Dr Rumiana Yotova is a CRASSH Early Career Fellow 2017-18. She will be at CRASSH in Lent 2018.

‘The Public Policy of International Law’

At CRASSH, I will be working on my monograph on ‘The Public Policy of International Law’. The public policy of international law can be described as the mechanism through which the international legal order responds to serious violations of its fundamental norms. While there is general agreement that there are fundamental norms which protect the interests of the international community as a whole, such as the prohibition against genocide, unlawful use of force, torture and racial discrimination, the concrete consequences of their violation remain controversial. In international law, lacking in centralised law making or enforcement, there is a great need to conceptualise the scope and the consequences of the most serious violations of the legal order, as highlighted by the situations in Syria and Ukraine. It will be argued that public policy provides an appropriate framework to address this need and that it can help guide the responses of States, international organisations, courts and tribunals in the face of such violations. International public policy is triggered in exceptionally rare instances of very serious violations of the norms fundamental to the international legal system, which is why its application entails the most severe consequences ranging from non-recognition to sanctions and invalidity.

The book will explore the public policy of international law as a legal construct, including its origins in domestic law, its character, scope, the criteria for its identification and application in practice. The methodology will draw on the theory of sources of international law, in particular custom and general principles, as well as on comparative law and jurisprudence.


Rumiana is a fellow and director of studies in Law at Lucy Cavendish College and an Affiliated Lecturer at the Law Faculty, University of Cambridge. She lectures International Investment Law and EU External Relations, supervises international and constitutional law, and coaches the Cambridge Jessup team. Her research interests are in the areas of the sources of international law, international dispute settlement, investment law and international health law. Rumiana practices as a Door Tenant at Thomas More Chambers. Rumiana completed her PhD in Cambridge under the supervision of Prof. James Crawford and assisted him with cases as his Research Associate. Prior to this, she spent time at the Secretariat of the Permanent Court of Arbitration, the European Commission in Brussels and the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea. Rumiana did her Magister Juris at the University of Sofia, an LL.M Advanced in International Law at Leiden University and was awarded the Hague Academy Diploma in International Law cum laude. She was a founder and editor-in-chief of the Cambridge Journal of International and Comparative Law (now Cambridge International Law Journal). Rumiana is a fellow at the Lauterpacht Centre for International Law, a member of the Cambridge Centre for Law, Medicine and Life Sciences.


Tel: +44 1223 766886