National sovereignty and international law: myths and misconceptions

The EU FlagThe new head of the Law School at the University of Lincoln will tackle some of the myths and misconceptions about how nations can retain their sovereignty while being subject to the international rule of law.

Professor Duncan French will give his inaugural lecture in the Lincoln Academy series – the University’s long-running programme of free cultural events – on Tuesday 2nd October 2012.

He is recognised internationally as a leading academic expert on international law, particularly agreements governing the environment, sustainable development and world trade. He has also published extensively on international dispute settlement.

He was appointed Head of Law at the University of Lincoln earlier this year, arriving from the University of Sheffield, where he was Professor of International Law and Deputy Head of Law.

In spring he was invited to offer his expertise at a special meeting of diplomats held at the United Nations’ Headquarters in New York, speaking to delegates from more than 100 countries as they prepared for a landmark UN Conference on Sustainable Development.

Professor French said: “Arguments about how the sovereignty of nation states can be reconciled with the international rule of law often lead to polarised opinions. The reality is more complex than much of the rhetoric we see in the press and hear from politicians.
“In this talk, I will explain why it is too simplistic to ask: ‘Which should take precedence?’. I will describe how the overarching principle of the international rule of law should be viewed as a necessary ideal which enables sovereign nation states to interact smoothly and safely, based on shared principles, but where the wishes of those individual states remain dominant.”

The Lincoln Academy event ‘Governing the Free Consent of States: The Supremacy of the International Rule of Law’ by Professor Duncan French, takes place on Tuesday 2nd October in the EMMTEC on the University’s main Brayford Pool Campus, starting at 6pm.

Events in the Lincoln Academy series are free to attend but audience members should register in advance by contacting the University Events Office on 01522 837100 or Alternatively, register online at:

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