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Dr James Summers


James Summers

Lancaster University

Bowland North



Tel: +44 1524 594511

Research overview

Dr Summers' research interests lie generally in international law and its construction. He has particular interests in the field of peoples' rights, self-determination and statehood and the related cross-disciplinary topic of nationalism. Dr Summers also have interests in the use of force and the laws of war, in international organisations and international environmental law

PhD supervision

Dr Summers is happy to supervise projects in any field of international law, but particularly areas in the field of peoples' rights, the use of force and international institutional law.

Current Teaching


LAW 257X International Law


LLM 220 Rights of Peoples, Minorities and Indigenous Peoples

LLM 221/d The Law of International Organisations and Institutions

Doctoral Supervision

Abdulmohsen Alothman

Pataramon Satalak

Bo Long

Alex Gough

Sylvia Adusu


Career details

Dr. James Summers lectures in international law and is the Director of the Centre for International Law and Human Rights at Lancaster University. He completed his doctorate at the University of Helsinki and has taught international law at the universities of Liverpool, Hull and Zambia. He lives in Lancaster with his wife and three children.

Editorial Roles

I have been a review editor for the Princeton Encylopedia of Self-determination and Associate Editor for the Finnish Yearbook of International Law.

I have written the self-determination entry for Oxford Bibliographies Online.


I am available for interviews on issues relating to international law and international affairs, especially national and ethnic conflicts.

Previous Media

BBC Radio 4. World Tonight Programme (on the future of the laws of war), 24 May 2016

BBC Radio 5 Live; BBC Radio Scotland and BBC local radio (John Kerry accuses IS of genocide), 17 March 2016.

BBC Radio 5 Live; BBC Radio Scotland and BBC Local radio (Report into killing of Alexander Litvinenko), 21 January 2016.

LBC; Deutsche Welle; BBC Radio Lancashire; BBC Radio Cumbria; The Telegraph (legality of British military intervention in Syria), 26 November - 3 December 2015.

ITV Good Morning Britain; Sky News; ABC News; TRT World; BBC Radio Lancashire (Report on MH17), 13 October 2015. 

BBC Radio Cumbria (on military action against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria), 25 September 2014.

BBC Radio Lancashire; BBC Radio Cumbria; BBC News Website; Financial Times; The Telegraph; Irish Times; Malaymail; Daily Record; The Mirror; Irish Mirror; Correio Braziliense; GS Noticias Website (on the shooting down of Malaysian Airliner MH-17), 18-26 July 2014.

The Telegraph Website; BBC News Website; Mail Online; Express Website (on Crimea), 20 March 2014.

Financial Times Website; The Times Website (on Crimea), 16 March 2014.

Daily Star Website (on Crimea), 6 March 2014.

Sky News (on the Russian Invasion of Crimea), 5 March 2014.

Analysis with Jonathan Steele, Islam TV (on NSA Spying), 5 November 2013.

Analysis with Jonathan Steele, Islam TV (on the Syrian conflict), 5 September 2013.

Analysis with Jonathan Steele, Islam TV (on the Syrian conflict), 30 August 2013.


Additional Information


"The Downing of Flight MH17: Jurisdiction and Responsibility" Talk for International Society for Military Law and the Law of War, UK Group, 20 May 2016

ILA British Branch Spring Conference, 8-9 April 2016


New Publications

Special Edition, 'Self-Determination, Resources and Borders' 22 International Journal on Minority and Group Rights (2015). 

James Summers, Peoples and International Law (Second Revised Edition), (Martinus Nijhoff, Leiden, 2014).

Caroline Harvey, James Summers and Nigel White (eds.), Comtemporary Challenges to the Laws of War: Essays in Honour of Professor Peter Rowe (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2014).


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