Santa Clara University


Rosalyn Higgins

higgins Feb. 24, 2011
Mission Church, 7:30 p.m.

Is the United Nations irrelevant? How does terrorism affect international law? What does national sovereignty mean in an age of rogue nations, jihadists, and international corporations? 

Dame Rosalyn Higgins made legal history by becoming the first woman to be elected as a judge of the International Court of Justice. 

This court deals with thorny issues such as: When should the international community intervene in the affairs of sovereign nations for humanitarian reasons? Who decides? Who pays? 

Higgins’ tenure at the United Nation’s highest judicial body will probably be most remembered for the historic ruling on Serbia’s genocide during the Bosnian war. It was the first time that the International Court of Justice had ruled on whether a state was responsible for genocide. 

Prior to becoming a member of the Court, she was professor of international law at the University of London from 1981–95, and earlier held positions at the Royal Institute of International Affairs, the London School of Economics, and the University of Kent. In 1986 she had become Queen’s Counsel followed, three years later, by the position of Bencher of the Inner Temple. 

Judge Higgins has practiced public international law and petroleum law in the English Court and before various international tribunals and held offices in many professional organizations. She has served as honorary vice president of the American Society of International Law and is currently a vice president of the British Institute of International and Comparative Law. 

She received her bachelor’s degree in 1959 from Girton College and a doctorate in 1962 from Yale University. She was also a Harkness Fellow from 1959 to 1961. 

Judge Higgins has published various works and articles on international legal theory, United Nations law, the use of force, state and diplomatic immunities, human rights, and international petroleum law. 

Please join us for a conversation with Rosalyn Higgins about international law. Get ticket information.