Centre for International Law Seminar: Assistance to a Countermeasure in International Law

31 May 2023, 2.00 PM - 31 May 2023, 3.00 PM

Room 1.13, 8-10 Berkeley Square

On 31 May 2023 the Centre for International Law welcomes Dr Miles Jackson to present a talk on whether it is lawful for a state to assist another state in taking a countermeasure. 


This paper asks whether it is lawful for a State (the assisting State) to help a second State (the assisted State) in taking a countermeasure against another State (the targeted State). And if so, under what conditions is it lawful?

This question has received attention recently in the context of cyber operations. For instance, Canada's recent statement on the application of international law to cyberspace proposes: 'Assistance can be provided on request of an injured State, for example where the injured State does not possess all the technical or legal expertise to respond to internationally wrongful cyber acts. However, decisions as to possible responses remain solely with the injured State.'

After clarifying the relationship between this issue of assistance and the ongoing issue of countermeasures in the general interest, the paper identifies the key question as whether the assisting state can rely in this situation on the assisted state's defence - that is, the lawful countermeasure's preclusion of the wrongfulness of the assisted state's conduct.

Drawing on work in criminal law theory, it asks whether the distinctions between (i) justifications and excuses and between (ii) agent-relative and agent-neutral permissions provide any guidance in answering the question.

This is an in-person event. 

If you have any queries about this event, please email law-research-exec@bristol.ac.uk


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