The pandemic paradox in international law

Date & time
6–7.30pm Tuesday 27 October 2020

Via Zoom Webinar

ANU Law Marketing
60th Anniversary Celebrations
Pandemic Paradox

The pandemic paradox in international law

COVID-19 has given rise to a series of challenges in international law intersecting with patriotism, borders and equality. These paradoxes have rendered the international legal order’s mechanisms for collective action powerless precisely when they are most needed to fight the pandemic. The 'patriotism paradox' is that disengagement from the international legal order weakens rather than strengthens state sovereignty. The 'border paradox' is that securing domestic populations by excluding non-citizens, in the absence of regulatory mechanisms to secure adherence to internal health measures, accelerates viral spread among citizens. The 'equality paradox' is that while pandemics pose an equal threat to all people, their impacts compound existing inequalities.

Join us as we explore these issues with Professor Hilary Charlesworth AM, FAAL, FASSA (University of Melbourne, ANU School of Regulation and Global Governance); Associate Professor Jeremy Farrall and Dr Imogen Saunders (ANU College of Law); and moderator Professor Anthea Roberts (ANU School of Regulation and Global Governance).

This event will examine the contours and consequences of these paradoxes and discuss how international law and legal institutions can navigate populist-driven threats. This virtual discussion draws on an upcoming article to be published in The American Journal of International Law in October 2020 co-authored by two of our panellists – Dr Imogen Saunders and Associate Professor Jeremy Farrall – as well as Professor Peter G. Danchin (University of Maryland) and Professor Shruti Rana (Indiana University Bloomington), as part of the ANU Global Research Partnerships Project ‘Navigating the Backlash against Global Law and Institutions’. Read the article via SSRN here.


  • Associate Professor Jeremy Farrall »

    Jeremy Farrall is Associate Dean (Research) at the ANU College of Law and Associate Professor in the ANU Law School. 

    Dr Farrall has worked for the United Nations in a range of capacities, serving as a Political Affairs Officer for the UN Security Council at UN Headquarters in New York (2001-2004) and for the UN Mission in Liberia (2004-2006). He was also a UN Facilitator for the UN Secretary-General's Good Offices team that mediated peace talks in Cyprus (2004, 2008). 

    He has been Chief Investigator on two major Australian Research Council Grants. His ARC Discovery Project 'Leveraging Power and Influence on the UN Security Council' (2015-2020, with Chris Michaelsen, Jochen Prantl and Jeni Whalan) is a cross-institutional, cross-disciplinary collaboration between the University of New South Wales and the ANU. His ARC Linkage Project 'Strengthening the Rule of Law through the United Nations Security Council' (2011-2014, with Hilary Charlesworth) was a collaboration between the ANU Centre for International Governance and Justice and the Australian Government's Australian Civil-Military Centre.

  • Dr Imogen Saunders »

    PhD '13

    Dr Imogen Saunders completed her undergraduate degrees in law and science at the University of Western Australia, and was awarded her PhD from the Australian National University in 2013.

    Imogen teaches and researches in public international law. She is interested in the application of international law to new areas, the rule of law in times of change, the history of international law and sources of international law. She is currently working on projects on international law and social media, backlashes against international law, and the history of women in international law.

    Imogen teaches international law and international trade law in the LLB/JD and LLM programs. She is currently the Director of Teaching and Learning at the ANU College of Law.

  • Professor Hilary Charlesworth AM, FAAL, FASSA »

    Hilary Charlesworth is a Melbourne Laureate Professor at Melbourne Law School. She is also a Distinguished Professor at the Australian National University. Her research includes the structure of the international legal system, peacebuilding, human rights law and international humanitarian law, international legal theory, particularly feminist approaches to international law and the art of international law. Hilary received the American Society of International Law’s award for creative legal scholarship for her book, co-authored with Christine Chinkin, The Boundaries of International Law. She was also awarded, with Christine Chinkin, the American Society of International Law’s Goler T. Butcher award for ‘outstanding contributions to the development or effective realization of international human rights law’. Hilary has held both an Australian Research Council Federation Fellowship (2005-2010) and an ARC Laureate Fellowship (2010-2015).

    Hilary has been a visiting professor at various institutions including Harvard Law School, New York University Global Law School, UCLA, Paris I and the London School of Economics. She is a member of the Executive Council of the Asian Society of International Law and a past President of the Australian and New Zealand Society of International Law. Hilary is a member of the Permanent Court of Arbitration. In 2016 Hilary was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the Université Catholique de Louvain in Belgium. She delivered the General Course in Public International Law at the Hague Academy in 2019. She is an associate member of the Institut de Droit International and served as Judge ad hoc in the International Court of Justice in the Whaling in the Antarctic case (Australia v Japan) (2011-2014) and is currently Judge ad hoc in the Arbitral Award of 3 October 1899 case (Guyana v Venezuela).

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Updated:  10 August 2015/Responsible Officer:  College General Manager, ANU College of Law/Page Contact:  Law Marketing Team