Christopher Greenwood

Sir Christopher John Greenwood GBE CMG QC (born 12 May 1955) is a former British judge at the International Court of Justice, on which he served from 2009 to 2018.[1] Prior to his election, he was professor of international law at the London School of Economics and a barrister who regularly appeared as counsel before the International Court of Justice, the European Court of Human Rights, the English courts, and other tribunals. Greenwood has been appointed as the new master of Magdalene College, Cambridge, succeeding Rowan Williams, and will be taking up his post from 1 October 2020.[2]

Sir Christopher Greenwood

Sir Christopher Greenwood - Flickr image 4397409719
Christopher Greenwood, 2009
Judge of the International Court of Justice
In office
Preceded byRosalyn Higgins, Baroness Higgins
Succeeded byNawaf Salam
Personal details
Born12 May 1955 (age 64)
Wellingborough, England
Alma materMagdalene College, Cambridge

Family and career

Greenwood is the son of Captain Murray Greenwood and Diana Greenwood. He is married with two daughters. Christopher was educated at Wellingborough School. He then read law at Magdalene College, University of Cambridge, where he was awarded a BA (Law) (First Class Hons) in 1976, LLB (International Law) (First Class Hons) in 1977, and MA in 1981. As an undergraduate, he was elected president of the Cambridge Union in 1976.

He was called to the bar at the Middle Temple in 1978 and was appointed Queen's Counsel in 1999. In 2002 he was appointed Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George (CMG) in the Queen's Birthday Honours for services to international law. He was knighted in the 2009 New Year Honours.[3] In 2018 Queen's Birthday Honours, he was appointed Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire (GBE) for services to international justice.[4]

Greenwood is a member of the Panel of Arbitrators for the Law of the Sea Treaty, the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes and the United Kingdom National Group Permanent Court of Arbitration.

The Legality of Using Force Against Iraq

1 christopher greenwood 2018
Greenwood speaking at Singapore Management University School of Law in 2018

Greenwood is well known for the October 2002 legal opinion tendered to the British government, entitled The Legality of Using Force Against Iraq. The legal opinion, which he signed in his capacity as a law professor, has been used to justify that the invasion by Britain, the United States and allied powers was sanctioned by the UN Security Council. However, the opinion was concluded in the month before the adoption of UN Resolution 1441 and the conclusion was stated to be dependent on one of three conditions being satisfied. These conditions (he said) were (1) "if the UN Security Council adopts a fresh resolution authorizing military action against Iraq and any conditions set out in that resolution are met" - this did not happen; or (2) "under existing Security Council resolutions on the basis that the Security Council considered that (a) Iraq is in material breach of those resolutions" and (b) "that breach constitutes a threat to international peace and security in the Gulf area. This would not require a fresh Security Council authorization of military action".[5]

The question of whether these conditions were satisfied is controversial and unclear, since there was no further resolution which might have rendered the point clear. Alternatively, (3) "under the right of self-defence if an armed attack by Iraq against the United Kingdom or one of its allies was reasonably believed to be imminent. This would not require any action by the Security Council."[5]

Greenwood acted as counsel for the government of the United Kingdom in relation to a number of cases in both domestic and international courts: the Ojdanic case in the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia; Federal Republic of Yugoslavia v. United Kingdom in the International Court of Justice; the General Assembly request to the ICJ for an advisory opinion on the Palestinian wall (UK observations on admissibility); R (on the application of the European Roma Rights Centre and others) v. Immigration Officer at Prague Airport and others; and R (on the application of Abbasi and Mubanga) v. the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs and others.[6]

Notable appearances include:

  • Libya v. United Kingdom (Aerial Incident at Lockerbie) ICJ Reps., 1992, p. 3; ICJ Reps. 1998, p. 3
  • Case concerning Legality of Use of Force (Yugoslavia v. United Kingdom) ICJ Reps, 1999
  • R. v. Bow Street Magistrates, ex parte Pinochet (No. 1) [2000] 1 AC 147, [1998] 3 WLR 1456 and (No. 3) [2001] 1 AC 147, [1999] 2 WLR 827 [1999] 1 WLR 188 (Court of Appeal)

The Globe and Mail reported on 31 August 2007 that Greenwood had been hired by the Canadian Department of National Defence for an opinion on the Canadian Afghan detainee issue, the responsibility Canada had for captives apprehended in Afghanistan.[7] The legal issue is whether Canada can use the United Nations mandate to override its international treaty obligations.[7]

Judge at the International Court of Justice

Greenwood was elected as a judge of the International Court of Justice in November 2008[8][9] and served from 2009 to 2018.[1] Greenwood's direct predecessor as a judge from the United Kingdom was Rosalyn Higgins and, although there is no rule allocating seats, the one held by them was kept by judges from the UK since the founding of the ICJ in 1946.

In November 2017, the seats of Greenwood and four other judges were up for election. Nawaf Salam from Lebanon surprisingly contested and won the seat kept previously by Indian judge Dalveer Bhandari. India in turn had Bhandari contest the seat previously held by Greenwood and after multiple rounds of voting the United Kingdom decided to withdraw Greenwood's application.[10] This is the second time a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council has no judge on the ICJ and first time a permanent member lost the majority vote in the UN general assembly.[11]



  1. ^ a b "All Members | International Court of Justice". Retrieved 2018-05-13.
  2. ^ Appointment of a Master
  3. ^ "No. 58929". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 2008. p. 1.
  4. ^ "No. 62310". The London Gazette (Supplement). 9 June 2018. p. B23.
  5. ^ a b Christopher Greenwood, CMG, QC (21 March 2005). "The legality of using force against Iraq". Select Committee on Foreign Affairs. Retrieved 1 September 2007.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
  6. ^ "Lords Hansard - Written Answers Monday, 21 March 2005". Lords Hansard. 21 March 2005. Archived from the original on 20 October 2006. Retrieved 1 September 2007.
  7. ^ a b Bruce Cheadle (31 August 2007). "Academic hired to argue detainees' rights case". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 1 September 2007.
  8. ^ "Five judges elected to serve on UN International Court of Justice". UN News. 6 November 2008.
  9. ^ News, Taiwan. "Taiwan News Online - Breaking News, Politics, Environment, Immigrants, Travel, and Health". Taiwan News.
  10. ^ Bowcott, Owen (2017-11-20). "No British judge on world court for first time in its 71-year history". the Guardian. Retrieved 2018-05-13.
  11. ^ Murphy, Ben. "UK is out of the International Court of Justice – and it's hard to not see Brexit at play". The Conversation. Retrieved 2018-05-13.

External links

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2012 Eastleigh Borough Council election

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Adjudication is the legal process by which an arbiter or judge reviews evidence and argumentation, including legal reasoning set forth by opposing parties or litigants to come to a decision which determines rights and obligations between the parties involved.

Christopher Greenwood (cartographer)

Christopher (1786–1855) and John Greenwood (fl.1821–1840) were brother cartographers who produced large-scale maps of England and Wales in the 1820s.

Their partnership began in 1821, using the imprint "C.&J.Greenwood".

Christopher was born in Wakefield, Yorkshire, He moved to London in 1818. His first map publication (of Yorkshire) was based on his own surveying.

In 1759 the Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufacture and Commerce announced a prize of £1000 for an original survey of England at a scale of one-inch-to-the-mile (approx. 1:63,000). The first recipient of the award was Benjamin Donn whose map of Devon, completed in 1765, had taken five and a half years to produce. Maps of many counties followed.

The Greenwoods' intention was for a series of maps of the whole country at a one-inch scale. They did not achieve this, largely because of competition from the newly founded Ordnance Survey, but their output includes superb maps that were finely drafted and elegantly engraved. Between 1817 and 1830 they produced a series of splendid large-scale folding maps of most of the counties based on their own surveys.

Their Atlas of the Counties of England (c.1834) was beautifully engraved and decorated with large vignettes of prominent buildings of the county. The maps were engraved on steel, a more durable medium than copper. Some of them were issued uncoloured, but most are now found with full-wash colour across the body of the map.

Dalveer Bhandari

Dalveer Bhandari (born 1 October 1947) is an Indian member of the International Court of Justice and was a judge of the Supreme Court of India.

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Essex Court Chambers is a leading set of commercial barristers in Lincoln's Inn Fields, central London. It has 71 tenants, of whom 35 are Queen's counsels, also known as Silks. With a turnover of £43.6 million, it is part of London's Magic Circle of top five law firms by revenue, and offers four pupillages (apprenticeships) a year.The current Lord Chief Justice, Sir John Thomas, was a member of Essex Court Chambers when he was at the Bar. Other members or former members of Essex Court Chambers include Lord Collins of Mapesbury, Dame Rosalyn Higgins, Sir Christopher Greenwood, Lord Millett, Lord Steyn, Lord Savile and Lord Mustill.The set is named after their former premises at 4 Essex Court in the Temple which it left in 1994. The chambers in its current incarnation date back to 1961. Lord Mustill, Michael Kerr (later Lord Justice Kerr), Anthony Evans (later Lord Justice Evans), Anthony Diamond (later Judge Diamond QC) and Robert MacCrindle were its founding members. The Singapore office opened in July 2009 and is located in Maxwell Chambers.

International Court of Justice

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) sometimes called the World Court, is the principal judicial organ of the United Nations (UN). The ICJ's primary functions are to settle international legal disputes submitted by states (contentious cases) and give advisory opinions on legal issues referred to it by the UN (advisory proceedings). Through its opinions and rulings, it serves as a source of international law.

The ICJ is the successor of the Permanent Court of International Justice (PCIJ), which was established by the League of Nations in 1920 and began its first session in 1922. After the Second World War, both the League and the PCIJ were succeeded by the United Nations and ICJ, respectively. The Statute of the ICJ draws heavily from that of its predecessor, and the latter's decisions remain valid. All members of the UN are party to the ICJ Statute.

The ICJ comprises a panel of 15 judges elected by the General Assembly and Security Council for nine-year terms. The court is seated in the Peace Palace in The Hague, Netherlands, making it the only principal U.N. organ not located in New York City. Its official working languages are English and French.

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Newton Grange in Bank Newton, Skipton in Yorkshire is a Georgian house of historical significance and is Grade II listed on the English Heritage Register. It was built in about 1800 by Richard Greenwood, a gentleman and was the private residence for many notable families. It is now a wedding venue and provides holiday cottage accommodation.

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and public service outside the civil service. It was established on 4 June 1917 by King George V and comprises five classes across both civil and military divisions, the most senior two of which make the recipient either a knight if male or dame if female. There is also the related British Empire Medal, whose recipients are affiliated with, but not members of, the order.

Recommendations for appointments to the Order of the British Empire were originally made on the nomination of the United Kingdom, the self-governing Dominions of the Empire (later Commonwealth) and the Viceroy of India. Nominations continue today from Commonwealth countries that participate in recommending British (Imperial) honours. Most Commonwealth countries ceased recommendations for appointments to the Order of the British Empire when they created their own honours.

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Rosalyn C. Higgins, Baroness Higgins, (born 2 June 1937, London) is a British former President of the International Court of Justice (ICJ). She was the first female judge elected to the ICJ, and was elected President in 2006. Her term of office expired on 6 February 2009. She was succeeded as President by Judge Hisashi Owada, and Sir Christopher Greenwood was elected in her place as Judge in the International Court of Justice.


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