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Dr Charlotte Peevers


Charlie's research focuses on international legal ordering and disordering, including the use of force, management of disasters, and large-scale engineering projects. Her work uncovers discarded histories of international law and challenges the progress narrative of the contemporary international legal order. She writes on the politics of justifying the use of force, memorialization of the Great War, and the Cold War.


Bar of England & Wales, called 2009
Image of Charlotte Peevers
Lecturer, Faculty of Law
Core Member, LRC - Law
Law, PhD Law

Research Interests

justifying force; capitalism, imperialism and international law; disaster management; media and international law; international waterways and the law of the sea; large-scale engineering projects, particularly of the 19th century and post-colonial ('development') eras.
International Economic Law Public International Law Human Rights International Criminal Law


Peevers, C.E. 2013, The Politics of Justifying Force: The Suez Crisis, The Iraq War, and International Law, 1, Oxford University Press, Oxford, United Kingdom.
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What are the politics involved in a government justifying its use of military force abroad? What is the role of international law in that discourse? How and why is international law crucial to this process? And what role does the media have in mediating the interaction of international law and politics? This book provides a fresh and engaging answer to these questions. It introduces different actors to the study of international law in this context, in particular highlighting the importance of institutional actors and the role of the media. It takes a theoretical approach, informed by detailed empirical analysis of key case studies, which challenges the traditional distinction between the spheres of 'the international' and 'the domestic' in global affairs, and the role of international law in the making of public policy. The book specifically critiques the idea of the 'politics of justification', which argues that deploying international legal norms to justify governmental decisions resulting in the use of force necessarily constrains government actions, and leads to fewer instances of military intervention. The politics of justification, on this account, can be seen as a progressive practice, through which international law can become embedded in domestic societies. The book investigates the actors engaged in this justification, and the institutional contexts within which legal justification is articulated, interpreted, and contested. It provides a rich, detailed account of domestic British discourse in the crucial case studies of the Suez Crisis of 1956 and the Iraq War of 2003, making extensive use of archival material, newspaper and television reporting, Parliamentary debates, polling data, personal memoirs, and the declassified material provided to several Public Inquiries, including the Chilcot Inquiry. In light of these sources, it considers the concept of international law as a language and form of communication rather than a set of abstract norms. It ar...

Journal articles

Peevers, C.E. 2013, 'Conducting International Authority: Hammarskjold, the Great Powers and the Suez Crisis', London Review of International Law, vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 131-141.
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Anne Orfords International Authority and the Responsibility to Protect traces the lineage of international executive authority from its constitutive articulations, as practice, by reading Dag Hammarskjölds archives of office. Through her self-conscious historical accounting, Orford asks us to reconsider the received narrative of the emergence of the responsibility to protect (R2P) concept. The use of case studiesthe Suez and Congo crisesis not to facilitate a comparison with contemporary practices of protection, but rather to provide a foundation from which the reader can trace the construction of the R2P concept. In these remarks, I discuss how additional archival sources can add to Orfords account of the practices of international executive authority. These additional sources help to situate Hammarskjölds practices in relation to Great Power. I also seek to expand the basis of the case study account Orford providestaking the Suez Crisis as the subject of my commentsby examining the practices of authority not just as justification and rationalisation, but also as conduct.1 The question of conduct requires consideration of who `conducts authority in two senses: as conduct and as orchestration. Through such an account, tensions over conducting, composing, playing and reading become apparent, all of which might be seen as aspects of practice, but not all by the same individual nor indeed in fixed positions. By highlighting the orchestral aspects of `conducting I do not suggest passivity or subservience to Great Power, but imagine instead an interplay which, despite its tensions, seeks overall to produce a coherent form of performance, a harmony.