Professor Surya P. Subedi, QC, OBE, DCL & DPhil (Oxford), Barrister

Professor Surya P. Subedi, QC, OBE, DCL & DPhil (Oxford), Barrister


I obtained a DPhil (PhD) in Law with a prize at the University of Oxford in 1993 and was awarded a DCL also by Oxford in 2019. I began my academic career in 1993 at the University of Hull and become a full professor of law in 1999. I joined the University of Leeds in 2004 as its first Professor of International Law. I also have taught at five other universities in the UK, USA, and the Netherlands. 

I qualified as a barrister in England in 2007 and was made a QC – Queen’s Counsel (Hon) - in 2017 in recognition of my contribution to the development of international law and to the advancement of human rights. I am a member of Three Stone Chambers, Lincoln’s Inn, London. I have advised governments in different countries on international legal matters and acted as a counsel in several cases before the international courts and tribunals, including the International Court of Justice and the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID).

I have held high level national and international positions with responsibilities for policy formulation and advice. I was elected by the UN Human Rights Council in 2009 to serve as the UN’s Special Rapporteur for human rights in Cambodia for six years. I was nominated as UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in recognition of my contribution to human rights. I also served as a member of the Advisory Group on Human Rights to the British Foreign Secretary between 2010 and 2015. I was appointed Legal Procedural Advisor to the World Conservation Congress of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in 2021 and as a member of the Task Force on Investment Policy of the World Economic Forum (known as the Davos Forum) in Switzerland in 2015.

I have authored ten books and more than 60 scholarly articles in all major areas of international law in leading international law journals. My expertise ranges from international investment law to international human rights law, the law of the sea, WTO law, and international environmental law. I am the author of a major book entitled ‘International Investment Law: Reconciling Policy and Principle’ published by Hart Publishing, Oxford. First published in 2008, it is now in its 4th edition. It has been translated into foreign languages, including Chinese and Farsi, and published in several countries.

Another book of mine is entitled ‘The Effectiveness of the UN Human Rights System’ (published by Routledge, New York/London, 2017), which creates a modern vision of the United Nations that could function better in a multipolar world to help secure a better mode of living for more people around the world.

My new book on ‘Human Rights in Eastern Civilizations’ (Edward Elgar, 2021) examines the values of Eastern civilisations and their contribution to the development of the UN Human Rights agenda and demonstrates how cross-fertilisation of values between the Eastern and Western civilisations has taken place and how the notion of the universality of human rights has been enriched by the values of different civilisations.

Another new book of mine entitled ‘Unilateral Sanctions in International Law’ (Hart Publishing, Oxford, 2021) explores whether there are any rules in international law applicable to unilateral sanctions and if so, what these rules are. It examines the status of unilateral sanctions in international law and the impact of such sanctions on human rights and other rules of international law.

I am the editor of a Routledge series of books on ‘Human Rights and International Law” and have edited 12 volumes that have been published in this series since 2014. They analyse a wide range of international human rights issues and offer policy recommendations that can make a difference to the real life of the people across the globe. 

I also am the Chairman of the Board of Editors of the Asian Journal of International Law, which is published by Cambridge University Press.

I was elected to the exclusive Nobel Peace Prize winning Institut de Droit International in 2011 and made a Membre Titulaire in 2015.

I have received high-level state honours from the monarchs of the UK and Nepal for my services to international law. I was made an OBE by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth of the UK in 2004 and decorated with Suprabal Gorkhadaxinbahu by His late Majesty King Birendra of Nepal in 1998.

I was awarded the highest degree – the Doctor of Civil Law (DCL) – by the University of Oxford in 2019 in recognition of my contribution to international law and human rights. The judges of the award panel at Oxford described me as “a scholar of uncommon breadth of knowledge and depth of thinking” in international law when deciding to award me the DCL. 

Two new law prizes named after my name – one for the best attainment in Human Rights Law and another one for the best doctoral thesis (DPhil) of the year in Law – were established at the University of Oxford in 2020.

In 2020, I also was awarded the degree of Doctor of Laws (LLD), honoris causa, by the University of Hull in recognition of my accomplishments in international law and human rights.

In addition to the DCL and DPhil from Oxford, I hold an LLM with Distinction from the University of Hull, and an MA and an LLB from Tribhuvan University. I was awarded the Dasturzada Pavry Memorial Prize for an outstanding DPhil thesis of the year in Social Sciences, Modern History, and Law by the University of Oxford in 1993, the Josephine Onoh Memorial Prize for best LLM student by the University of Hull in 1988 and an SPTL Prize for Outstanding Legal Scholarship by Younger Scholars by the British Society of Legal Scholars in 1998. I was recipient of a British Council Scholarship to study for an LLM at Hull University and a British Foreign & Commonwealth Office Scholarship to study for a DPhil at Oxford University.

The flagship magazine of the Bar Council of England, ‘Counsel’, published my profile as a legal personality in its April 2021 issue with the title ‘The International Human Rights Jurist – Surya Subedi QC’ authored by Barrister Adams Habteslasie.

I maintain an active research interest in all major areas of international law.

I currently teach Global Governance through Law, Public International Law, International Investment Law, and WTO Law.

UN Human Rights Council

World Trade Organisation

Institut de Droit International

World Economic Forum (Davos)

Three Stone Chambers

International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID)

Research interests

I have covered all major areas of public international law in my research and publications. My research interests range from international investment law to WTO law, the law of the sea, land and maritime boundary disputes in international law, international human rights law, and international watercourses law. I have authored ten books and more than 60 scholarly articles in all major areas of international law in most leading international law journals. 

<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • LLB, MA (Tribhuvan University)
  • LLM with Distinction (University of Hull)
  • DCL & DPhil with a Prize (Oxford University)
  • Barrister (Middle Temple)
  • QC (Hon), 2017

Professional memberships

  • Member, London Court of International Arbitration
  • Member, The Bar Council of England and Wales
  • Member, The Honourable Society of Middle Temple
  • Member, Institut de Droit International
  • Chair, Editorial Board, Asian Journal of International Law (published by Cambridge University Press)

Student education

I currently teach Global Governance through Law, Public International Law, WTO Law, and International Investment Law.

Research groups and institutes

  • Centre for Business Law and Practice

Current postgraduate researchers

<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>The school welcomes enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>