11 Nov 2019 12:30pm - 2:00pm CRASSH Meeting Room, CRASSH, Alison Richard Building, 7 West Road, Cambridge CB3 9DT


“The work in progress seminars were varied, stimulating and of  high intellectual calibre.”
 Susanne Hakenbeck (Archaeology), Early Career Fellow, Lent 2017

Part of the CRASSH Fellows Work in Progress Seminar Series. All welcome but please email Michelle Maciejewska to book your place and to request readings. A sandwich lunch and refreshments are provided.

Dr Federica Paddeu

Under international law, States can consent (within certain limits) to the use of force in their territories by other States. The substance of this general proposition is, on its own, uncontroversial in the practice of States and the writings of scholars. But the statement is not wholly unproblematic from the point of view of the structure of rules. For how is this permission rationalised by the legal order? Is the absence of consent a negative element of the definition of the rule (a ‘constituent requirement of the obligation’ in the words of the Articles on the Responsibility of States for Internationally Wrongful Acts) or is it a defence (more specifically, a justification)? Relying on insights from analytical jurisprudence on the concepts of offence and defence in domestic legal systems, I propose to assess the two alternative options. I will explain that any fact (such as consent) can be classified as a requirement of a rule or as a defence, and that the concepts of offence and defence cannot help determine where to place these facts. Where any given fact is located depends on other, often, extra-legal considerations: for example, the values of the particular society. Consider this example from domestic criminal law: Consent is a negative rule element in the domestic law offence of rape in western societies because it is non-consensual sex that these societies consider morally reprehensible. The classification of these facts as part of the rule or the defence can thus provide insights as to the normative background assumptions existing in that specific community or society. Where consent is placed in relation to the prohibition of force can, therefore, reveal the background normative assumption about the (im)permissibility of force in the international legal order. As will be argued, the mainstream position (that consent is a negative rule element of the prohibition of force) seems to go against the mainstream assumption that international law operates within a normative background assumption of prohibition of the use of force. 


Dr Federica Paddeu is a Law Fellow at Queens’ College and a fellow of the Lauterpacht Centre for International Law. She holds an undergraduate degree in law from Universidad Católica Andrés Bello (UCAB), in Caracas, Venezuela; an LLM and PhD in international law from Cambridge; and, a Post-Graduate Diploma in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education (PGDipLATHE) form the Oxford Learning Institute, University of Oxford. At Cambridge, she was awarded the Clive Parry Prize in International Law (for the top marks in international law in the LLM by a non-native speaker) and the Yorke Prize in recognition of the ‘exceptional quality’ of her PhD dissertation ‘which makes a substantial contribution to its field of legal knowledge’ by the Faculty of Law. Her PhD was published by CUP in 2018 as Justification and Excuse in International Law: Concept and Theory of General Defences and her research has been published in the top international law journals, including the British Yearbook of International Law and the Leiden Journal of International Law. Dr Paddeu frequently contributes to international law blogs and Venezuelan media outlets on matters involving international law. She has also authored and contributed to legal reports on human rights issues including, most recently a report on Protection of Children in Armed Conflict, published in 2018 by Hart, and prepared under the chairmanship and lead authorship of Shaheed Fatima QC (Blackstone Chambers), as part of the Inquiry on Protecting Children in Armed Conflict launched by the UN Special Envoy for Global Education and former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown, and produced a legal report which was published in 2018 by Hart as Protecting Children in Armed Conflict. In 2018 she was also a Research Associate of the Following Grenfell: The Human Rights and Equality Dimension of the Equality and Human Rights Commission. Dr Paddeu is the Director of Studies of the British Branch of the International Law Association and a member of the Academic Research Panel of Blackstone Chambers (London). Her main research interests are the law of State responsibility, in particular defences to State responsibility, the law on the use of force and the law of foreign investment.

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