International Court of Justice

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Current Members


Judge Kenneth Keith

(Member of the Court since 6 February 2006)

Born in Auckland, New Zealand, on 19 November 1937.

Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire for services to legal education and law reform. Order of New Zealand.

Studied law (1956-1965) at the University of Auckland, Victoria University of Wellington and Harvard Law School, qualifying for LL.B. and LL.M. degrees; Honorary LL.D. degrees, University of Auckland 2001 and Victoria University of Wellington 2004.

Barrister and Solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand (1961); Queen's Counsel (1994).

Faculty member, Victoria University of Wellington (1962-1964, 1966-1991); Dean (1977-1981); now Professor Emeritus; also Visiting Professor at Osgoode Hall Law School, Toronto (1981-1982).

Member of the Legal Division, New Zealand Department of External Affairs (1960-1962); Member of the Office of Legal Affairs (Codification Division) of the United Nations (1968-1970), primarily undertaking research for the International Law Commission and working with the Sixth Committee of the General Assembly, including the Committee on Friendly Relations; student intern in that Division (1965); Member of the New Zealand Law Commission (1986-1996, President 1991-1996).

Judge of the New Zealand Court of Appeal (1996-2003), and of the newly established Supreme Court of New Zealand ( 2004-2006); at various times Judge of Appeal in Samoa, the Cook Islands, Niue and Fiji; Member of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, London.

Member of the New Zealand legal team in the Nuclear Tests cases before the International Court of Justice 1973, 1974 and 1995; leader of the New Zealand delegation to two of the sessions of the Diplomatic Conference which prepared the 1977 additional protocols to the Geneva Conventions; member of the New Zealand National Group of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (1985-2007); member of the panel of arbitrators of the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (1994-); President (2002-2006) and member (1991-2006) of the International Humanitarian Fact-Finding Commission under the first additional Protocol to the Geneva Conventions for the Protection of War Victims; member of the international arbitral tribunals in the Rainbow Warrior (1990) (New Zealand v. France) and Southern Bluefin Tuna (2000) (Australia and New Zealand v. Japan) cases; and Chair of NAFTA, ICSID, and other international tribunals.

Named lectures include Cook Memorial (New Zealand Bankers Association), Sir John Marshall Memorial (Wellington District Law Society), F. W. Guest Memorial (University of Otago), Brainerd Currie Memorial (Duke University), Harkness Henry ( University of Waikato), Frank Stuart Dethbridge Memorial (Maritime Law Association of Australia and New Zealand) and Sir David Williams ( University of Cambridge).

Member of the Board of Editors of the Public Law Review (Melbourne), New Zealand Law Review (Auckland), Commonwealth Law Bulletin (London), Oxford University Commonwealth Law Journal, New Zealand Journal of Public and International Law (Wellington) and New Zealand Yearbook of International Law.

President of the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs (2000 -2007); Counsellor of Honour and International Humanitarian Law Consultant, New Zealand Red Cross; Member of the Public and Administrative Law Reform Committee (1972-1986), the Committee on Official Information (1978-1980), the Royal Commission on the Electoral System (1985-1986) and the Legislation Advisory Committee (1986-1996).

Member, American Law Institute; Honorary Member, Society of Legal Scholars (England); Honorary Bencher of the Inner Temple; Fellow, Legal Research Foundation (New Zealand); Member, American Society of International Law; Member, British Institute of International and Comparative Law; Australian and New Zealand Society of International Law; Member, International Institute of Strategic Studies; Member, International Law Association and member (2003-) and associé (1997-2003) of the Institut de Droit International.

Publications on international law include:

“ New Zealand Treaty Practice: The Executive and the Legislature”, NZULR, Vol. 1, 1964, p. 272; “ International Law and New Zealand Municipal Law”, in J. F. Northey (ed.) A. G. Davis Essays in Law, 1965; “ Succession to Bilateral Treaties by Seceding States”, AJIL, Vol. 61, 1967, p. 521; “The Role of Law in the United Nations”, VUWLR, Vol. 4, 1967, p. 116; The Extent of the Advisory Jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice, 1971; Defence perspectives: Papers read at the 1972 Otago Foreign Policy School, 1972, editor and introduction; “ Land and Sea Frontier Problems in South-East Asia”, in Hedley Bull (ed.) Asia and the Western Pacific: Towards a New International Order, 1975, p. 87; “ The Nuclear Tests cases after Ten Years”, VUWLR, Vol. 14, 1983, p. 345; “ A New Zealand Perspective on Globalisation”, in Alston and Chiam (eds.) Treatymaking and Australia - Globalisation versus Sovereignty?, 1995, p. 283; “ The Advisory Jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice: Some Comparative Reflections”, Aust YBIL, Vol. 17, 1996, p. 39; “ Application of International Human Rights Law in New Zealand”, Texas ILJ, Vol. 32, 1997, p. 401 (also published in Judicial Colloquium in Georgetown, Guyana 1996 Developing Human Rights Jurisprudence, Vol. 7, 1998); “ The Impact of International Law on New Zealand Law” (Harkness Henry Lecture), Waikato LR, 1998, Vol. 6. ; “ The International Law Commission’s Work and the Shaping of International Law”, in Proceedings of the United Nations Colloquium on Progressive Development and Codification of International Law, 1998; “ Roles of the Courts in New Zealand in Giving Effect to International Human Rights - with some History: Seminar Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights”, VUWLR, Vol. 29, 1999, p. 27 and NZACL Yearbook, Vol. 4, 1998, p. 27; “ Rights and Responsibilities: Protecting the Victims of Armed Conflict”, Duke LJ, Vol. 48, 1999, p. 1081; “ Freedom of Information and International Law”, in Jack Beatson and Yvonne Cripps (eds.) Freedom of Expression and Freedom of Information: Essays in Honour of Sir David Williams, 2000; “ Piracy and other Perils: Can the Law Cope?”, Journal of Maritime Law Association of Australia and New Zealand, Vol. 16, 2002; “ Sovereignty at the Beginning of the 21st Century: Fundamental or Outmoded?”, Camb LJ, Vol. 63, 2004, p. 581; “Protecting Human Rights in a Time of Terror: the Role of National and International Law”, Waikato LR, Vol. 13, 2005, p. 22; “The World Community and its Law ”, NZULR, Vol. 22, 2006, p. 2; “Permanent Court of Arbitration, The Hague”, in C. Saunders and T. McCormack (eds.) Sir Ninian Stephen : A Tribute, 2007; “The ICJ - Some Reflections on my First Year”, NZJPIL, Vol. 5, 2008, p. 201; “The International Court of Justice – Primus Inter Pares?”, International Organizations Law Review, Vol. 5, 2008, p. 7; Interpreting Treaties, Statutes and Contracts, 2009; “Resolving International Disputes: The Role of Courts”, NZ Yearbook of IL, Vol. 7, 2009, p. 255; “International Court of Justice: Reflections on the Electoral Process”, Ch JIL, Vol. 9(1), 2010, p. 49; “The International Court of Justice and Criminal Justice”, ICLQ, Vol. 59, 2010, p. 895 ; “Thomas Buergenthal: Judge of the International Court of Justice (2000-2010), Leiden JIL, Vol. 24, 2011, p. 163 ; “Bilateralism and Community in Treaty Law and Practice - of Warriors, Workers and (Hook-) Worms” in Ulrich Fastenrath and others (eds), From Bilateralism to Community Interest: Essays in honour of Bruno Simma, 2011, ch. 46 ; “‘Naval Secrets’, Public Interest Immunity and Open Justice” in Bannelier and others, The ICJ and the Evolution of International Law: The Enduring Impact of the Corfu Channel Case, 2012; “International Law 1960 to 2010 : Now and Then”, Victoria University of Wellington Law Review, Vol. 43, 2012.

Other publications concern constitutional law, administrative law, the review and reform of the law and legal education. They include Essays on Human Rights, editor and chapter on “The Right to Protest”, 1968; International Implications of Race Relations in New Zealand, 1972; “ Race Relations and the Law in New Zealand”, Human Rights Journal, Vol. 6, 1973, p. 329; “ The Impact of American Ideas on New Zealand’s Educational Policy, Practice and Theory: the Case of Law”, VUWLR, Vol. 18, 1988, p. 327, also in David Philips and others (eds.) The Impact of American Ideas on New Zealand’s Educational Policy, Practice and Thinking, 1989); “ Lawyers and the Rule of Law: Lawyers in the Law Reform Process”, in 10th Commonwealth Law Conference: Conference Papers, Nicosia, Cyprus, 1993; “ Governance, Sovereignty and Globalisation: 5th Biennial Conference on the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions”, VUWLR, Vol. 28, 1998, p. 477; “ Introductory essay: Public Law in New Zealand”, NZJPIL, Vol. 1, 2003, p. 3; “ Administrative Law Developments in New Zealand as Seen Through Immigration Law”, in G. Huscroft and M. Taggart (eds.) Inside and Outside Canadian Administrative Law: Essays in honour of David Mullan, 2006; “New Zealand’s Constitution - Is it Brilliant or Odd?” in Sir Geoffrey Palmer (ed.) Reflections on the New Zealand Law Commission, 2007; “The Interplay with the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council” in Louis Blom-Cooper and others (ed.) The Judicial House of Lords, 2009.