Andrew G. Powell

Andrew G. Powell

Profile

I have an LLM in International and European Law, and have just completed an MSc in Law and Finance.

I specialise in international law as it pertains to post-conflict and transitioning states. My professional background is in international humanitarian law, war crimes, terrorism, justice and security sector reform, and the revision of constitutional frameworks in crisis-afflicted territories, in accordance with contemporary international standards.

I began my international law career in the 1990s serving within the Office of the Prosecutor of the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (‘ICTY’). Since 2001, I have been a Deployable Civilian Expert within the Stabilisation Unit ('SU'); a specialist operational unit that is jointly owned by the UK’s Foreign & Commonwealth Office, the Ministry of Defence and the Department for International Development.

The SU maintains a cadre of thematic experts that can be deployed as part of an HMG rapid-response capability, to collaborate with international counterparts and ad hoc security structures, in theatre, in order to stabilise conflict or crisis afflicted territories, or countries facing sudden and significant regime change. Serving as one of these deployable experts, I have spent a succession of years seconded as a legal adviser to operational missions of the United Nations, the European Union and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

Latterly, I have returned to the UK to undertake doctoral research that examines the extent to which model legislative codes could shape constitutional reforms in post-conflict territories in order to give foreign direct investors some fundamental legal safeguards when considering the risks associated with investing in post-conflict and transitioning territories.

Research interests

Both the World Bank and the Department for International Development have published reports in which the perceived unreliability of justice and law enforcement mechanisms, and weak regulatory safeguards, are cited as amongst the foremost reasons why foreign investors are reluctant to invest in post-conflict and transitioning states.

Through the course of my work since 2003, I have become familiarised with the post-conflict Stabilisation process and the evolution of requisite legal elements as a typical pattern of stages unfolds; from the de-mobilisation of warring factions, the negotiation of peace accords, power sharing agreements, the creation of rudimentary parliamentary/assembly structures, more detailed drafting of constitutional frameworks, and the legislation that creates justice and security structures, ministries and associated public offices. Cognisant of the need to counter corruption and advance public-sector transparency, it is essential that the evolving legislative frameworks in post-conflict and transitioning states incorporate effective mechanisms of oversight and accountability, and safeguard the rights of citizens.

An inevitable consequence of these needs is that the existing caucus of legal expertise in the stabilisation process necessarily focuses on criminal justice, security, human rights, rule of law and contemporary ideals of democratisation. The Stabilization industry, and the wider international community that supports it, has consequently grown with a predominantly public-sector perspective; one that speaks with its own lexicon and prioritises initiatives politically, overwhelmingly from a security perspective.

However, for a new economy to flourish and become self-sustaining, the kinds of legal safeguards that are required to attract foreign investment concern other priorities: Legal certainty concerning ownership of real property and assets, effective institutional capacities and safeguards to enable commercial disputes to be impartially adjudicated, contracts to be effectively enforced, and offer institutional capacities that can deliver effective remedies to ensure that civil liabilities and debts will be repaid.

The aim of my research is therefore to examine the extent that model legislative codes could provide tools to the drafters of new constitutional frameworks of post-conflict territories which could create conditions fertile to protecting private property and investment interests as early as possible. The problem at present is that regulatory safeguards for commercial interests tend to be incorporated only after the bulk of the constitutional and institutional frameworks have already been created, somewhat as a afterthought. This approach can contribute to the superficial implementation of regulation, which lacks cohesion in practice within the context of existing institutional capacities. Such inconsistencies can open possibilities for corruption and may pose risks viz-a-viz the exploitation of the local workforce.

In the course of my research, I hope to be able to bridge the cultural divide that exists between the public-sector’s priorities, and the private sector’s regulatory needs, to examine where and how possibilities may exist for new legal mechanisms to be introduced earlier into the stabilisation process which could contribute to the amelioration of risk to foreign direct investors, notwithstanding the inevitable context of the political instability, corruption, and ethnic or other divisions that customarily complicate post-conflict environments.

Qualifications

  • MSc Law & Finance
  • LLM International & European Law
  • LLB (Hons) Law