Advisory Panel for Flight PS752: Biographies

Backgrounder

Payam Akhavan (LLB, Osgoode Hall Law School, 1989; LLM SJD, Harvard Law School, 1990) is a professor of international law and senior fellow at the University of Toronto’s Massey College. He is also a member of the Permanent Court of Arbitration and special adviser to the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court. He was formerly a full professor in McGill University’s Faculty of Law and has also had appointments at Yale Law School, the European University Institute, the University of Oxford, University Paris Nanterre, and Sciences Po Law School. He has been a UN human rights officer and was the first legal advisor to the Prosecutor’s Office of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia at The Hague. He has appeared as counsel and advocate in notable cases before the International Court of Justice, the European Court of Human Rights and in other jurisdictions. He delivered the CBC’s Massey Lectures in 2017, is a recipient of the Human Rights Award of the Law Society of Ontario and has been elected as a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.

Harold Hongju Koh (AB, Harvard University, 1975; BA, University of Oxford, 1977; JD, Harvard Law School, 1980; MA, University of Oxford, 1996) is Sterling professor of international law at Yale Law School, where he has taught since 1985 and where he served as Dean from 2004 to 2009. He has received 17 honorary degrees and more than 30 awards for his work in human rights and international law. Professor Koh has served in 4 U.S. administrations: as Senior Advisor in the Office of the Legal Adviser at the U.S. Department of State in 2021; Legal Adviser at the U.S. Department of State (2009 to 2013); Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor at the U.S. Department of State (1998 to 2001); and Attorney-Adviser at the Office of the Legal Counsel at the U.S. Department of Justice (1983 to 1985). He served as a law clerk to Justice Harry A. Blackmun of the U.S. Supreme Court and to Judge Malcolm Richard Wilkey of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. An honorary bencher of Lincoln’s Inn, he is also an honorary fellow of the University of Oxford’s Magdalen College and has been George Eastman Visiting Professor at Oxford, Arthur Goodhart Visiting Professor of Legal Science at Cambridge University and Visiting Fellow at Oxford’s All Souls College. He is the author of 8 books and more than 200 articles and has argued regularly before U.S. and international courts, most recently as counsel for Ukraine in Ukraine v. Russia at the International Court of Justice. He has testified frequently before the U.S. Congress and has received the Wolfgang Friedmann Memorial Award from Columbia Law School and the Louis B. Sohn Award from the American Bar Association for his lifetime achievements in international law. 

Jessica Wells (BA, University of Oxford, 1998; BCL, Keble College, University of Oxford, 2000) is a barrister at Essex Court Chambers in London, United Kingdom. She has a broad commercial and international practice with a particular interest in public international law. In 2017, she was appointed to the Attorney General’s Public International Law A Panel. She regularly advises and represents the Government of the United Kingdom in litigation before the domestic courts and the European Court of Human Rights. In the International Court of Justice, she has represented the United Kingdom in Obligations Concerning Negotiations Relating to Cessation of the Nuclear Arms Race and to Nuclear Disarmament (Marshall Islands v. United Kingdom) and Rwanda in Armed Activities on the Territory of the Congo (Democratic Republic of Congo v. Rwanda). She has a broad experience of acting for states and commercial parties in international commercial and investment arbitrations. Before qualifying as a barrister, she was a lecturer in law at the University of Oxford and a fellow of the university’s Keble College.

Sir Michael Wood (MA and LL.B, Cambridge University, 1969) is a barrister at Twenty Essex in London, United Kingdom, where he practises in the field of public international law, including before international courts and tribunals. He is also a senior fellow of the Lauterpacht Centre for International Law at the University of Cambridge. He is a member of the UN International Law Commission (2008 to 2022) and was Legal Adviser to the United Kingdom’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office between 1999 and 2006, having joined as an Assistant Legal Adviser in 1970. He was called to the bar in 1968 and became a bencher of Gray’s Inn in 2000. He was made a Companion of the Order of Saint Michael and Saint George in 1995, a Knight Commander of that Order in 2004 and Grand Cross of the Order of the Sun of Peru in 2017.

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