principal Investigator: Chris Thornhill
  • Project aim: Building on Chris Thornhill’s recent research on the sociology of constitutions, this project develops a socio-functionalist methodology to examine the emergent constitutional order of transnational society. Its objective is to generate a series of comprehensive macro-sociological analyses of current changes in the legal form of democracy, and it aims in particular to explain the pronounced judicial, rights-based emphasis of contemporary transnational constitutionalism.
  • More about the sociology of the transnational constitution project

Expectations of host states in international investment law

  • Principal Investigator: Dr Yenkong Hodu
  • Project aim: This project examines what would constitute a legitimate expectation of a host state in investment arbitration. It explores the concept of ‘legitimate expectations’ as the basis of a claim by a claimant and grounds on which host states may or may not be able to put forward the same concept in investment arbitration.

Impacting international practice (IMPACTICE)

  • Funder: Humanities Strategic Investment Fund (HSIF)
  • Principal Investigator: Jean d'Aspremont

International courts and tribunals

  • Principal Investigator: Professor Iain Scobbie
  • Project aim: To focus on the procedural aspects of international courts with a view to conceptualising the dynamics and processes of the international judicial function.

International legal theory

  • Principal Investigators: Professor Jean d’Aspremont and Professor Iain Scobbie
  • Project aim: Drawing on the mainstream schools of (international) law, and building from a close knowledge of the practices and rules of the discipline, this project aims at an evaluative perspective on international law which seeks to uncover, assess, criticise, reconstruct the key concepts of the discipline.

Law, human rights, and peacebuilding in the Middle East

  • Principal Investigator: Iain Scobbie, with Alon Margalit (in collaboration with Chatham House)
  • Funder: Sir Joseph Hotung Trust
  • Project aim: The project investigates legal aspects of possible institutional arrangements between Israel and Palestine.
  • More information available on the SOAS website

Law of armed conflicts

  • Principal Investigator: Professor Iain Scobbie
  • Project aim: The project moves away from a strict rule-perspective and focuses on the structural biases of the discipline and seeks to uncover the tensions at work in the practice and discourses on the law of armed conflict.

The law of international organisations

  • Principal Investigators: Professor Jean d’Aspremont, Professor Iain Scobbie and Philip Burton
  • Project aim: To revisit the foundations of the law of international organisations as well as the theoretical and methodological moves witnessed in the international legal scholarship devoted to international organisations. This project includes the constitution of a database of empirical and legal documents relevant to the study and the practice of the law of international organisations.

The monetary policy and national sovereignty in international economic law

  • Principal Investigator: Dr Yenkong Hodu
  • Funder: The China-EU Law School
  • Project aim: International economic law in the area of monetary policy is largely characterised by soft law and informal coordination and therefore, poorly developed to deal with what many states consider the province of their national sovereignty. The 2008 financial crisis has reinvigorated the debate as to the extent of national sovereignty in the area of monetary policy. This project explores the theoretical underpinnings of monetary policy and in particular, foreign exchange rate policy in the context of international monetary and trade law.

The political economy of implementation-related challenges in the WTO and China approach to compliance with WTO Law

  • Principal Investigator: Dr Yenkong Hodu
  • Project aim: This project explores specific international relation theories in the context of WTO law. It further examines the conflicting and conciliating processes between the Chinese approach of litigation and the western approach of legal orientation in the field of WTO dispute settlement mechanism.

The sources of international law

  • Principal Investigator: Professor Jean d'Aspremont
  • Project aim: The project seeks to revisit the foundations, dynamics and politics of the sources of international law. It also looks at the role of formalism in international law as well as the manifestations of deformalisation of law-ascertainment. Another important aspect of this research is to investigate the extent to which the theory of the sources of international law can be understood as a set of rules properly so-called. This on-going project already led to the publication of a book as well as a wide series of articles available on Professor d'Aspremont's Social Science Research Network page.
  • View Professor d'Aspremont's SSRN publications