Significance of international law in policy-making

05 February 2014

International Politics Building, Aberystwyth University
International Politics Building, Aberystwyth University

Iain Macleod, Legal Advisor to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, will assess the significance of international law in the policy-making process at Aberystwyth University this evening (Thursday 6 February).

Held at the Main Hall in the International Politics Building, the public lecture will outline the views of the Foreign Office’s senior legal adviser on a crucial issue of the day – the role that international law plays in guiding countries’ behaviour, whether it be the powerful and the weak, the rich or the string, the new or the ancient.

As well as assessing the significance of international law in the policy-making process, the talk will also reflect upon the sometimes competing interests of what the State wants and what it may actually do: the value of international law as a force for good and stability in fast-evolving geopolitical circumstances, the role of international law in situations of danger and uncertainty, such as civil war in Syria, threats to the environment, terrorism and forced migration.

Professor John Williams, Head of the Department of Law and Criminology at Aberystwyth University, explains, “Whereas we are aware of the many domestic laws affecting our daily lives, the role of international law is less well understood.  States often resort to international law to justify or excuse their behaviour, or to accuse other states of wrongdoing.

“How important is international law in international relations? Does it really influence the behaviour of states? To what extent does it protect weaker states from the more powerful ones? There are many questions surrounding the role of international law in today’s complex international landscape.

“Iain Macleod as the Legal Adviser to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office is exceptionally well placed to provide an insight into the role of international law in international relations.  This is an essential lecture for anybody who wants to understand more about the way in which the international community works.”

Iain Macleod was admitted as a solicitor in 1987 and has since held positions in a number of Government departments. At the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, he worked at the UK Representation to the EC and at the UK Mission to the UN (he was legal counsellor to the UK’s mission to the United Nations in New York between 2001 and 2004).

Subsequently, he was Deputy Legal Adviser at the Home Office and then Legal Adviser, Central Advisory Division, Treasury Solicitor’s Department, before taking up his present post as Legal Advisor to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Light refreshments will be available from 6.30pm onwards and the lecture will start at 7pm in the Main Hall at the International Politics Building. The event is free and open to the public.

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Contacts

Professor John Williams
Department of Law and Criminology
01970 622735 / jow@aber.ac.uk