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 began my academic career. I went on to become a full professor of law by 1999. I was made an OBE in 2004 for my services to international law. I also went on to qualify 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 have published extensively in international law (broadly construed) and some of my publications have been award-winning and agenda-stetting. In 2019, I was awarded the highest degree – the Doctor of Civil Law (DCL) – a degree awarded rarely and only in exceptional cases, by the University of Oxford 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. In 2020, 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. I also was awarded the degree of Doctor of Laws (LLD), honoris causa, in 2020 by the University of Hull in recognition of my accomplishments in international law and human rights. I am Professor of International Law at the University of Leeds, a visiting faculty member on the international human rights law programme of the University of Oxford, and a practising Barrister at Three Stone Chambers, Lincoln’s Inn, London. I also have taught at five other universities in the UK, USA, and the Netherlands. 

I have published eight 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. Many of the pioneering ideas that were advanced in the first edition of this book in 2008 have been taken up by governments and international organisations in their attempts to reform the investor-State dispute settlement mechanism and strike a balance between different competing principles in developing international investment law. Accordingly, this fourth edition captures the essence of the ongoing multiple reform processes – either planned or envisaged – currently underway. 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.

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. 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 have served as the General or Chief Editor of 6 volumes of the Asian Yearbook of International Law (published by Martinus Nijhoff/Brill in The Hague) between 1999 and 2006. In addition, I served as a founding Executive Editor of the Asian Journal of International Law (published by Cambridge University Press) between 2010 and 2015 and have been the Chairman of its Board of Editors since 2015. A total of 10 volumes (with 20 issues) of this journal have been published thus far.

I have held high level national and international positions with responsibilities for policy formulation and advice. I have advised a number of governments on international legal matters and acted as a counsel and as an expert witness in cases before higher courts in England and before the International Court of Justice. 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 and appointed by the British Government in 2010 as an advisor on human rights to the British Foreign Secretary for five years.

I was elected to the exclusive Nobel Peace Prize winning Institut de Droit International in 2011 and made a Membre Titulaire in 2015. Also, I was invited to serve as an expert member of the Task Force on Investment Policy of the World Economic Forum (known as the Davos Forum). I have been appointed to serve on the Panels of Arbitrators of the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), on the Panels of the Dispute Settlement Body of the WTO and on the Panels of International Investment Arbitrators of China International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission (CIETAC).

I have received high-level state honours from 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.

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.

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, international human rights law, and international watercourses law. I have published eight books and more than 60 scholarly articles in all major areas of international law in most leading international law journals. My recent publications include a book entitled 'The Effectiveness of the UN Human Rights System: Reform and the Judicialisation of Human Rights', which covers the rationale and effectiveness of UN human rights mechanisms and suggests measures to reform them. Another book of mine is entitled 'International Investment Law: Reconciling Policy and Principle'. It deals with the tension between the principles of the law of foreign investment and other competing principles of international law. First published in 2008 by Hart Publishing, Oxford, it is now in its 4th edition. It has been translated into foreign languages, including Chinese and Farsi, and published in several countries. I currently am working on a book on human rights values in Eastern civilisations. 

<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

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>