Academic Freedom in New Haven and Singapore

Academic Freedom in New Haven and Singapore

On April 5, Yale faculty will vote on a resolution challenging the Yale-NUS College, the liberal arts programme that will admit its first students in August 2013. The resolution reflects three distinct concerns about the joint venture. The first is an internal matter to Yale and relates to the decision not to seek a formal vote […] more…
Singapore and the Rule of Law

Singapore and the Rule of Law

The rule of law is like oxygen: easily taken for granted, but quickly noticed when it is absent. If you have it, the rule of law makes organised society possible. If you lack the rule of law, it is a recipe for disorder and corruption. An extreme example of the absence of the rule of […] more…
Books, articles, career advice and more

Books, articles, career advice and more

Simon Chesterman is David Marshall Professor and Vice Provost at the National University of Singapore, where is he also Dean of NUS College. From 2012–2022, he was Dean of the Faculty of Law. This site has information about his books and articles, courses that he teaches, and career advice. more…
Lawyers, Guns, and Money: The Governance of Business Activities in Conflict Zones

Lawyers, Guns, and Money: The Governance of Business Activities in Conflict Zones

[Chicago Journal of International Law] This paper argues that the norms governing businesses in conflict zones are both understudied and undervalued. Understudied because the focus is generally on human rights of universal application, rather than the narrower regime of international humanitarian law (IHL). Undervalued because IHL may provide a more certain foundation for real norms […] more…
One Nation Under Surveillance

One Nation Under Surveillance

[OUP] What limits, if any, should be placed on a government’s efforts to spy on its citizens in the name of national security? Spying on foreigners has long been regarded as an unseemly but necessary enterprise. Spying on one’s own citizens in a democracy, by contrast, has historically been subject to various forms of legal […] more…
A Little Less Privacy, a Bit More Security

A Little Less Privacy, a Bit More Security

The European Union has announced that it will overhaul its data protection rules in 2011. Later this month, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and Commerce Department will release their own reports on online privacy. Meanwhile, as part of the much-hyped efforts to prepare for “cyberwar,” the U.S. National Security Agency is strengthening ties with organizations […] more…
Private Security, Public Order: The Outsourcing of Public Services and Its Limits

Private Security, Public Order: The Outsourcing of Public Services and Its Limits

Private actors are increasingly taking on roles traditionally arrogated to the state. Both in the industrialized North and the developing South, functions essential to external and internal security and to the satisfaction of basic human needs are routinely contracted out to non-state agents. In the area of privatization of security functions, attention by academics and […] more…
Does ASEAN Exist? The Association of Southeast Asian Nations as an International Legal Person

Does ASEAN Exist? The Association of Southeast Asian Nations as an International Legal Person

[Singapore Year Book of International Law] The ASEAN Charter, which entered into force on 15 December 2008, asserts in Article 3 that ASEAN “as an inter-governmental organisation, is hereby conferred legal personality”. This essay examines the legal status of the Association, as well as the political question of whether the whole is greater than (or […] more…
Globalization Rules: Accountability, Power, and the Prospects for Global Administrative Law

Globalization Rules: Accountability, Power, and the Prospects for Global Administrative Law

[Global Governance] From urban protesters against the World Trade Organization to African nations barred from importing generic HIV drugs, globalization is seen as either capitalism red in tooth and claw or a new and more efficient form of colonialism. But a body of rules is emerging that may both constrain and improve the decisions of […] more…
Law and Practice of the United Nations

Law and Practice of the United Nations

A unique new course book demonstrating the interaction of law and politics in United Nations practice. Law and Practice of the United Nations: Documents and Commentary presents primary materials with expert commentary, demonstrating the interaction between law and practice in the UN organization, and also discusses the possibilities and limitations of multilateral institutions in general. […] more…
From Mercenaries to Market

From Mercenaries to Market

Frequently characterized as either mercenaries in modern guise or the market’s response to a security vacuum, private military companies are commercial firms offering military services ranging from combat and military training and advice to logistical support. They play an increasingly important role in armed conflicts, UN peace operations, and providing security in unstable states. Executive […] more…
Secretary or General?

Secretary or General?

The Secretary-General of the United Nations is a unique figure in world politics. At once civil servant and the world’s diplomat, lackey of the UN Security Council and commander-in-chief of up to a hundred thousand peacekeepers, he or she depends on states for both the legitimacy and resources that enable the United Nations to function. […] more…
After Mass Crime

After Mass Crime

International interventions in the aftermath of mass violence tend to focus on justice and reconciliation processes, elections and institution-building. The frame of reference is at the level of the state, although the experience of mass crime by a population is also at the level of the community and individuals. Insufficient attention has been paid to […] more…
Shared Secrets

Shared Secrets

Is collective security possible when the evaluation of and response to threats depend on access to intelligence that cannot be shared openly? Shared Secrets: Intelligence and Collective Security examines the role national intelligence does and could play in addressing threats to international peace and security, with particular reference to the contemporary threats of terrorism and […] more…
Making States Work

Making States Work

In the wealth of literature on state failure, surprisingly little attention has been paid to the question of what constitutes state success and what enables a state to succeed. This book – a joint project of the International Peace Academy and the United Nations University – examines the strategies and tactics of international actors, local […] more…
You, The People: The United Nations, Transitional Administration, and State-Building

You, The People: The United Nations, Transitional Administration, and State-Building

Transitional administrations represent the most complex operations attempted by the United Nations. The missions in Kosovo (1999-) and East Timor (1999-2002) are commonly seen as unique in the history of the United Nations. But they may also be seen as the latest in a series of operations that have involved the United Nations in ‘state-building’ […] more…
Are Sanctions Meant to Work?

Are Sanctions Meant to Work?

[Global Governance] Do sanctions work? The jury remains out on this question, but two preliminary issues bear further examination also. What are sanctions intended to achieve? And do states actually want sanctions to work? These essentially political questions depend on two discrete dynamics that are the subject of this article, which focuses on sanctions imposed […] more…
Just War or Just Peace?

Just War or Just Peace?

The question of the legality of humanitarian intervention is, at first blush, a simple one. The Charter of the United Nations clearly prohibits the use of force, with the only exceptions being self-defence and enforcement actions authorized by the Security Council. There are, however, long-standing arguments that a right of unilateral intervention pre-existed the Charter. […] more…
Civilians in War

Civilians in War

In World War I, only 5 percent of all casualties were civilian; in World War II, that number was 50 percent; and in conflicts in the 1990s, civilians accounted for up to 90 percent of those killed. Clearly, the 1949 Geneva Convention on the Protection of Civilians, while recognizing the changing face of war, has […] more…
Last Rights: Euthanasia, the Sanctity of Life, and the Law in the Netherlands and the Northern Territory of Australia

Last Rights: Euthanasia, the Sanctity of Life, and the Law in the Netherlands and the Northern Territory of Australia

[International and Comparative Law Quarterly] This article considers the legal status of end of life decisions at the close of the twentieth century. In particular, I consider the two major arguments against legalising active voluntary euthanasia: the ‘sanctity of life’ argument that intentionally killing an individual as part of his or her medical care is […] more…
Studying Law at University

Studying Law at University

Do you want to do well in Law from day one? Law is a challenging and competitive subject to study at university. You need to become familiar with its peculiar language and complicated practices as quickly as possible if you want to do well. Drawing on the experiences of hundreds of students, Studying Law at […] more…
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