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Malcolm Jorgensen

Dr. iur., Senior Research Fellow

Main Fields of Research:

Comparative International Law; International Law and International Relations; International Legal and Political Order; American Foreign and International Legal Policy; Indo-Pacific Policy; the Rules-Based Order

Academic Career:

Short Biography

Dr. Malcolm Jorgensen is a Senior Research Fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law, Heidelberg. He holds a PhD in International Law and American Foreign Policy from the University of Sydney, which has been published as American Foreign Policy Ideology and The International Rule of Law (Cambridge University Press, 2020; Foreword by Prof. Anthea Roberts). He is a non-Resident Fellow of the DFG funded Berlin Potsdam Research Group ‘International Law – Rise or Decline?’ and an Associate of the Sydney Centre for International Law, Sydney Law School. During his doctoral studies Malcolm was resident at the United States Studies Centre, University of Sydney, where he was a Research Associate and Lecturer in American Politics. He has previously served as a Judge’s Associate in the Supreme Court of Queensland and as an Assistant Director in the Legal Division of the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Jointly with Prof. Christian Marxsen (Humboldt University of Berlin), he is the recipient of a two year VolkswagenStiftung grant for a comparative international law project and associated workshop, investigating the international legal policies through which government legal advisers and policymakers construct and contest the international legal order.

Professional Positions

Since 12/2021 | Senior Research Fellow, MPIL (Coordinator of the MPIL Agora since 07/2023; Co-coordinator of the MPIL International Law Colloquium since 03/2024)

Since 09/2017 | Research Fellow, Berlin Potsdam Research Group (KFG) (Non-Resident Fellow since 03/2020)

2020-2021 | Research Associate, Institute of Sustainability Governance, Leuphana University Lüneburg

2016-2017 | Assistant Director, Legal Division (International Legal Branch; Sanctions, Treaties & Transnational Crime Branch), Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Canberra

2010-2016 | PhD Candidate and Research Associate, United States Studies Centre, University of Sydney

2009-2009 | Solicitor, Commercial Litigation

2008-2009 | Associate to the Honourable Justice P.D.T. Applegarth A.M. & the Honourable Acting Justice N. Skoien (Ret.), Supreme Court of Queensland, Brisbane


2015 | PhD in International Law and International Relations, Sydney Law School and United States Studies Centre, University of Sydney (funded by Australian Postgraduate Award)

2009 | Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice, Australian National University (ANU)

2007 | Bachelor of Laws with Honours, University of Queensland (UQ)

2006 | Bachelor of Arts with Honours in the field of International Relations, UQ

2004 | Bachelor of Arts with Majors in International Relations and Economics, UQ

Professional Qualifications

Enrolled Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Queensland and High Court of Australia (non-practicing)

Twitter: @malcyjorgy


Recent Publications

  • American Foreign Policy Ideology and The International Rule of Law: Contesting Power through the International Criminal Court. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2020, 300 p. Available here
  • Political Framing in China's Foreign Relations Law: International Law and ‘Fundamental Norms Governing International Relations’. In: Chinese Journal of Transnational Law 1(2), 1-20 (2024). doi: Available here
  • 'The Jurisprudence of the Rules-Based Order: The Power of Rules Consistent with but Not Binding Under International Law'. In: Melbourne Journal of International Law 22(2), 221-258 (2021). Available here
  • 'Ideological Values and Norm Contestation in the ICC: The Afghanistan Investigation and American Opposition to Article 12(2)(a) Jurisdiction'. In: Tracing Value Change in the International Legal Order: Perspectives from Legal and Political Science, Heike Krieger, Andrea Liese (eds.). Oxford University Press, Oxford 2023, 191-210. Available here
  • 'The United States'. In: Oxford Handbook on the International Law of Global Security, Robin Geiß, Nils Melzer (eds.). Oxford University Press, Oxford 2021, 926-943. Available here
  • Book Review: Engelhart, Marc, Sunčana Roksandić Vidlička: Dealing with Terrorism: Empirical and Normative Challenges of Fighting the Islamic State, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, 2019. In: German Yearbook of International Law, 63(1), 847-850, 2022. Available here


  • 'The German National Security Strategy and International Legal Order’s Contested Political Framing'. EJIL:Talk!, 05 July 2023. Available here
  • 'Internationale Rechtsordnung als nationales Sicherheitsinteresse'. Verfassungsblog, 04 May 2022. Available here
  • 'International Legal Order as a National Security Interest'. Verfassungsblog, 02 April 2022. Available here
  • 'The Weaponisation of International Law in Ukraine'. Völkerrechtsblog, 15 March 2022. Available here
  • 'China is Overturning the Rules-Based Order from Within'. The Interpreter, 12 August 2020. Available here
  • 'The Afghanistan Investigation and the International Legal Order'. Lawfare, 6 April 2020. Available here
  • 'Internationalizing the Monroe Doctrine: From Venezuela to Golan Heights and Back Around'. Just Security, 4 June 2019. Available here
  • 'International Law Cannot Save the Rules-Based Order'. RealClear Defense, 18 December 2018. Available here
  • 'China’s Rising Geolegal Sphere'. Opinio Juris, 17 October 2017. Available here
  • 'Greens Foreign Policy Fails to Apply the Lessons of Climate Change'. The Interpreter, 20 May 2016. Available here
  • 'East Timor: Concession is the Price for a Rules-Based Order'. The Interpreter, 15 February 2016. Available here
  • 'Avoiding Incoherence in Syria'. The Strategist, 15 September 2015. Available here
  • 'What the US Congress Fails to Realize When it Comes to TPP'. The National Interest, 30 June 2015. Available here
  • 'China and the AIIB: Towards a New Rules-Based Order?'. The Interpreter, 17 March 2015. Available here
  • 'Abbott Has Not Learned the Lessons of Iraq'. The Interpreter, 26 September 2014. Available here
  • 'The Cold War Foundations of Putin’s International Law'. On Line Opinion, 28 March 2014. Available here

Working Papers

  • 'Comparative International Legal Policy: National Political Approaches towards International Legal Order'. Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law & International Law (MPIL) Research Paper, No. 2024-03, 24 January 2024. Available here
  • 'The Jurisprudence of the Rules-Based Order: Germany’s Indo-Pacific Guidelines and the South China Sea Code of Conduct'. KFG Working Paper Series, No. 49, May 2021. Available here
  • 'The United States and the International Law of Global Security'. KFG Working Paper Series, No. 43, April 2020. Available here
  • 'Equilibrium & Fragmentation in The International Rule of Law: The Rising Chinese Geolegal Order'. KFG Working Paper Series, No. 21, November 2018. Available here


Further Publications

    Print Media

  • 'Ungoverned Space: US Request to Join Fight in Syria Carries Legal Risk'. In: The Canberra Times, 26.08.2015. Available here
  • 'Obama’s State of Union Address Reinforces Asian Pivot Being on Bench'. In: The Australian, 21.01.2015. Available here
  • 'Justice Means the End to All Casualties in Syria'. In: The Sydney Morning Herald, 05.09.2013. Available here
  • 'Malcolm Jorgensen: Verdict's Message for Assange and World'. In: The New Zealand Herald, 02.08.2013. Available here
  • 'Howard Fails in his Defence of Road to War'. In: The Sydney Morning Herald, 17.04.2013. Available here
  • 'Differing Idea of International Law'. In: The Sydney Morning Herald, 27.10.2012. Available here


19 Mar 2024

Comparative International Legal Policy: National Political Approaches towards International Legal Order

Dienstagsrunde, MPIL.


12 Oct 2023

“Comparative International Legal Policy” and International Legal Order

Fudan University Law School


11 Sep 2023

The German National Security Strategy and International Legal Order’s Contested Political Framing

Montagsrunde, MPIL


10 May 2023

Integrating the "Indo-Pacific", the "Rules-Based Order" and International Law

Asia/Indo-Pacific Forum, MPIL.


08 May 2023

The Weaponisation of State Recognition in the Russo-Ukrainian War

Montagsrunde, MPIL.


24 Feb 2023

Book Talk: American Foreign Policy Ideology and the International Rule of Law

The Glasgow Centre for International Law and Security, The University of Glasgow.


Information here

07 Nov 2022

“Honour Codes” as Normative Justification: Targeted Killings in US Foreign Policy and the Limits of International Law

Montagsrunde, MPIL.


18 Oct 2022

Changing the International Legal Order from Within: The Vulnerable Political Foundations of International Law

Dienstagsrunde, MPIL.


11 Oct 2022

Statehood, Human Rights, Geopolitics: Towards a More Integrated and Coherent Approach

'Sea-Level Rise in Relation to International Law: Addressing Challenges, Rethinking Concepts', 7th Joint Workshop of the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law and The German Foreign Office.


30 May 2022

The Indo-Pacific and International Legal Order: The Role of Regional Strategies and Security Partnerships

Workshop 'Global Security and the International Rule of Law: Interdisciplinary Perspectives', Berlin Potsdam Research Group.


Information here

28 Feb 2022

The Joint Russian-Chinese Statement on "International Relations Entering a New Era" and the Future of Global Legal Order

Referentenbesprechung, MPIL.


21 May 2021

The Jurisprudence of the Rules-Based Order

ANU Geoeconomics Working Group Seminar. Hosted by School of Regulation and Global Governance, ANU. Information here

09 Nov 2020

Partnering for Peace: NATO’s Role in the Rules-Based Multilateral Order

NATO 2030 Youth Summit. Co-hosted by North Atlantic Treaty Organization and Munich Security Conference. Available here

06 Feb 2019

The Economic Pillars of China’s Rules-based International System

Roundtable, UK Cabinet Office. Hosted by Asia-Pacific Programme, Chatham House.


27 Feb 2018

The Future of Chinese Foreign Policy: Implications for International Law

Workshop, China and Global Governance: Between the International Rule of Law and the International Rule of Power. Co-hosted by Queen Mary University of London, Maastricht University and Chatham House.


Information here

02 Nov 2017

China’s Push to Shape the International Legal Order

Workshop, China ‘Leans In’ on International Law. Hosted by Mercator Institute for China Studies.


17 Mar 2015

Legal Dimensions of the War in Syria

Syria: Four Years of Humanitarian Intervention, University of Sydney.




Power, Politics and the International Order; Public International Law. Institute of Sustainability Governance, Leuphana University Lüneburg.


Public International Law (lecturer and academic tutor). Sydney Law School, University of Sydney.


Public International Law. UNSW Law School, University of New South Wales.


U.S. Politics: Presidency & Congress (lecturer and academic tutor). United States Studies Centre, University of Sydney.


Introduction to International Relations; Strategic Studies; International Organisations & Political Cooperation (academic tutor). School of Political Science and International Studies, UQ.


Introduction to American Politics (academic tutor). Griffith University, Brisbane.

Participation in Conferences at Home and Abroad

Comparative International Legal Policy: National Political Approaches towards International Legal Order (co-coordinator) conference program, Harnack House, Berlin, 05.06.2024 - 06.06.2024

'"Comparative International Legal Policy" and the Legalisation of Foreign Relations in China'. International Symposium on Legalisation of Foreign Relations in China conference program, Wuhan University Institute of International Law and Fudan University Center for International Law, Wuhan, Hubei Provence, China, 14.10.2023

'Comparative International Legal Policy: Envisioning Foreign Policies for Constructing and Contesting International Legal Order'. The 16th Pan-European Conference on International Relations, European International Studies Association, University of Potsdam, Potsdam, 05.09.2023 - 09.09.2023

'Integrating the "Indo-Pacific", the "Rules-Based Order" and International Law'. The Law of the Sea and the Social Construction of Oceanic Space: "Indo-Pacific" and Other Maritime Geopolitical Discourses, German Institute for International and Security Affairs/Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik (SWP), Berlin, 04.09.2023 - 05.09.2023

'The Russo-Ukrainian War as a "Wedge Strategy" for Remaking the International Order'. Ukraine and the Post-Liberal International Order after the Zeitenwende conference program, Faculty of Law; Institute for International and Foreign Constitutional Law, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland, 15.06.2023 - 16.06.2023

'The Geopolitics of a Regional Rules-Based Order: Promoting Strategic Balance in Sri Lankan International Legal Policy'. Workshop on Sri Lanka’s Evolving Crisis: Implications on Rule of Law and Constitutional Democracy, National University of Singapore Institute of South Asian Studies and Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung Rule of Law Programme, Singapore, 14.11.2022 - 15.11.2022

'The Thin Resilience of International Legal Order: Vulnerabilities in the Political Function of International Law'. Change and Resilience in International Law, Geneva Graduate Institute, Geneva, Switzerland, 06.10.2022 - 08.10.2022

'The Jurisprudence of the Rules-Based Order: Innovating Norms of Global Conduct Consistent but Not Binding Under International Law'. Twenty-Eighth Australian and New Zealand Society of International Law Conference conference program, ANU, Canberra, 30.06.2021 - 07.07.2021

'The Law and Politics of Australian Free Trade Agreements'. International Conference on Investment, Trade and Legal Issues concerning China (Guangxi) Pilot Free Trade Zone, Guangxi University, Nanning, 30.11.1019 - 01.12.2019

‘From Universal Order to Geolegal Orders: Fragmentation in The International Rule of Law’. Fourteenth Annual Conference of the European Society of International Law conference program, University of Manchester, Manchester, 13.09.2018 - 15.09.2018

‘The Politics of Law in the South China Sea: Competing Conceptions of the “Rules-Based Order”’. Twenty-Fourth Australian and New Zealand Society of International Law Conference, ANU, Canberra, 30.06.2016 - 02.07.2016

‘Legal Purity & Political Contamination in American International Law Policy’. Sixth Annual Melbourne Doctoral Forum on Legal Theory, University of Melbourne Law School, Melbourne, 09.12.2013 - 10.12.2013

'Competing Conceptions of the Rule of International Law'. International Law Colloquium, Looking Ahead: Cross-Cutting Issues in International Law, Commonwealth Attorney-General's Department, Canberra, 30.11.2012 - 30.11.2012


Delegate (Australia), Seoul Academy of International Law, Korea National Diplomatic Academy, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea, 03.07.2017 - 14.07.2017


Government Citations

'U.S.-China Strategic Competition in South and East China Seas: Background and Issues for Congress'. Congressional Research Service Report, R42784, 18 January 2022. Available here

Commonwealth of Australia, Parliamentary Debates. Senator Kimberley Kitching (Chair of Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade References Committee), Senate, 1 December 2020, 6373-5. Available here

'The United Nations and Implementing Standards and Norms for Peace and Security in 2045'. Senator Kimberley Kitching, United Nations 2045 Roundtable: The UN at 100, 23 September 2020. Available here

'Timor Sea Treaties Show Australia's Commitment to Rules-Based Order'. Allaster Cox (First Assistant Secretary, South-East Asia Maritime Division, Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade), The Interpreter, 4 March 2016. Available here

Scholarly Citations

Indo-pacific Security: Us-china Rivalry And Regional States’ Responses. Nicholas Kay Siang Khoo, Germana Nicklin and Alexander C. Tan (eds.). World Scientific, 2024. Available here

Reimagining the International Legal Order. Vesselin Popovski and Ankit Malhotra (eds.). Routledge, 2023. Available here

The Future of the International Criminal Court: Reform, Consensus, and Relations with the USA. Iseghohime Daniel Ehighalua. Routledge, 2023. Available here

Economic Constitutionalism in a Turbulent World. Achilles Skordas, Gábor Halmai and Lisa Mardikian (eds.). Edward Elgar, 2023. Available here

'The Rules-Based Order as Rhetorical Entrapment: Comparing Maritime Dispute Resolution in the Indo-Pacific'. Rebecca Strating, Contemporary Security Policy, 27 April, 2023. Available here

'The Choice Before Us: International Law or a "Rules-Based International Order"?'. John Dugard, Leiden Journal of International Law, Vol. 36(2), 2023, 223-232. Available here

‘Not a Threat, an Opportunity: Regional Approaches and the Future of International Law’. Apollin Koagne Zouapet, South African Yearbook of International Law, Available here

'(Ir-)Relevance of ius cogens? Legal Consequences of ius cogens in Russia’s War of Aggression Against Ukraine'. Felix Herbert, Zeitschrift für ausländisches öffentliches Recht und Völkerrecht/Heidelberg Journal of International Law, Vol. 83, 2023, 461-487. Available here

‘The Order of Law-Based vs. Rules-Based: The Competition in Space Order between China and the United States’. He Qisong, Advances in Space Research, 2023. Available here

The United States and International Law: Paradoxes of Support across Contemporary Issues. Lucrecia García Iommi and Richard W. Maass, University of Michigan Press, 2022. Available here

Australia on the World Stage: History, Politics, and International Relations. Bridget Brooklyn, Benjamin T. Jones and Rebecca Strating (eds.), Routledge, 2022. Available here

'Australia's Maritime Security Challenges: Juggling International Law and Informal Agreements in an International Rules-Based Order'. Natalie Klein, International Law Studies, Vol. 99(1), 2022, 375-407. Available here

'Global Power Shifts and International Law'. Dennis R. Schmidt. In: Power Transition in the Anarchical Society, Tony B. Knudsen and Cornelia Navari (eds.). Palgrave Macmillan, 2022, 179-201. Available here

'The Rules-Based Order, International Law and the British Indian Ocean Territory: Do as I Say, Not as I Do'. Samuel Bashfield and Elena Katselli Proukaki, German Law Journal, Vol. 23, 2022, 713-737. Available here

'Superpower Responsibility, China, the South China Sea and the COVID-19 Pandemic'. LE Hai Binh, International Journal of China Studies, Vol. 12(1), 2022, 47-64. Available here

'Threat Inflation and the Chinese Military'. Michael D. Swaine, Quincy Paper No.7, 2 June . Available here

'South China Sea Issue: Enhancing the Rule of Law under the US-China Competition'. Chihiro Shikata, Research Papers, Griffith Asia Institute, 2022. Available here

'Law v. War: ICC Ruling: Russia Must Stop the War against Ukraine'. Simon Gauseweg, Osteuropa, May(1-3), 2022, 101-117. Available here

'Die Fundamente der heutigen Völkerrechtsordnung – Eine Bekräftigung anlässlich des Ukraine-Kriegs'. Thomas Giegerich, Saar Expert Paper, 03/2022 DE, March 2022. Available here

'Krieg gegen die Ukraine: Überraschungen, Handlungsoptionen, Implikationen und "Realpolitik"'. Thomas Wiegold, Sicherheitshalber (Podcast), Episode 55, 18 March 2022. Available here

New Asian Disorder: Rivalries Embroiling the Pacific Century. Lowell Dittmer, Hong Kong University Press, 2022. Available here

'Challenges Facing Diplomacy, Information, War, and International Law: The Role, Convergence, and Diffusion of International Law Claims at the UN Surrounding the Ukraine Crisis'. Bae Jong-in, Journal of International Law (Korean Society of International Law), Vol. 67, 2022, 83-116. Available here

The Crime of Aggression under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. Carrie McDougall, Cambridge University Press, 2nd ed., 2021. Available here

Competing Visions of International Order in the South China Sea'. International Crisis Group, Asia Report No. 315, 29 November 2021. Available here

Governing Uncertainty. David Passarelli & Adam Day, United Nations University, Centre for Policy Research, March 2021. Available here

States, Civilisations and the Reset of World Order. Richard Higgott, Routledge, 2021. Available here

India–Vietnam Relations: Development Dynamics and Strategic Alignment. Reena Marwah and Lê Thị Hằng Nga, Springer, 2021. Available here

'The Concept "Rules-Based Order" in International Legal Discourses'. Alexander N. Vylegzhanin, Moscow Journal of International Law, Vol. 2, 2021, 35-60. Available here

'The Concept of "Rules" in the Doctrine of "The World (International) Order based on Rules"'. Boris Ivanovich Nefedov, Russia and the Modern World, Vol. 3(112), 2021, 6-21. Available here (Russian Language)

'Zur Komplementarität von Völkerrecht und Politik'. Michael Fuchs, ZfP Zeitschrift für Politik, Vol. 68(2), 2021, 145-166. Available here

'Völkerrecht unter Stress'. Michael Fuchs, Recht und Politik, Vol. 57(1), 2021, 39-45. Available here

'"Lawcraft": China’s Evolving Approach to International Law and the Implications for American National Security'. Matthew H. Ormsbee, Fordham Law Review Online, Vol. 90(1), 2021.Available here

'Why Consistency Matters in Preserving the Rules-Based Order'. Don McLain Gill, Australian Journal of Maritime & Ocean Affairs, 2021. Available here

'The Demise of ‘Pragmatism’? Assessing the Public Debate on Australia’s Engagement with China'. Priya Chacko & Rebecca Strating, Australian Journal of Politics & History, Vol. 67(3/4), 2021, 421-438. Available here

'The US Sanctions Against ICC Personnel: Just an Aberration Attributable to a Now-Defunct, Populist "Regime"?'. Stefano Silingardi, Diritto Penale Contemporaneo – Rivista Trimestrale, Vol. 2, 2021, 205-219. Available here

'Regional Approaches to International Law (RAIL): Rise or Decline of International Law?'. Apollin Koagne Zouapet, KFG Working Paper Series, No. 46, April 2021. Available here

Jus ad Bellum: The Law on Inter-State Use of Force. Stuart Casey-Maslen, Bloomsbury Publishing, 2020. Available here

'Informal International Law-Making in the ASEAN: Consensus, Informality and Accountability'. Winfried Huck, Zeitschrift für ausländisches öffentliches Recht und Völkerrecht/Heidelberg Journal of International Law, Vol. 80, 2020, 101-138. Available here

'China’s Territorial Disputes: The Ongoing Quest for Viable Explanatory Framework'. Roda Mushkat, Willamette Journal of International Law and Dispute Resolution, Vol. 27, 2020, 103-168. Available here

'Securing the "Rules-Based Order" in the Indo-Pacific: The Significance of Strategic Narrative'. Caitlin Byrne, Security Challenges, Vol. 16(3), 2020, 10–15. Available here

'Challenges in Institutionalizing Rules-based Order in the Indo-Pacific: Defending or Reordering the Status Quo'. Ngaibiakching, Journal of Indo-Pacific Affairs, December 2020, 36-41. Available here

'Can Multilateral Cooperation be Saved?'. Rhodes Forum Report, Dialogue of Civilizations Research Institute, 2020. Available here

'»America First«: Wie Präsident Trump das Völkerrecht strapaziert'. Christian Schaller, Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik-Studie 27, December 2019. Available here

'High Tide in the South China Sea: Why the Maritime Rules-Based Order is Consequential'. Pratnashree Basu, Observer Research Foundation Issue Brief, No. 325, November 2019. Available here

'Modern Self-Defense: The Use of Force against Non-Military Threats'. Jose Luis Aragon Cardiel, Amanda Davis & Lauranne Macherel, Columbia Human Rights Law Review, Vol. 49(3), 2018, 99-182. Available here

'A Balanced Threat Assessment of China’s South China Sea Policy'. Benjamin Herscovitch, Cato Institute, No. 820, 28 August 2017. Available here

'Artificial Islands, Artificial Highways and Pirates'. Edwin Bikundo, Asia-Pacific Journal of Ocean Law and Policy, Vol. 2(1), 2017, 140-166.Available here

'Explaining the Turmoil at the Top of Australian Politics and the Implications for India'. Alan Bloomfield, India Quarterly, Vol. 72(3), 2016, 290-303. Available here

'Ungebetene Gäste–Zum Eingreifen auf Einladung in der Ukraine 2014'. Heike Krieger, Die Friedens-Warte, Vol. 89(1/2), 2014, 125-151. Available here

Media Citations

'Vaccine Passports: Why Europe Loves Them and the US Loathes Them'. In: The Christian Science Monitor, 06.06.2021. Available here

'Fact File: Your Questions on the Trans-Pacific Partnership Answered'. In: RMIT ABC Fact Check, 10.10.2016. Available here

'Why is Guantanamo Bay so Hard to Shut Down?'. In: triple j Hack, 24.02.2016. Available here

'Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank: The $US100b Questions'. In: ABC News, 02.04.2015. Available here