This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Find out more here

CLOSE

Philippa Webb

JSD (Yale); LLM (Yale); BA(Asian Studies)(Hons)/LLB (UNSW)

Talk to a clerk

Clerks' direct contact:
+44 (0)20 7842 1200
Clerks [at] 20essexst [dot] com

Dr Philippa Webb’s practice covers all aspects of public international law, and reflects her expertise in the law of State immunity. She acts for States and private entities in domestic and international courts on a wide range of issues including State and diplomatic immunities, territorial and maritime boundaries, treaty obligations, law of the sea, State responsibility, human rights, humanitarian law, law of international organisations, and international criminal law.

Philippa was ranked as a 'Future Leader' in the 2018 arbitration list by Who's Who Legal.

Philippa has particular expertise in the law of state immunity and advises governments, organisations, corporations and individuals on all aspects of immunity, including immunity from enforcement, diplomatic status, and related concepts such as act of state and non-justiciability. She is the co-author, with Lady Hazel Fox QC, of the leading treatise The Law of State Immunity. Clients have said “She is fantastic - her expertise and knowledge is invaluable” (Chambers & Partners UK 2018).

She is the co-author, with Lady Hazel Fox QC, of the leading treatise The Law of State Immunity. Her work has been cited by the UK Supreme Court, the Court of Appeal of England and Wales, the Supreme Court of Canada and the Supreme Court of Appeal of South Africa. 

Philippa was appointed to the UK Attorney General’s Specialist Public International Law C Panel of Junior Counsel in 2017.

Philippa is a specialist regarding the International Court of Justice, having served as the Legal Officer and Special Assistant to Judge Rosalyn Higgins DBE QC during her presidency (2006-2009). She also worked as legal adviser at the International Criminal Court, at United Nations Headquarters, and at an international law firm in Sydney and Tokyo.

Philippa is currently counsel in two contentious disputes pending before the ICJ concerning maritime boundary delimitation, treaty interpretation, and immunities from jurisdiction and enforcement. She is also counsel for the UK in the advisory proceedings concerning the Legal consequences of the separation of the Chagos Archipelago from Mauritius in 1965. She is counsel before an arbitral tribunal constituted under Annex VII of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea for the Italian Republic in its dispute with India over the "Enrica Lexie" incident. She has been counsel in cases before the European Court of Human Rights and the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea.

Philippa is presently instructed in a number of cases before the English courts involving, including the Court of Appeal and the Privy Council, involving matters of public international law.

Philippa was admitted to the New York Bar in 2006, and called to the Bar of England and Wales in 2016. She has a doctorate and masters in international law from Yale Law School and degrees in Law and Asian Studies from the University of New South Wales, Australia (where she received the University Medal for both degrees).

Philippa is Reader (Associate Professor) at King’s College London. She speaks French and Japanese.

Specialisations: 

  • Public International Law
  • Human Rights
  • International arbitration

Specialisations: 

Public International Law

Philippa advises clients from all over the world on a wide range of international law issues. She has acted as counsel in cases before the ICJ, PCA and ITLOS. During her time at the ICJ, she worked on 14 cases involving the law of the sea, territorial sovereignty, immunities, genocide, the use of force, human rights, diplomatic protection, and environmental matters.

Her expertise is recognized by her appointment to the International Advisory Panel for the American Law Institute’s project Restatement Fourth, Foreign Relations Law of the United States.

Philippa was elected to the Board of the European Society of International Law (2016-2020). She is a member of Public International Law Advisory Panel, British Institute for International and Comparative Law and a Board Member of the Young Public International Law Group.

She is Reader (Associate Professor) of Public International Law at King’s College London and has published 4 books and more than 35 articles and chapters on international law.

Her lecture for the United Nations Audiovisual Library of International Law is available here.

  • Legal consequences of the separation of the Chagos Archipelago from Mauritius in 1965 (Request for an Advisory Opinion) – Counsel to the United Kingdom. Hearings expected in 2018.
  • Maritime Delimitation in the Indian Ocean (Somalia v. Kenya)  - Counsel to the Republic of Kenya. Hearings on preliminary objections to jurisdiction were held in September 2016. Pending before the International Court of Justice.
  • ITLOS Case No. 24 The "Enrica Lexie" Incident (Italy v. India) – Counsel to the Italian Republic. The Tribunal held hearings on provisional measures requested by Italy in August 2015 and issued its order the same month.
  • PCA Case No. 2015-28: The "Enrica Lexie" Incident (Italy v. India) – Counsel to the Italian Republic. The Annex VII Arbitral Tribunal held a hearing to consider Italy’s request for the prescription of provisional measures on 30 and 31 March 2016. The Arbitral Tribunal adopted its order in respect of Italy's request on 29 April 2016.
  • Counsel to a State in a case pending before the ICJ concerning treaty obligations and immunities.
  • Advising a State on a potential Application to the ICJ.
  • Advising the FCO on an international matter (confidential).
  • Advising a corporation on act of state and non-justiciability in a case before the English courts.
  • Advised a corporation on the immunity of state-owned enterprises in a case pending before the Privy Council.
  • Advised an individual on the nature and scope of diplomatic immunity in civil proceedings before the English courts.
  • Advised a state on a territorial boundary dispute and various options for dispute settlement.

 

Human Rights

Philippa acts and advises in relation to a wide range of human rights issues. She also worked on cases involving human rights issues at the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court. She has conducted training on human rights for government officials in the UK and overseas. She is Board Member and Secretary of the Clooney Foundation for Justice.

Her recent experience includes:

  • Counsel in a case before the European Court of Human Rights brought by an entity against Turkey for violations of the European Convention on Human Rights, including the right to property and freedom of thought, conscience and religion
  • The Freedom and Justice Party & Ors, R (On the Application Of) v Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs & Anor [2016] EWHC 2010 (Admin) (05 August 2016)  - instructed for the Court of Appeal proceeding in 2018. The case concerns allegations of torture and the customary international law on special missions immunity.
  • Advised Amnesty International (with Sudhanshu Swaroop QC) on an Amicus Intervention before the Constitutional Court of South Africa in a case concerning the immunity of President al-Bashir of the Sudan.
  • Reyes v Al-Malki [2017] UKSC 61 – Counsel to the intervenor, Kalayaan. The appeal was unanimously allowed, with the Court holding that the former diplomat did not enjoy immunity for the employment and alleged mistreatment of his domestic servant.
  • Ms C Reyes and Ms T Suryadi -v- Mr J Al-Malki and Mrs Al-Malki and Others [2015] EWCA Civ 32 – advised the intervenor, Kalayaan, in this case on the interaction between diplomatic immunity, the State Immunity Act 1978 and European law.
  • Bobby James Moore v Texas, Docket Number 15-797 United States Supreme Court – Death penalty case. I was Amicus on the Brief of International Law and Human Rights Institutes, Societies, Practitioners and Scholars as Amici Curiae in Support of Petitioner’s Application for Certiorari, 2016.
  • Legal advisor to the UN Special Rapporteur on Counter-Terrorism and Human Rights regarding the inquiry into the legality of drones (2013).
  • Legal advisor to a State regarding the International Criminal Court, including forming part of the official delegation to the Kampala Review Conference (2010).
  • Legal advisor to a State regarding its treaty obligations (including reporting to treaty bodies) under the Convention against Torture and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (2010-2015).
  •  

 

Arbitration

Philippa was ranked as a 'Future Leader' in the 2018 arbitration list by Who's Who Legal.

Philippa has experience with inter-state litigation. She is interested in gaining experience in investment treaty arbitrations, under the ICSID and UNCITRAL Rules.

PCA Case No. 2015-28: The "Enrica Lexie" Incident (Italy v. India) – Counsel to the Italian Republic. The Annex VII Arbitral Tribunal held a hearing to consider Italy’s request for the prescription of provisional measures on 30 and 31 March 2016. The Arbitral Tribunal adopted its order in respect of Italy's request on 29 April 2016.

Education and Career: 

Education

Yale Law School, Doctorate (JSD) in Public International Law, 2011

Yale Law School, Masters (LLM) in International Law, 2004

European University Institute, Diploma in International Criminal Law cum laude, 2004

University of New South Wales, Bachelor of Laws (LLB) (University Medal, ranked first in year), 2002

University of New South Wales, Bachelor of Asian Studies (Advanced Japanese Studies)(Hons), (University Medal, ranked first in year), 2000

 

Career

Reader (Associate Professor) in Public International Law, King’s College London, 2011-present

Visiting Professor of International Law, ESADE Law School, Barcelona, 2014-present

Adjunct Professor of Public International Law, Pepperdine University, London Campus, 2014-2015

Visiting Professor of International Law, Université Paris X Nanterre (LLM programme), 2013-2014

Visiting Assistant Professor in International Law, Advanced LLM Programme, Faculty of Law, Leiden University, 2009-2012

Legal adviser (self-employed) on international law, 2009 -2016, including Legal adviser to the UN Special Rapporteur on Counter-Terrorism and Human Rights regarding the inquiry into the legality of drones (2013)

Legal Officer and Special Assistant to President Rosalyn Higgins DBE QC, International Court of Justice, 2006 –2009 

Associate Legal Adviser to the Prosecutor, International Criminal Court, Office of Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo, 2005 –2006 

Judicial Clerk to Judges Higgins and Owada, International Court of Justice, 2004-2005

Special Projects Officer, United Nations Secretariat, Office of Internal Oversight Services, 2001–2003   

Graduate Lawyer (not admitted), Baker & McKenzie, Public International Law Practice Group, Sydney, Australia 1999–2001  

Graduate Lawyer (not admitted), Tokyo Aoyama Law Office, Corporate and Major Projects Group, Tokyo, Japan 2000     

 

Bar admissions

  • Bar of England and Wales (Inner Temple) 2016
  • New York Bar 2006

 

Publications: 

Philippa is on the editorial boards of the British Yearbook of International Law, the Journal of International Criminal Justice, and the Leiden Journal of International Law.

Her publications include the following:

Books

Oppenheim’s International Law: United Nations (OUP 2017, 2 volumes, 1500 pages) (with Dame Rosalyn Higgins DBE QC, Dapo Akande, Sandesh Sivakumaran, James Sloan)

The Law of State Immunity (3rd Revised and Updated Paperback Edition, OUP 2015) (with Lady Hazel Fox CMG QC)

The Law of State Immunity (3rd edn, OUP 2013) (with Lady Hazel Fox CMG QC)

International Judicial Integration and Fragmentation (OUP 2013, Paperback 2016)

The Genocide Convention: The Travaux Préparatoires (Martinus Nijhoff Publishers 2008) (with Hirad Abtahi) two volumes, 2217 pages

 

Articles and Chapters

‘The Immunity of States, Diplomats and International Organizations in Employment Disputes: The New Human Rights Dilemma?’ (2016) 27(3) European Journal of International Law pp 745-767.

 ‘Effective Parliamentary Oversight of Human Rights’ in M Saul, A Føllesdal and G Ulfstein (eds), The International Human Rights Judiciary and National Parliaments (Cambridge University Press, 2016) (with Kirsten Roberts)

‘British Contribution to the Law of State Immunity’ in R McCorquodale and J-P Gauci (eds), British Influences on International Law, 1915-2015 (Brill 2016) pp 145-166.

‘A British Perspective on the War and Military Forces Clause of the Japanese Constitution’ (2015) 2 King’s Law Journal pp 299-311.

Regional Challenges to the Law of State Immunity’ in Mary Footer and Mariano Aznar-Gómez (eds), Select Proceedings of the European Society of International Law (2015,) Chapter 8.

'Institutional Modes of Conflict Management' in J. Norton Moore, F. Tipson, and R. Turner (eds), National Security Law (Carolina Academic Press 2015) (with Dame Rosalyn Higgins DBE, QC and Dan Sarooshi)

Deadlock or Restraint? The Security Council Veto and the Use of Force in Syria’ (2014) Journal of Conflict and Security Law pp 1-18.

Should the 2004 UN Convention on State Immunity be a model/starting point for a convention on the immunities of international organizations?, (2014) International Organizations Law Review

‘Individual Criminal Responsibility’ in Amal Alamuddin, Nidal Nabil Jurdi and David Tolbert (eds), The Special Tribunal for Lebanon: Law and Practice (OUP 2014) Chapter 6

‘International Organisations: Uneasy Analogies’ in Christian Tams, Antonios Tzanakopoulos and Andreas Zimmermann (eds), Research Handbook on the Law of Treaties (Edward Elgar 2013)

‘The Use of Force and the Emerging International Judicial System’ in Andrew Byrnes, Mika Hayashi and Chris Michaelsen (eds), International Law in the New Age of Globalization (Martinus Nijhoff 2013) 121-144

Human Rights and the Immunities of State Officials’ in Erika de Wet and Jure Vidmar (eds), Hierarchy in International Law: The Place of Human Rights (OUP March 2012)

‘Immunities and Human Rights: Dissecting the Dialogue in National and International Courts’ in Andre Nollkaemper and Ole Fauchald (eds), The Practice of International and National Courts and the (De-)Fragmentation of International Law (Hart 2012) Chapter 11

‘Binocular Vision: State Responsibility and Individual Criminal Responsibility for Genocide’ in Carsten Stahn and Larissa van den Herik (eds), The Diversification and Fragmentation of International Criminal Law (Martinus Nijhoff 2012)

Expanding Jurisdiction over War Crimes under Article 8 of the ICC Statute’ (2010) 8 Journal of International Criminal Justice 1219 (with Amal Alamuddin)

Accountability for Torture Abroad and the Limits of the Act of State Doctrine: Comments on Habib v. Commonwealth of Australia (2010) 8 Journal of International Criminal Justice 1153 (with Ben Batros) 

Appointments and Society Memberships: 

  •  UK Attorney General’s Specialist Public International Law C Panel of Junior Counsel (2017-2022)
  • The Honourable Society of the Inner Temple
  • European Society of International Law, Board Member (elected for 2016-2020)
  • American Society of International Law
  • International Law Association (British Branch)
  • Young Public International Law Group, Board Member (2016-present)
  • International Advisory Panel for the American Law Institute’s project Restatement Fourth, Foreign Relations Law of the United States (2014-present)
  • British Institute for International and Comparative Law, appointed to the Public International Law Advisory Panel (2015-present)

Quotes: 

"She is fantastic - her expertise and knowledge is invaluable. Her specialism is state immunity and she is just brilliant in terms of her speed and knowledge." Chambers & Partners UK 2018