Hilary Charlesworth elected to International Court of Justice
On 5 November 2021 Australian lawyer, Ms Hilary Charlesworth was elected as a Member of the International Court of Justice in The Hague.
As a court of “The World”, the International Court of Justice deals with:
(a) disputes between States submitted by those States; and
(b) requests for advisory opinions on legal questions properly referred to it.
The appointment of Her Excellency Judge Charlesworth as a Member of the International Court of Justice is a prestigious acknowledgement of accomplishment in the learning and application of the law.
The election of Her Excellency Judge Charlesworth had immediate effect and Her Excellency will remain in the position until 5 February 2024, at which time Her Excellency shall become eligible for election for a further nine-year term.
Her Excellency succeeds the late Judge Richard Crawford, who passed away on 31 May 2021.
Her Excellency Judge Charlesworth is a Distinguished Professor at the Australian National University, also holding the Harrison Moore Chair in Law and the position of Laureate Professor at the University of Melbourne. Her Excellency holds a Bachelor of Laws with Honours from the University of Melbourne and a Doctor of Juridical Science awarded by Harvard University.
In a career that spans over four decades, Her Excellency has become a world-leading authority in the field of international law, and has lectured at prominent universities in Australia, America, Europe and The Hague (at The Academy of International Law). While all epochs have their challenges, most would agree that the last forty years have raised particularly significant and perplexing issues in the field of international law. Her Excellency has established a reputation as a leading lawyer in dealing with those difficult issues.
Her Excellency’s catalogue of published work is vast and influential. Her research and publications are multi-faceted, considering the structure of international law, human rights, humanitarian considerations in law-making, international legal theory, and peacebuilding. Her Excellency’s work has involved a particular focus on female involvement in international law and the role of women in peacebuilding efforts during conflict.
In Australia Her Excellency was a part time Commissioner of the Australian Law Reform Commission from 1993 – 1994. Her Excellency was then a Hearing Commissioner for the Australian Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission until 1999.
Her Excellency was instrumental in advocating for, and in designing, Australia’s first bill of rights, the Human Rights Act 2004 (ACT) - with Queensland becoming the second state to introduce its own Human Rights Act in 2019.
Her Excellency’s appointment to the International Court of Justice follows two previous ad hoc appointments to that Court, where Her Excellency presided over the Whaling in the Arctic (Australia v Japan) Case from 2011 – 2014 and the ongoing Arbitral Award of 3 October 1899 (Guyana v Venezuela) Case, which commenced in 2019.
As a member of such an important and prestigious court of law, applying to the extensive and diverse international community across a “world” of cases brought before it, Her Excellency Judge Charlesworth becomes a touchstone for legal knowledge and discourse throughout Australia, representing an example for all lawyers, particularly young lawyers across the country.
The questions faced by the International Court are unique in both their complexity and their wide-ranging impact. Her Excellency’s extensive experience in the law well places Her Excellency to deal with the expansive range of complex issues likely to be presented before the International Court of Justice in the future.
Continuing what has already been an extraordinary career, Her Excellency Judge Charlesworth is congratulated on both Her Excellency’s contribution to the law to date and Her Excellency’s appointment to the International Court of Justice.
Her Excellency’s continued contribution to the development of International Law is to be welcomed by all lawyers, and is specifically welcomed by the Bar Association of Queensland.