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Personal profile


Hilary Charlesworth was educated at the University of Melbourne and Harvard Law School. She currently holds an appointment as Harrison Moore Professor and Melbourne Laureate Professor at the University of Melbourne Law School.  She was Distinguished Professor and Director of the Centre for International Governance and Justice  at the School of Regulation and Governance (RegNet) at the Australian National University and is now Honorary Professor at RegNet. She has held visiting appointments at United States and European universities. She held an ARC Federation Fellowship from 2005-2010 and an ARC Laureate Fellowship (2010-2015).

She was President of the Australian and New Zealand Society of International Law (1997-2001). She is on the editorial boards of a number of international law journals and served as Co-Editor of the Australian Yearbook of International Law from1996-2006 and a member of the Board of Editors of the American Journal of International Law 1999-2009. She was joint winner of the American Society of International Law’s 2006 Goler T Butcher Medal in recognition of ‘outstanding contributions to the development or effective realization of international human rights law’ . She was elected to the Institut de Droit International in 2011. In 2016 Hilary was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the Université Catholique de Louvain in Belgium.

She has worked with various non-governmental human rights organisations on ways to implement international human rights standards and was chair of the Australian Capital Territory government's inquiry into an ACT bill of rights, which led to the adoption of the ACT Human Rights Act 2004.

She has served as a Judge of the International Court of Justice since late 2021.

Research interests

Hilary is intererested in the theory and practice of international law; and the development of human rights law, both at the international and the national levels. She has worked on many RegNet research projects, including 'Peacebuilding Compared', 'Building Justice and Democracy after Conflict', 'Rights, Ritualism and Regulation' and 'The UN Security Council and the Rule of Law'. Hilary is now working on a history of Australia's engagement with the International Court of Justice, and a project on 'The Art of International Law'.

Current student projects

PhD Panel member:

Felicity Grey




BA (Hons), LlB (Hons) (Melb), SJD (Harvard)

Researcher's projects


The Art of International Law

Australia and the International Court of Justice (ARC Discovery Project)

Rights, Regulation and Ritualism (ARC Laureate Fellowship)

Strengthening the rule of law through the United Nations Security Council (ARC Linkage Project)

Building Justice and Democracy after Conflict (ARC Federation Fellowship)

Expertise Areas

  • Human Rights Law
  • International Law (excl. International Trade Law)
  • Law and Society
  • Legal Theory, Jurisprudence and Legal Interpretation
  • History and Philosophy of Law and Justice


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