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Achilles Skordas

Professor of International Law, University of Bristol, UK
Senior Research Fellow

Main Fields of Research:

Public International Law, EU Common Foreign and Security Policy, Migration Law and Policy, Geopolitics

Academic Career:

Positions held

Professor of International Law, University of Bristol, UK (since 2008, on leave since 2016)

Professor of International Law (Marie Curie), University of Copenhagen (2016-2018)

Reader in Law, University of Bristol, UK (2006-2008)

Assistant Professor, School of Law, University of Athens, Greece (1997-2006)

Lecturer, School of Law, University of Athens, Greece (1991-1997)

Advisor to the Greek Parliament

Advisor to the Greek Parliament on international legal affairs (1989-2006)

Advisor to the Greek Parliamentary delegation at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (PABSEC) (1996-1997); participation in the PABSEC meetings in Tbilisi, Rize (Turkey), Moscow, Bucharest, and Athens

Links with government and other Greek institutions

External evaluator for the structural reform of the Law School, University of Athens (2013)

Member, Immigration Policy Advisory Group to the Prime Minister of Greece (2011)

Member, Advisory Board, Karamanlis Institute for Democracy (2001-2005)

Degrees earned

Dr. jur., magna cum laude, Goethe University of Frankfurt/Main, Germany (1985) (DAAD scholarship)

J.D., summa cum laude, School of Law, U

Indicators of recognition

Marie Curie Professorial Fellowship, University of Copenhagen Law School – iCourts (2016-2018)

Leibniz Fellowship, Max Planck Institute for International Law, Heidelberg (2015)

Max Planck Society for the Advancement of Science Fellowship (2014)

University of Copenhagen Law School, iCourts, Visiting Fellow (2014)

Harvard Law School, Visiting Scholar at the Institute for Global Law and Policy (2009-2010)

Bristol University Fellowship (2009-2010)

Osgoode Hall Law School, Toronto, Fellow for Comparative Research in Law and Political Economy (CLPE) (2008)

University Paris XII, School of Law, Visiting Professor (one month annually, 1997-2001)

Odysseus Academic Network for Legal Studies on Immigration and Asylum in Europe (founding member, since 1999)

Welsh Center for International Affairs (WCIA), Legal Affairs Committee (LAC), Cardiff, member (2006-2016)

Curriculum Vitae - Further Information (PDF, 215.8 KB)

Recent Publications

  • The European Union as post national realist power. In: Research Handbook on the EU's Common Foreign and Security Policy, Steven Blockmans, Panos Koutrakos (eds.). Elgar, Cheltenham 2018, 394-444.
  • The Missing Link in Migration Governance: An Advisory Opinion by the International Court of Justice. In: EU Immigration and Asylum Law and Policy, 12.07.2018.
  • A ‘blind spot’ in the migration debate? International responsibility of the EU and its Member States for cooperating with the Libyan coastguard and militias. In: EU Immigration and Asylum Law and Policy, 30.01.2018.

Further Publications

    •  Research Handbook on the International Court of Justice (ICJ), Elgar (Skordas ed., forthcoming)
    • Geopolitics and negative peace in the ICJ jurisprudence, in A. Skordas (ed.) Research Handbook on the ICJ, Elgar (forthcoming  2019)
    • Peace, Proposals for the Preservation of, in: The Law of Armed Conflict and the Use of Force – The Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law, Thematic Volume 2, pp. 927-946 (F. Lachenmann/R. Wolfrum eds), OUP, 2017
    • ‘The Obligations of States towards Refugees under International Law – Reflections on the Situation in Lebanon’, study published by the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), Beirut, Lebanon, 2016
    • ‘Treaty Interpretation and Global Governance: the Role of Domestic Courts’, in: HP Aust and G Nolte (eds.), The Interpretation of International Law by Domestic Courts. Unity, Diversity, Convergence, pp. 290-316, OUP, 2016 (PR)
    • ‘Council Directive 2001/55 of 20 July 2001 on minimum standards for giving temporary protection in the event of a mass influx of displaced persons’, in K. Hailbronner/D. Thym (eds.), EU Immigration and Asylum Law - Commentary, 2nd edition, pp. 1054-1107, C.H. Beck/Hart/Nomos, 2016 (PR)
    • The Law and Practice of Piracy at Sea – European and International Perspectives, 414 pp. (Koutrakos/Skordas eds, Hart, 2014)
    • Polycontextural Law: The Constitutional Law of Civil Society, translation of essays of Gunther Teubner in Greek by Vaios Karavas, 261 pp (Karavas/Skordas/Christodoulidis eds, P. Sakkoulas Publ., Athens, 2005)
    • International Crises and Involvement of the International Community – Persian Gulf and the former Yugoslavia, 542 pp. (Divani/Sicilianos/Skordas eds., A. Sakkoulas Publ., 1994, in Greek)
    • Umweltschutz und freier Warenverkehr im EWG-Vertrag und GATT, Steinbach-am-Taunus, Steinbacher Wissenschaftliche Reihe, 1986, XXXVII +286 pages (in German, doctoral thesis)

    Key Presentations, Papers, Lectures

    • 2018 Europe and Greece in the 21st Century: Geopolitical Challenges and Cultural Identity, Lecture, in: Humanity in Action Denmark (2. July)
    • 2018 Co-Convenor of the Conference on ‘Economic Constitutionalism: Mapping its Contours in European and Global Governance’ (with Gabor Halmai, Lisa Mardikian and Daniel Bedford), EUI, Florence (14-15 June)
    • 2018 International Court of Justice and the preservation of peace in the 21st century: Global governance in action, Keynote Lecture, Öresund International Law Workshop on ‘Challenges in the Law of Responsibility’, University of Lund, Faculty of Law (11. June)
    • 2018 Co-Convenor of a workshop on ‘Judicial Responses to the Migration Crisis’, University of Copenhagen (with Panos Koutrakos) (9. March)
    • 2018 The ICJ and the migration crisis – who will wake-up the Ice Queen?, in ‘Judicial Responses to the Migration Crisis (above), University of Copenhagen (9. March)
    • 2018 Convenor of a workshop of the contributors to the ‘Research Handbook on the International Court of Justice’ (Skordas ed.), University of Copenhagen (8-10. February)
    • 2018 The geopolitics of the ICJ, in: workshop of the contributors to the Research Handbook on the ICJ (above) (10. February)
    • 2018 Convenor of the panel on ‘International Responsibility of the EU for the Violations of Migrant Rights by Libya’, Annual Conference of the Odysseus Network in Brussels, with the theme ‘Conflict and Compromise – Between Law and Politics in EU Migration and Asylum Policies’ (1. February)
    • 2017 Europe in the World: Normativity and Geopolitics in the Trump Era, EURECO Distinguished Lecture Series, University of Copenhagen (3. October)
    • 2017 Legal Framework for EU Action at Sea, paper presented during a training course and naval exercise for EU high-level military, organized by the European Security and Defence College (ESDC) in Constanţa, Romania (ESDC activity 17-18/36/1) (02.-06. October)
    • 2017 Chair and discussant of the panel on ‘The Public’s Many Faces’ at the ICON-S Conference,  University of Copenhagen (6. July)
    • 2017: Public discussion with Sir Michael Wood, Special Rapporteur of the International Law Commission, on the topic ‘The Functions of International Courts and Tribunals’, iCourts Summer School, University of Copenhagen (30 June)
    • 2017: The International Court of Justice and the Cultures of Anarchy, paper at the iCourts Annual Retreat, University of Copenhagen (10 May)
    • 2017: From Confrontation to Dispute Settlement: The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), paper at a Conference on ‘Implications of the Nuclear Agreement with Iran’, University of Copenhagen (3 April)
    • 2016 The European Union in the World: Geopolitics and Liberal Realism, Lecture at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin (19 December)
    • 2016 Who is Afraid of the International Court of Justice? International Law and the Management of Refugee Flows, paper in a conference organized by the Greek Parliament on the refugee crisis (9. November)



  • Expert opinion for the High Court of England and Wales, cases R. v. Secretary of State for Home Department ex parte Bouheraoua, ex parte Kerkeb, No. CO/878/1998; CO/2734/1998, Judgment of 22.05.2000. The Court followed my expert opinion and declared Greece a non-safe country for refugees, citing my name 11 times; the Court of Appeal followed my opinion, as well.
  • Co-author of expert opinion (with L.-A. Sicilianos) for the Supreme Administrative Court of Greece (Council of the State) on the right to pension under the ECHR; we won the case, and the judgment of the Court was published, along with our expert opinion, in the legal journal of the Athens Bar Association 48 Nomiko Vima 1221-1232, 1323 (2000).
  • Expert opinion to the Greek Ministry of Finance on the follow-up of the high-profile case Stran Greek Refineries and Stratis Andreadis v. Greece (ECtHR, 9.12.1994). The opinion, published in the legal journal of the Athens Bar Association 47 Nomiko Vima 1532 et seq. (1999), convinced the administration to abandon the case against my client.
  • Expert opinion to the public prosecutor of Athens, who had indicted the Prefect of Eastern Attica for providing basic utility services to homeowners who had violated urban planning rules. By invoking Art. 3 ECHR, I convinced the prosecutor to drop the case; the opinion was published in the legal journal 42 Elliniki Dikaiosyni 48-54 (2001).
  • Consultant to the German Union of Chemical Industries (Verband der Chemischen Industrie – VCI), Frankfurt/Main, Germany, assisting in the drafting of a commentary on the chemical substances legislation (June-September 1983)

Media Interviews

Interview to the TNT Turkey (Turkish State TV), 07.07.2018 on the EU-Turkey relationship, 07.07.2018

Interview to TNT Turkey (Turkish State TV), 06.04.2016, on the migration crisis

Interview to Deutschlandfunk (German national radio), 05.07.2015, on the Greek referendum

Interview to the Rhein-Neckar Zeitung, 07.07.2015, on the  Greek referendum

Interview to the Huffington Post on the European economic crisis

Interviews to the BBC Radio Bristol and RTE Radio (Ireland), on the European debt crisis and legal and political developments in Europe, including the Ukrainian crisis, and Brexit

Interviews to the Radio 9,84 of the City of Athens, on international affairs

Interview to George Packer of The New Yorker for his piece “The Playing Field – Iraqis and Americans find themselves in opposite positions”, published in The New Yorker, issue 2004-08-30