The International Law Programme conducts policy-oriented research on critical issues of public international law. 


The programme was launched in 2004 with the establishment of the International Law Discussion Group which continues to meet regularly. Through its convening activities the programme is able to contribute significantly to the understanding of public international law issues amongst the various sectors involved in policy-making in international relations.

On occasion, the programme brings together smaller meetings of experts to work on clarification of the law; for example, in the elaboration of the 2005 Chatham House Principles of International Law on the Use of Force which provide practical guidance on this fundamental, but increasingly controversial, area of public international law. 

Our ability to draw on a wide network of contacts both within and outside government ensures that our research work reflects current realities and can contribute to both academic debate and the development of government policies and practice.

In addition, our research benefits from the policy expertise within Chatham House. Aside from briefing and programme papers which come out of the programme’s research activities, the International Law Discussion Group also produces a rich source of material in the form of its meeting summaries. 

The programme’s focus is on emerging issues in international human rights law, international humanitarian law, international criminal law and international refugee law.

However, drawing on the expertise of our associate fellows and our wide network of contacts in the legal, academic and policy world, our work covers a much broader range of topics, such as international sanctions regimes and the regulation of natural resources.

For more information on the International Law Programme please contact Chanu Peiris.

View a list of our current projects