Bishop & Sewell

Perhaps it was to be expected but I seem to have been overlooked again for nomination to the International Law Commission. Disappointing. That said, the Nigerian born Dapo Akande, a Professor of Public International Law at the University of Oxford has been around a bit, so perhaps the best man won.

Unusually – and this is why the story really caught my attention – the Nigeria-born Professor Akande will see his bid co-nominated by the Governments of Nigeria and the UK, making him the first ever candidate to be nominated by both countries.

Why is this significant? Well as Britain seeks to elevate its global status without the EU’s economic comfort blanket I predict there’ll be numerous announcements like this in the weeks and months to come. Not only does the UK hold the G7 Presidency this year (it’s our turn), but Boris Johnson is also hosting the Cop26 talks in Glasgow in November when all eyes will be on the UK to accelerate the pace of achieving the UN’s global commitments on climate change.

So back to the International Law Commission.

The International Law Commission is a body of experts responsible for helping develop and codify international law, based in Geneva. It is composed of 34 individuals recognised for their expertise and qualifications in international law, who are elected by the 193 members of the United Nations General Assembly, every five years. The term of current 34 members will expire at the end of 2022, and the new members will begin a five-year term on 1 January 2023. There are 8 seats available for those from Western European and Other Group (WEOG).

Professor Dapo Akande is the UK and Nigeria’s candidate for the International Law Commission for the term 2023-2027, throughout which he will hold talks on topical legal subjects.

He has a pretty impressive CV, according to the Government’s website: “Professor Akande is a world-renowned expert in Public International Law, as both an academic and independent practitioner who has more than 25 years of legal experience. Raised in Ibadan, Oyo State, he qualified as a lawyer from the Nigerian Law School, and received his LLB at Obafemi Awolowo University.

“He is currently Professor of Public International Law at the Blavatnik School of Government at the University of Oxford. Professor Akande began his legal career as a Research Assistant to Judge Bola Ajibola, KBE SAN, and he is an Editorial Board Member for the Nigerian Yearbook of International Law.

“As Counsel or Adviser, Professor Akande has worked on international litigation before the International Court of Justice, International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, World Trade Organisation, International Criminal Court, European Court of Human Rights and served as a consultant to the United Nations, the African Union, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the International Criminal Court and the Commonwealth Secretariat.

“During his career, he also provided training to the Federal Director of Public Prosecution and the Nigerian Army on strengthening justice and accountability in Nigeria and capacity building for prosecutors to address the most serious and complex crimes under Nigerian criminal law.”

An inspired nomination? Most certainly.

Helpful politically? I couldn’t possibly comment.

David Little is a Partner in our Corporate & Commercial team. Should you require any further advice or assistance, please contact us at

The above is accurate as at 19 March 2021. The information above may be subject to change during these ever-changing times.

The content of this note should not be considered legal advice and each matter should be considered on a case by case basis.

Category: Blog | Date: 19th Mar 2021

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