Professional practice

C&P Ranked In 2024

Dapo Akande is the Chichele Professor of Public International Law at the University of Oxford, Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford, and a member of the United Nations International Law Commission. He acts as counsel, adviser, consultant or expert on international law for states, international organizations, non-governmental organizations, corporations and individuals.

He has acted in disputes before a wide range of international tribunals. Notable cases as counsel include:

  • at the International Court of Justice, the Legal Consequences arising from the Policies and Practices of Israel in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem (for Japan), the Chagos Advisory Opinion (for Zambia), the Armed Activities Case (DRC v Uganda, for Uganda); Land and Maritime Delimitation and Sovereignty over Islands (Gabon/Equatorial Guinea, for Equatorial Guinea) and the Genocide Convention Case (Gambia v Myanmar, for the UK as intervenor);
  • in the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights – Hanan v Germany (for the applicant)
  • the first inter-state case at the African Court of Human and Peoples’ Rights, DRC v Rwanda (for Rwanda)
  • at the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, the San Padre Pio case (for Nigeria)

He has acted as expert and adviser in disputes before international arbitral tribunals in mixed disputes, World Trade Organization and North American Free Trade Area Dispute Settlement panels. He has also acted as adviser or expert in cases in national courts in the UK (including the Supreme Court), the US and Australia. In 2019 he was appointed as international law expert for the Public Inquiry into Operation Burnham (established by New Zealand Government) which  dealt with the conduct of New Zealand Defence Forces in military operations in Afghanistan.

In addition to his work in disputes, Dapo is regularly instructed to provide advice on questions of international law to governments and international organizations (including United Nations bodies, the African Union Commission, the Commonwealth Secretariat and ASEAN.) He is or has recently been a member of the

  • the Secretary of State’s Advisory Committee on International Law (United States Department of State)
  • the UK Ministry of Defence AI Ethics Advisory Panel;
  • the Ukrainian Presidential Working Group on compensation for damage caused to Ukraine as a result of the armed aggression by the Russian Federation;
  • the ICRC’s Global Advisory Board on Digital Threats During Conflict.
  • UK Parliament’s All Party Parliamentary Group on Drone’s inquiry into the Use of Armed Drones (Legal Adviser to the Inquiry 2017/18)
  • the World Economic Forum’s Global Future Council on Human Rights (2016-18)

Dapo is one of the authors of Oppenheim’s International Law: The United Nations (2017, OUP), which was awarded the 2019 Certificate of Merit by the American Society of International Law. He is one of the editors of the Oxford Guide to International Humanitarian Law (2020, OUP); of Human Rights and 21st Century Challenges: Poverty, Conflict and the Environment (2020, OUP), and of Practitioners Guide to the Application of Human Rights Law in Armed Conflict (2016, OUP). He was a member of the International Advisory Panel for the American Law Institute’s project on the Restatement Fourth, The Foreign Relations Law of the United States (2018).

Dapo is frequently asked to speak to the media on issues of international law and has been invited to address several international bodies including the UN Security Council, the UN Human Rights Council, and the Committee of Legal Advisers on Public International Law (CAHDI) of the Council of Europe.

 

 

What Others Say

Chambers & Partners 2024, Public International Law

“A thought leader.”

“Dapo Akande is extremely knowledgeable and at the forefront of cutting-edge PIL work.”

Chambers & Partners 2022, Public International Law

“He has that perfect academic talent of explaining complicated issues in simple terms.”

Arbitration & related court applications
  • Enron Nigeria Power Holding Ltd (Cayman Islands) v Lagos State Government Nigeria; Power Holding Company of Nigerian & Federal Republic of Nigeria Case No. 14 417/EBS/VRO International Chamber of Commerce Arbitration in London: Expert, instructed by claimaints (2007)
  • Sandline v. Papua New Guinea Assistant to Professor Sir Elihu Lauterpacht CBE, KC, Counsel for the Sandline (1998).
Human rights & civil liberties
  • Counsel and advocate for the applicant in proceedings before the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights in Hanan v. Germany (Application No. 4871/16), a case dealing with the extraterritorial application of the Convention and its application in armed conflict (2019-20)
  • Adviser to applicants in a case before the European Court of Human Rights in Sydorenko v Ukraine and Russia (Application No. 60373/14); Obukhivskyy v Ukraine and Russia (Application No. 60400/14) ; Vakhovskyi v Ukraine and Russia (Application No. 71842/14), case dealing with the relationship between human rights law and international humanitarian law (2016)
  • International Law expert for Defence Counsel advising on termination of proceedings and exclusion of evidence where defendant is subject to torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment – The Prosecutor v. Al Hassan Ag Abdoul Aziz Ag Mohamed Ag Mahmoud (2020-date)
  • Adviser to Crown Prosecution Service in universal jurisdiction proceedings for torture, R v. Agnes Taylor, Crown Court, England (2018)
  • Adviser to Counsel team representing the UK Foreign Office in leading case about the application of the foreign act of state doctrine with respect to human rights claims – Belhaj v Straw, United Kingdom Supreme Court,  (2015)
  • Advised Counsel for General Pinochet (Clive Nicholls KC, James Cameron and others) on Head of State Immunity Issues with regard to extradition and prosecution for torture v. Evans, Metropolitan Stipendiary Magistrate & others ex parte Augusto Pinochet Ugarte (England: House of Lords, 1999).
  • Advised Government of Botswana on drafting of legislation to implement obligations under the Statute of the International Criminal Court (2010-2013)
  • He has provided Opinions on human rights and international criminal law issues to non-governmental organizations and international bodies.
  • He has sat on the advisory board of several international human rights organizations or initiatives, including:
  • Member, Africa Group for Justice and Accountability, 2016 – date
  • Member, World Economic Forum, Global Council on the Future of Human Rights, 2016-2018
  • Member, Advisory Board, Benjamin Ferencz International Justice Initiative, United States National Holocaust Museum, 2016-date
  • Member, Legal Advisory Board Protect Education in Insecurity (formerly Education Above All), 2010-13
  • Member, Advisory Board, International Centre for Transitional Justice, 2011-date
  • Member, Advisory Committee on Ratification and Implementation of the Statute of the International Criminal Court, International Bar Association, Human Rights Institute, 2006 – 2009
  • Member, Advisory Committee, Project on State Immunity and Accountability for Torture, Redress Trust (NGO that helps torture survivors, 2004-2005

He has provided training on human rights and international law (including international criminal law and international humanitarian law) to government officials and military personnel of various states.

Public international law

International Court of Justice – Counsel and Advocate

  • Legal Consequences arising from the Policies and Practices of Israel in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, Counsel and Advocate for Japan, 2023-24
  • Application of the Genocide Convention (Gambia v Myanmar), Counsel for the United Kingdom as intervenors 2022-
  • Land and Maritime Delimitation and Sovereignty over Islands (Gabon/Equatorial Guinea), Counsel for Equatorial Guinea, 2021-
  • Armed Activities Case (Democratic Republic of Congo v. Uganda) Reparations Phase, Counsel and Advocate for Uganda, 2018-
  • Chagos Islands Advisory Opinion, Counsel and Advocate for Zambia, 2018

International Court of Justice – Assistant/Adviser to Counsel

  • Legality of the Use of Force case (Yugoslavia v. Belgium) ~ Assisted Mr. Daniel Bethlehem, Counsel for Belgium (2004)
  • Kasikili/Sedudu Island case (Botswana/Namibia) ~ Assisted Professor Sir Elihu Lauterpacht CBE, KC, Counsel for Namibia (1998)
  • Maritime Delimitation and Territorial Questions between Qatar and Bahrain ~ Assisted Professor Sir Elihu Lauterpacht CBE, KC, Counsel for Bahrain (1997-8)
  • Gabcíkovo‑Nagymaros Dam Project Case (Hungary/Slovakia) Assisted Professor Rosalyn Higgins KC, Counsel for Slovakia (1995)
  • Advisory Opinion on the Legality of the Threat or Use of Nuclear Weapons. Assisted Mr Daniel Bethlehem, Counsel for the United Kingdom (1995)
  • The East Timor Case (Portugal v. Australia). Assisted Professor Higgins KC, Counsel for Portugal, with the preparation of oral pleadings (1994)
  • Case concerning the Land and Maritime Boundary between Cameroon and Nigeria (Cameroon v. Nigeria). Provided research assistance to D.J. Freemans, the London firm of Solicitors representing Nigeria. (1994)

The International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea

  • The M/T “San Padre Pio” Case (Switzerland v. Nigeria) No. 2, Counsel and Advocate for Nigeria (2019-date)
  • The M/T “San Padre Pio” Case (Switzerland v. Nigeria), (2019), Provisional Measures, Counsel and Advocate for Nigeria
  • The M/V Saiga (No. 2) Case (St. Vincent and the Grenadines v. Guinea) Assistant/Adviser to Dr. Richard Plender KC LLD, Counsel for St. Vincent and the Grenadines. (1998-99)

International Criminal Court

  • The Prosecutor v. Al Hassan Ag Abdoul Aziz Ag Mohamed Ag Mahmoud (international law expert for Defence Counsel) (2020-date)
  • Instructed to provide confidential advice the Office of the Prosecutor on possible international law arguments (2019)

Arbitral Tribunals

  • Enron Nigeria Power Holding Ltd (Cayman Islands) v Lagos State Government Nigeria; Power Holding Company of Nigerian & Federal Republic of Nigeria Case No. 14 417/EBS/VRO International Chamber of Commerce Arbitration in London: Expert, instructed by claimaints (2007)
  • Sandline v. Papua New Guinea Assistant to Professor Sir Elihu Lauterpacht CBE, KC, Counsel for the Sandline (1998)

European Court of Human Rights

  • Hanan v. Germany (Application No. 4871/16) (Grand Chamber), Counsel and Advocate for the applicant (2019-20)
  • Sydorenko v Ukraine and Russia (Application No. 60373/14); Obukhivskyy v Ukraine and Russia (Application No. 60400/14) ; Vakhovskyi v Ukraine and Russia (Application No. 71842/14) adviser to the applicants (2016)

African Court of Human and Peoples’ Rights

  • Democratic Republic of Congo v Republic of Rwanda (Application 007/2023), Counsel and Advocate for Rwanda (2023 – )

International Trade Tribunals

  • World Trade Organization Dispute Settlement Panels – Advice to an Asian State on two WTO Disputes involving questions of general international law (2020-22)
  • Assistant to Mr Daniel Bethlehem in cases before a North American Free Trade Agreement Panel and before a World Trade Organisation Dispute Settlement Panel (1996-97)

National Courts and Tribunals – England

  • The Queen (on the application of Campaign Against the Arms Trade) (Appellant) v Secretary of State for International Trade (Respondent) [2019] EWCA Civ 1020, (Court of Appeal) assisted (during pupillage) counsel representing the UK government;
  • R (on the application of Tony Michael Jimenez) v (1) First Tier Tax Tribunal & (2) HMRC [2019] EWCA (Civ) 51 (Court of Appeal) assisted (during pupillage) Counsel representing the UK government in this case about jurisdiction under international law to apply tax legislation extraterritorially (2018);
  • R v. Agnes Taylor, Crown Court, England, adviser to Crown Prosecution Service in universal jurisdiction proceedings for torture (2018)
  • Belhaj v Straw, United Kingdom Supreme Court, adviser to Counsel team representing the UK Foreign Office on Foreign Act of State (2015)
  • v. Evans, Metropolitan Stipendiary Magistrate & others ex parte Augusto Pinochet Ugarte (England: House of Lords). Advised Counsel for General Pinochet (Clive Nicholls KC, James Cameron and others) on Head of State Immunity Issues (1999)
  • Kuwait Airways Corporation (KAC) v. Iraq Airways Company (IAC) (England: High Court). Assisted Professor Christopher Greenwood, Counsel for KAC (1997)

National Courts and Tribunals – New Zealand, Australia, United States, Pakistan, New Zealand

  • Barngarla Determination Aboriginal Corporation & Ors v. Minister for Resources and Water & Commonwealth of Australia (Federal Court of Australia), international law expert appointed by govt of Australia on  rights of indigenous peoples under customary international law (2022/23)
  • Public Inquiry into Operation Burnham (established by New Zealand Government), appointed International Law Expert for the Inquiry dealing with conduct of New Zealand Defence Forces in military operations in Afghanistan, prepared opinion and appeared in public hearings (2019)
  • United States v. Omar Khadr (United States: Proceedings in Military Commissions and Supreme Court)
  • United States v. David Hicks (United States: Military Commissions).
  • Led teams of students providing advice (under the auspices of Oxford Pro Bono Publico) to military lawyers (Lt Cdr. Bill Kuebler, Khadr case & Major Dan Mori, Hicks case) assigned to represent two of the three Guantanamo Bay detainees that have been charged before the US Military Commissions.  Provided advice on law of war, international criminal law and human rights law. (2006-2008)
  • In Re Yukos Oil Company (US: Fed. Bankruptcy Court) Assisted Professor Vaughan Lowe in the preparation of Expert Opinion on International Law Issues (advised Act of State doctrine) (2005)
  • Prepared an opinion for Montiel Davis & Woodward Kimber (Miami Law Firm) on international law aspects of immigration proceedings before US Immigration and Nationality Service. (2002-3).
  • Wine-box InquiryNew Zealand Commission of Inquiry into Certain Matters Relating to Taxation. Assisted Professor Christopher Greenwood (1996)

Advisory Work

  • Advice to a coalition of civil society organizations in relation to advisory proceedings at the International Court of Justice (with Miles Jackson)
  • Advice to a state on potential proceedings for revision of ICJ Judgment dealing with a territorial dispute
  • Advice to states on reparations for violations of international law
  • Advice to a company on sanctions and counterterrorism related issues (with Miles Jackson)
  • Advice to an international organization on questions of attribution of conduct in the context of military operations (with Miles Jackson)
  • Advice to an international organization on questions concerning the law of international organization (with Antonios Tzanakopolous)
  • Advice to a State on the legality of certain import restrictions under international trade law (with Naomi Hart);
  • Advice to a State on the drafting of a new constitution in light of international treaty law and human rights obligations (with Naomi Hart); and
  • Advice to a civil society organisation on obligations of states with regard to repatriation of nationals detained by non-state armed groups (with Miles Jackson)
  • Advice to a coalition of civil society organisations on application of Genocide Convention with regard to a treatment of children (with Federica D’Alessandra, Miles Jackson & Anthony Jones)
  • Worked (during pupillage) with a team of external counsel providing advice to a UK government department on compatibility of domestic law with international law protections for foreign investment
  • Assisted Hugh Mercer KC and Jessica Wells (during pupillage) with opinion for P&I clubs on international law questions relating to billion US dollar claims arising out of marine pollution incident
  • Opinion on The Legality of the UK’s Air Strikes on the Syrian Government, commissioned by Tom Watson MP, Deputy Leader of the Labour Party 
  • Joint Opinion (with Timothy Otty KC) for UN officials on international law implications of providing legal aid for negotiations on conditions and destination of forcible transfers prohibited by international law
  • Advice in connection with potential litigation in England regarding the use of drones by the UK
  • Advised Government of Botswana on drafting of legislation to implement obligations under the Statute of the International Criminal Court
  • Advice on boundary dispute between African states
  • Advice to the government of a middle eastern state on implementation of sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council on Iran

Government Training

  • Over the past two decades, he has organized programmes at Oxford University for the training of government on matters of international law. He is also been involved in training around the world for governments and international organizations, including lecturing on the United Nations Regional Courses on International Law.
Examples of Recent Cases

International Court of Justice – Counsel and Advocate

  • Legal Consequences arising from the Policies and Practices of Israel in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem
  • Application of the Genocide Convention (Gambia v Myanmar), Counsel for the United Kingdom as intervenors 2022-
  • Armed Activities Case (Democratic Republic of Congo v. Uganda) Reparations Phase, Counsel and Advocate for Uganda, 2018-
  • Chagos Islands Advisory Opinion, Counsel and Advocate for Zambia, 2018

The International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea

  • The M/T “San Padre Pio” Case (Switzerland v. Nigeria) No. 2, Counsel and Advocate for Nigeria (2019-date)
  • The M/T “San Padre Pio” Case (Switzerland v. Nigeria), (2019), Provisional Measures, Counsel and Advocate for Nigeria

International Criminal Court

  • The Prosecutor v. Al Hassan Ag Abdoul Aziz Ag Mohamed Ag Mahmoud (international law expert for Defence Counsel) (2020-date)
  • Instructed to provide confidential advice the Office of the Prosecutor on possible international law arguments (2019)

European Court of Human Rights

  • Hanan v. Germany (Application No. 4871/16) (Grand Chamber), Counsel and Advocate for the applicant (2019-20)
  • Sydorenko v Ukraine and Russia (Application No. 60373/14); Obukhivskyy v Ukraine and Russia (Application No. 60400/14) ; Vakhovskyi v Ukraine and Russia (Application No.71842/14) adviser to the applicants (2016)

World Trade Organization Dispute Settlement Panel

  • Adviser to an Asian State on a World Trade Organization Dispute (2020-date)

National Courts and Tribunals – England

  • The Queen (on the application of Campaign Against the Arms Trade) (Appellant) v Secretary of State for International Trade (Respondent) [2019] EWCA Civ 1020, (Court of Appeal)assisted (during pupillage) counsel representing the UK government;
  • R (on the application of Tony Michael Jimenez) v (1) First Tier Tax Tribunal & (2) HMRC[2019] EWCA (Civ) 51 (Court of Appeal) assisted (during pupillage) counsel representing the UK government in this case about jurisdiction under international law to apply tax legislation extraterritorially (2018);
  • R v. Agnes Taylor, Crown Court, England, adviser to Crown Prosecution Service in universal jurisdiction proceedings for torture (2018)
  • Belhaj v Straw, United Kingdom Supreme Court, adviser to counsel team representing theUK Foreign Office on Foreign Act of State (2015)

Public Inquiry – New Zealand

  • Public Inquiry into Operation Burnham (established by New Zealand Government), appointed International Law Expert for the Inquiry dealing with conduct of New Zealand Defence Forcesin military operations in Afghanistan, prepared opinion and appeared in public hearings(2019)

National Courts and Tribunals – England

  • The Queen (on the application of Campaign Against the Arms Trade) (Appellant) v Secretary of State for International Trade (Respondent) [2019] EWCA Civ 1020, (Court of Appeal) assisted(during pupillage) counsel representing the UK government;
  • R (on the application of Tony Michael Jimenez) v (1) First Tier Tax Tribunal & (2) HMRC [2019]EWCA (Civ) 51 (Court of Appeal) assisted (during pupillage) counsel representing the UK government in this case about jurisdiction under international law to apply tax legislationextraterritorially (2018);
  • R v. Agnes Taylor, Crown Court, England, adviser to Crown Prosecution Service in universal jurisdiction proceedings for torture (2018)
  • Belhaj v Straw, United Kingdom Supreme Court, adviser to counsel team representing the UK Foreign Office on Foreign Act of State (2015)

African Court of Human and Peoples’ Rights

  • Democratic Republic of Congo v Republic of Rwanda (Application 007/2023), Counsel and Advocate for Rwanda (2023 – )

 

Career
  • Professor of Public International Law, Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford April 2018 – date
  • Professor of Public International Law, Faculty of Law,  University of Oxford 2014 – March 2018
  • University Lecturer in Public International Law, then Associate Professor, University of Oxford 2004 – 2014
  • Fellow, Exeter College, Oxford, April 2018 – date
  • Yamani Fellow in Public International Law, St Peter’s College, 2004 – 2018
  • Co-Director, Oxford Institute for Ethics, Law and Armed Conflict 2009 – till date
  • Co-Director, Oxford Martin Programme on Human Rights for Future Generations 2013 – 2017
  • Co-Director, Oxford University/George Washington University Summer School on Human Rights Law 2007-2010
  • Director of Studies in Law, Regent’s Park College 2006-2008

2000-2004 University of Durham

  • Lecturer in Law

1998-2000 University of Nottingham

  • Lecturer in Law
  • Visiting Professor, University of Vienna 2018
  • Visiting Professor, Catolica Global Law School, Lisbon , 2014-2018
  • Visiting Associate Professor of Law and Robina Foundation International Fellow, Yale Law School (2008-09)
  • Visiting Professor, University of Miami School of Law, 2002 & 2009; London Summer Program 2000-07
Education
  • Master of Arts (MA), University of Oxford (awarded by resolution), 2004
  • Master of Laws Degree (LLM), London School of Economics & Political Science, 1993-94
  • Qualified as Barrister & Solicitor, Nigerian Law School  1992-93
  • Bachelor of Laws Degree (LLB) University of Ife, Nigeria, 1988-92
Awards
  • American Society of International Law’s 2019 Certificate of Merit for high technical craftsmanship and utility to practicing lawyers and scholars: Higgins, Webb, Akande, Sivakumaran & Sloan, Oppenheim’s International Law: United Nations (2017, Oxford University Press),
  • Sir Ninian Stephen Visiting Scholar, University of Melbourne Law School, 2015
  • Premio Regione Toscana Giorgio La Pira Prize [Prize for the Best Paper Authored by a Young Scholar], Journal of International Criminal Justice, 2003
  • Junior Award of the International Affairs Sub-Committee of the Gilbert Murray Trust, 1995
  • Irving and Bonnar Scholarship Prize, Best Student, LL.B Part III Examinations, 1991
  • A.B. Kasunmu Prize, Best Student in the Law of Evidence 1991
  • Justice Olu Ayoola Prize – Best Student, LL.B Part II Examinations 1990
  • Nigerian National Petroleum Company/Chevron National Scholarship, 1989-1993
Appointments and Memberships

Non-Academic Appointments

  • Member, United Nations International Law Commission (2023-2027)
  • Member, Secretary of State’s Advisory Committee on International Law , United States Department of State (2022-) ;
  • Member,  UK Ministry of Defence AI Ethics Advisory Panel (2020-22);
  • Member, Ukrainian Presidential Working Group on compensation for damage caused to Ukraine as a result of the armed aggression by the Russian Federation (2022-);
  • Member International Committee of the Red Cross Global Advisory Board on Digital Threats During Conflict (2021-23)
  • Legal adviser to the UK Parliament’s All Party Parliamentary Group on Drone’s inquiry into the Use of Armed Drones. From 2016 -2018, he was on the World Economic Forum’s Global Future Council on Human Rights.
  • Member, Africa Group for Justice and Accountability, 2016 – date
  • Member, World Economic Forum, Global Council on the Future of Human Rights, 2016-2018

 Membership of Academic Boards, Journals & Scholarly Organizations

  • Member, Board of Trustees, Rhodes Trust, 2020-date
  • Counsellor & Member of Executive Council, American Society of International Law, 2017 – 2019
  • Trustee (2017- date); Member, Advisory Council (2006-date); Member of Public International Law Advisory Board, (2008 –20), British Institute of International and Comparative Law,
  • Member, Advisory Board,  Oxford Investment Claims, 2017 -date
  • Member, Editorial Board, American Journal of International Law, 2013 –date
  • Member, Editorial Board, European Journal of International Law, (2014–2017); Emeritus Editor (2017 – date); Member, Scientific Advisory Board (2007-14);
  • Editor, EJIL:Talk! www.ejiltalk.org 2008 – date
  • Member, Editorial Board, African Journal of International and Comparative Law, 2007-2013
  • Member, Advisory Board, International Law Studies2013-date
  • Member, Steering Group, 77th Biennial Conference,  International Law Association, (2016); Member, Executive Council of the British Branch, (2006-date); Member, Study Group on Responsibility of International Organizations (since 2005-2012); Member, Committee on the Accountability of International Organizations & secretary of drafting committee for final report of the committee. (2000 to 2004)
  • Member, Advisory Board, Israel Law Review, 2015-date
  • Member, Editorial Board, Nigerian Yearbook of International Law2015-date
  • Member, Advisory Board, Ethiopian Yearbook of International Law2015-date
  • Member, Advisory Board, Institute for International Peace and Security Law, University of Cologne, 2015 –date
  • Member, International Advisory Panel, American Law Institute, Project on Restatement (Fourth) of Foreign Relations Law, 2014 – 18
  • Member, Advisory Board, African Association of International Law, 2013–date
  • Elected Member, International Institute for Humanitarian Law, 2010-date