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The Individual in International Law: 'Object' versus 'Subject'

Professorial Lecture to be delivered on 1st May 2019 at Liverpool Hope University in Room EDEN014 at 2pm

Professor Solomon E. Salako
Professorial Fellow, School of Law and Archbishop Desmond Tutu Centre for War and Peace Studies, Liverpool Hope University


There is uncertainty about the status of the individual in international law.  The traditional positivist doctrine of international law is that States are the sole subjects of international law and that the individual is the object.  The contemporary approach is that the individual is an original subject of international law and the owner of international individual rights.  This approach relies for its justification on areas of international law such as investment protection treaties, intellectual property treaties, international human rights law, individual criminal liability in international law, Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties and Vienna Convention on Consular Rights where the individual has been brought into contact with international law.
The objects of this lecture are: (i) to show that a critical analysis of the various areas where the individual has been brought into contact with international law does not provide sufficient evidence to support the conclusion that the individual is a full subject of international law; and (ii) to show that insofar as the individual possesses a limited locus standi in international law and a limited array of rights, that is, limited legal capacity, the proffered existence of an international legal personality of the individual is not only superfluous but also confuses international legal personality which involves the capacity to perform legal acts in the international sphere with legal personality in municipal law.



Useful information

1 May 2019 

2pm -4 pm (catering provided)  

Hope Park
Liverpool Hope University
Taggart Avenue
Hope Park
L16 9JD