Sir Y K Pao Chair in Public Law
Professor Carty studied law at Queen's University Belfast, London, and Cambridge. He has worked at the University of Paris, the Max Planck Institute in Heidelberg and has lectured at Edinburgh University and Glasgow University. Between 1994 and 2003 he was Eversheds Professor of International Law at the University of Derby, whereafter he was Professor of Law at the University of Westminster until taking up the Chair of Public Law at Aberdeen in 2006. He has held visiting positions at Max Planck Institute for European Legal History, the University of Tokyo, and the Autonomous University of Madrid. Professor Carty is now the holder of the Sir Y K Pao Chair of Public Law at the Faculty of Law of the University of Hong Kong.
While Professor Carty’s research focuses mainly on international law, his interests include the theory of international law, human rights, the theory of autonomous regions within states, such as Scotland, the Basque Country etc, law and development, law and literature and legal philosophy, especially the history of legal thought.
Professor Carty has published mainly in the field of critical theory and international law. The Decay of International Law (1986, MUP) was the first book length, systematic treatment of international law from this perspective. His article, Critical International Law, Recent Trends in the Theory of International Law, published in the 1991 volume of the European Journal of International Law, is discussed as a benchmark in the field. He is the author of innumerable subsequent articles and review articles on the same theme. In 2007, Professor Carty published Philosophy of International Law with Edinburgh University Press (see publications for reception).
At the same time he has a wider interest in legal philosophy, cultural and historical approaches to law. He has edited with Edinburgh University Press, a book, Post-Modern Law, Enlightenment, Revolution and the Death of Man (1990). In 1996 he published Was Ireland Conquered (Pluto Press), a work applying Stephen Greenblatt’s theories of literature and history to the history of Irish, Norman, Scottish and English relations in a colonial and imperial context. He is a co-editor of a French language Dictionnaire encyclopedie de theorie et de sociologie du droit, Paris, 1988, L.G.D.J., pp. 487.
He has also engaged in the problems of law and development, editing two volumes of articles and papers on the subject, in particular one with H. N Singer (economist), Conflict and Change in 1990's, Macmillan, London.
Since his time at Derby University, which purchased the private papers of Sir Gerald Fitzmaurice, a former British Foreign Office Legal Adviser and Judge of the International Court of Justice, Professor Carty has turned attention also to the National Archives in London to study the role of lawyers in the latter stages of the foreign affairs of the British Empire, concentrating on the Second World War, the Cold War and the End of Empire. This led to a joint volume with a historian Dr. Richard Smith, Sir Gerald Fitzmaurice and the World Crisis, A Legal Adviser in the Foreign Office, 1932-1945, published with Kluwer in 2000. In 2001 he received a grant from the AHRB to undertake research on legal advisers to the Foreign Office. He has also published many articles in this area. A further volume on the work of the British Foreign Officer Legal Advisers and Law Officers of the Crown is virtually complete, covering the period 1945-1961.
Since coming to the University of Hong Kong, Professor Carty has been pursuing a number of interests related to the history and philosophy of international law with increasing reference to China. He has taken part in numerous recent symposia and workshops on the history of international law in Lecce, Italy, Basel-Interlaken, Swizterland and Helsinki, Finland. These symposia manifest a strong interest in international law and empire, particularly the problems left over from colonialism. In addition, there was an invitation to speak to the Fudan Institute of Advanced Studies in Shanghai in December 2010 on philosophical foundations of international law http://xiaoxi.blog.fyfz.cn/art/892183.htm So the philosophical and historical work is increasingly connected with work on the history of imperialism and China in the 19th and early 20th century. Professor Carty was honored with an invitation from the China Institute of Maritime Affairs to participate in a Conference on the Law of the South China Sea in Beijing in August 2011, with a request, specifically to address historical questions. The (Chinese) National Institute for South China Seas Studies has invited Prof Carty to another such workshop in December 2011 in Haikou. With the assistance of Ms Cui, his Research Assistant in Hong Kong, and a colleague, Dr Humphrey Ko as Co-Investigator, Prof Carty has made a major funding application to the RGC-HK on the place of debates about international law in China from the late Qing Dynasty, 1839 till 1911. At the same time, in conjunction with Prof Janne Nijman’s (University of Amsterdam) successful application to the Netherland’s Royal Academy, Prof Carty has successfully applied to the Chiang Ching –Kuo Foundation (Taiwan) to facilitate a workshop on Morality and Responsibility of Rulers, Early Modern European and Chinese Origins of a Rule of Law for World Order. Oxford University Press has now agreed to publish a jointly edited book under this title. Finally, Prof. Carty accepted in 2010 the request of Oxford University Press to become Editor in Chief of the Oxford Online Bibliography of International Law. Each contributor of – roughly a 10,000 to 15,000 word entry – is expected to give a critical review of all the literature in his/her chosen field, i.e. sovereign immunity, in the style of a 20 to 40 page+ review article. This has now been launched and the first “run” consists of 46 entries, including one by Prof Carty on General Customary Law. This is a major administrative task, which is expected to continue for several years, producing each year forty to fifty new entries.