British Institute of International and Comparative Law
|This article relies on references to primary sources. (April 2010)|
At a conference of worldwide lawyers and legislators in 1895, the Lord Chancellor was elected the first President of the Society of Comparative Legislation, with the object of 'promoting knowledge of the course of legislation in different countries'. The aim was to learn from the diversity of legal roots throughout the world - English, Hindu, and Muslim; French, Roman-Dutch, and Spanish - in which courts such as the Privy Council had to adjudicate.
It is a charity and a membership organization, with a broad membership of academic, judicial, and practising lawyers, together with companies and law firms. Under the Board of Trustees, specialist Advisory Panels oversee the work of the Institute. The Institute is located on the first floor of Charles Clore House, 17 Russell Square, in London, England.
The Institute's first Chairman was Lord Denning, followed by Lord Goff of Chieveley, who was succeeded by Lord Bingham of Cornhill KG. Judge Rosalyn Higgins DBE of the International Court of Justice is the current Chairman and President of the Institute. The Institute's first Director was appointed in 1960. Professor Robert McCorquodale, who joined the Institute in January 2008, is the seventh.
- Professor Robert McCorquodale
President and Chairman of the Institute
- The Rt Hon the Lord Collins of Mapesbury
- The Rt Hon Sir David Edward KCMG Former Judge of the European Court of Justice
- Sir Christopher Greenwood CMG QC
Board of Trustees
- Chairman: Sir Franklin Berman KCMG QC Essex Court Chambers
- Clare Algar Reprieve
- Mr Justice Blair High Court
- Gary B. Born WilmerHale
- Susan Bright Hogan Lovells
- Lord Justice Burnton Court of Appeal
- Ian Hobbs FCA
- Sir Francis Jacobs KCMG QC King's College London
- Sir Paul Jenkins KCB QC Treasury Solicitor
- Professor Rosa Lastra Queen Mary University of London
- Paul Lomas Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP
- Professor Dawn Oliver QC University College London
- Timothy Otty QC Blackstone Chambers
- Keith Ruddock The Weir Group plc
- Professor Malcolm Shaw QC University of Leicester
- Mr Justice Singh High Court
- Professor Stephen Weatherill University of Oxford
Advisors to the Board of Trustees
- The Rt Hon. Lady Justice Arden DBE Royal Courts of Justice
- Martin Paisner CBE Berwin Leighton Paisner
The Institute's international law origins come from the Grotius Society, created precisely because the European war had nullified the work that bodies such as the International Law Association and Institut de Droit International had sought to deliver. Established as a 'British' society, its aims were self-consciously international:
"It is the welfare of the Commonwealth of Nations..., not of any one nation or group of nations that the Society will seek to secure. For International Law, if it is to have any enduring authority, must be based on the fundamental principles of human rights and must give effect to the common welfare of nations."
The following was prepared by Norman S Marsh QC, the Institute's first Director, to celebrate its 40th Anniversary on 17 November 1998. It sets out the history of the Institute prior to its formal incorporation in 1958.
'Strictly speaking, what is being celebrated on 17 November 1998 is the legal incorporation of the British Institute of International and Comparative Law as a company limited by guarantee without share capital under the Companies Act 1948.
Funding granted by the United Kingdom Department for Constitutional Affairs has enabled the Institute to begin research on two new projects:
Evidence Admitted by International Courts and Tribunals.
In addition to these research initiatives, the Institute has consolidated its research into two major programmes:
A European and Comparative Law Programme, building upon current activities in Competition Law, Data Protection, EU Regulation, French Law, Torts and Product liability and implementing a new EU funded project on the Legalization of Documents.
A Public International Law Programme, strengthened by conferences on the WTO, bilateral investment treaties and international humanitarian law, and by an EU-funded project for Democracy and Human Rights in Iran.
The Institute publishes two law journals:
- The International and Comparative Law Quarterly, covering comparative law as well as private and public international law issues on a quarterly basis; and
- The Bulletin of International Legal Developments, providing a fortnightly overview of recent developments in international law- which has been discontinued as of July 2009, but the archive is still available to members via the Institute website.