Professor Alexander Orakhelashvili

Photo of Dr Alexander Orakhelashvili

Birmingham Law School
Professor of International Law

Contact details

Birmingham Law School
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT
United Kingdom

Professor Alexander Orakhelashvili has taught and researched public international law at four British universities over the past 20 years. His teaching also includes elements of criminal law and jurisprudence. He is a frequent speaker at international conferences and seminars on developments in public international law, and has given invited papers at the events and conferences held in UK, USA, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and Japan. He has provided legal advice regarding public international law issues in litigation before English and American courts. In 2022 Routledge published his 9th edition of Akehurst’s Modern Introduction to International Law – one of the leading British textbooks of international law.


  • LLB (Tbilisi State University), 1997
  • LLM (Leiden), 2000
  • PhD (Cantab.), 2005


Professor Orakhelashvili obtained his first law degree from Tbilisi State University in 1997, his master’s degree from Leiden University in 2000 and his PhD from Cambridge University in 2005, and joined the School of Law in September 2009. Previously, he was Shaw Foundation Junior Research Fellow in Law at Jesus College, Oxford (2005-2008). He has taught and supervised in public international law and armed conflicts law at the universities of Cambridge (2003-2004), London (2003-2005) and Oxford (2005-2008).



  • Public International Law (LLM, module leader)
  • International Dispute Resolution (LLB final year, module leader)
  • Public International Law (LLB final year)
  • Legal theory (LLB)
  • Issues in International Criminal Justice (LLM)

Postgraduate supervision

Professor Orakhelashvili has supervised or is currently supervising doctoral students undertaking research in the following areas:
• Aut dedere aut judicare as a customary rule
• The UN member states and individuals sharing international responsibility for the serious violation of international law committed during peace support operations
• Iran and Nuclear non-proliferation
• John Austin’s theory of law
• Implications of New Technology for Targeting under International Humanitarian Law

Find out more - our PhD Law  page has information about doctoral research at the University of Birmingham.


Professor Orakhelashvili’s research focuses on all areas of public international law. He has published 10 books, including 6 sole-authored monographs, a textbook and 3 edited collections. An expanded version of his doctoral thesis has been published as Peremptory Norms in International Law (OMIL, OUP 2006, paperback 2008, 657 pages), which is the first and so far the only comprehensive study of the complex phenomenon of peremptory norms in the international legal system. This was followed by

  • The Interpretation of Acts and Rules in Public International Law (OMIL, OUP 2008, 620 pages), which is first and so far the only comprehensive work on interpretation encompassing not only international treaties but also other international legal acts such as unilateral declarations, reservations, Security Council resolutions and declarations accepting the International Court’s jurisdiction.
  • the first ever comprehensive monograph on Collective Security (OUP, 2011), a comprehensive study of the operation of universal and regional security institutions and their dynamic mutual interaction.
  • Domesticating Kelsen – Towards the Pure Theory of English Law (Edward Elgar), a study of Kelsen's pure theory of law as applied to English legal system and demonstrates the pure theory's full suitability to examine pertinent issues arising in Englis hlaw, despite the long-standing doctrinal scepticism on this matter.
  • International Law and International Politics – Foundations of Interdisciplinary Analysis (Edward Elgar, 2020, 320pp), which examines ultimate systemic foundations of international affairs that determine the practical dynamics of both international law and international politics.
  • Causation in International Law (Elgar 2022), the only comprehensive study of this phenomenon through the prism of international legal reasoning.

Professor Orakhelashvili has also published three edited collections and contributed about 90 articles and chapters to leading journals, yearbooks and edited collections. His work has been repeatedly cited by judges in national and international courts, for instance in 2004 by Mance LJ (as he then was) in the Court of Appeal decision on Jones v Saudi Arabia, as well as the Australian High Court, European and Inter-American Courts of Human Rights.

He authored the 8th and 9th editions of Akehurst’s Modern Introduction to International Law (2018 and 2022, respectively),  one of the UK's leading international law textbooks.

Other activities

  • International law stream leader, LLM programme
  • Professor Orakhelashvili is a member of editorial boards of the Journal of the Use of Force in International Law and of Jus Gentium: A Journal of International Legal History.


Recent publications


Orakhelashvili, A 2022, Akehurst's Modern Introduction to International Law. 9th edn, Routledge, London.

Orakhelashvili, A 2022, Causation in International Law. Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd.

Orakhelashvili, A 2020, International law and international politics: foundations of interdisciplinary analysis: research monograph. Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd., Cheltenham.

Orakhelashvili, A 2020, Research Handbook on Theory and History of International Law, 2nd edition, hardback 2020, paperback 2022. vol. 2nd edition, hardback 2020, paperback 2022, 2nd edition, hardback 2020, paperback 2022 edn, Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd., Cheltenham.


Orakhelashvili, A 2023, 'Multilateral Diplomacy and International Law: 19th Century Great Power Concert and the United Nations in a Comparative Perspective', Chinese Journal of International Law, vol. 22, no. 3, pp. 435-477.

Orakhelashvili, A 2021, 'Adjudicating racial discrimination claims: issues of jurisdiction and admissibility in Ukraine v Russia', Moscow Journal of International Law, vol. 32 (2021), no. 1, pp. 57-69.

Orakhelashvili, A 2021, 'Enemy at the court: Carl Schmitt's theory of friend-enemy relations and UK courts' (non)use of international law in domestic litigation', Archiv des Völkerrechts, vol. 59, no. 3, pp. 231-250.

Orakhelashvili, A 2021, 'Parliamentary sovereignty before and beyond Brexit', Vienna Journal on International Constitutional Law, vol. 15, no. 4, pp. 435-464.

Orakhelashvili, A 2021, 'Political life of treaties: indeterminacy, interpretation and political consequences', Chinese Journal of International Law, vol. 20, no. 3, pp. 545-560.

Orakhelashvili, A 2020, 'The Attribution Decision Adopted by the opcw’s Conference of States Parties and Its Legality:', International Organisations Law Review, vol. 17, no. 3, pp. 664.

Chapter (peer-reviewed)

Orakhelashvili, A 2020, Audience and Authority—The Merit of the Doctrine of Jus Cogens. in M den Heijer & H van der Wilt (eds), Netherlands Yearbook of International Law 2015. 1st edn, Netherlands Yearbook of International Law, vol. 46, T.M.C. Asser Press, pp. 115-145.


Orakhelashvili, A 2023, Populism, democracy and the integrity of international law. in C Focarelli (ed.), Human Society and International Law: Reflections on the Present and Future of International Law. Wolters Kluwer, pp. 251-274. <>

Orakhelashvili, A 2022, The League of Nations period. in E Myjer & T Marauhn (eds), Research Handbook on International Arms Control Law. Research Handbooks in International Law, Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd., pp. 56-66.,

Orakhelashvili, A 2022, The use of substantive international law by the EU judiciary. in KS Ziegler, R Jennings, PJ Neuvonen & V Moreno-Lax (eds), Research handbook on general principles in EU law. Research Handbooks in European Law series, Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd., pp. 62-81.

Orakhelashvili, A 2020, Origins, record and narratives: uses and abuses of international legal history: nw original chapter to 2nd edition of research handbook. in A Orakhelashvili (ed.) Research Handbook on Theory and History of International LAw. pp. 296.

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International law