Alexander Orakhelashvili


Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

Dr 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


Research activity per year

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Personal profile


Dr 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).


Research interests

Dr Orakhelashvili’s research focuses on all areas of public international law. He is an author of Peremptory Norms in International Law (OMIL, OUP 2006, paperback 2008, 657 pages), the first and so far the only comprehensive study of the complex phenomenon of peremptory norms in the international legal system. He has also authored 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. He has also published the first ever comprehensive monograph on Collective Security (OUP, 2011), an original and comprehensive study of the operation of universal and regional security institutions and their dynamic mutual interaction. In 2019 Dr Orakhelashvili has published Domesticating Kelsen – Towards the Pure Theory of English Law (Edward Elgar), which examines the English legal system through the prism of Kelsen’s pure theory of law – a thesis which would before have been viewed with great scepticism. Most recently, Dr Orakhelashvili has published 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.

Dr Orakhelashvili has also contributed over 80 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.

Dr Orakhelashvili has authored the 8th edition of Akehurst’s Modern Introduction to International Law (2018),  one of the UK's leading international law textbooks.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions


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