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Before joining UCL, Ralph was a Supervisor in International Law at Trinity, Corpus Christi and St. Edmund’s Colleges, Cambridge, a Guest Lecturer at the Cambridge University Law Faculty, and the Henry Fellow and Visiting Scholar at Yale Law School.

Since joining UCL, Ralph has also been a Visiting Professor at the University of Texas Law School, an Adjunct Professor at Georgetown University Law Center, a Senior Global Research Fellow at NYU Law School, a Visiting Faculty Member at the Central European University in Budapest, a Senior Fellow at Melbourne University School of Law, a Visiting Professor at the University of California in Los Angeles, a Senior Visiting Researcher at the Fundação Casa Rui Barbosa, Rio de Janeiro, a Visiting Professor at the Federal University of Paraiba, João Pessoa, Brazil, a Visiting Professor at Tel Aviv University, Israel, a Visiting Research Professor at Al Quds University, Jerusalem, a Visiting Fellow at the British School in Athens, a Visiting Professor at the Fundação Getúlio Vargas in Rio de Janeiro, a Visiting Fellow at the Law Department at PUC-Rio, Rio de Janeiro, and a Visiting Fellow at the Human Rights Programme at Harvard Law School.

Ralph is a member of the Advisory Group (on equality and human rights) to the UK Judicial Appointments Commission (the body that makes recommendations to the UK government on the appointments of judges), a panellist for the UK Higher Education Equality Charter (Athena SWAN and Race Equality) assessments, an Evaluator (of research grant proposals) for the European Commission Research Executive Agency, a Senior Research Associate at the Refugee Law Initiative of the Human Rights Consortium of the University of London School of Advanced Studies, and a member of the International Law Association (ILA) Human Rights Committee, the UCL Migration Research Unit, the UCL Refuge in a Moving World Network, and the Advisory Panel on Public International Law of the British Institute for International and Comparative Law.

Ralph previously served as a member of the UK government university Research Excellence Framework (REF) assessment exercise Equality and Diversity Panel (2018-2019), Academic Secretary of the British Branch of the ILA, and as one of the two UK representatives on the international ILA Executive Council, from 2004-2011. He was also Rapporteur of the ILA Study Group on UN Reform, and Co-Rapporteur of the ILA Committee on Human Rights. He was formerly a Trustee and member of the Board of Directors of the AIRE (Advice on Individual Rights in Europe) Centre in London, and a member of the Advisory Board of the UCL Centre for International Courts and Tribunals, the Steering Committee of the UCL Institute for Human Rights, the UK Lawyers’ Committee of Peace Brigades International, the governing boards of the LSE and the University of London, the Executive Council of the American Society of International Law, the Executive Board of the European Society of International Law, the executive Committee of the UK Human Rights Lawyers’ Association, the Advisory Committee of International Lawyers for Africa, the Peer Review Council of the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council, and the Advisory Board of the ‘Legal Tools For Peace-Making’ Project at Cambridge University.

Ralph is a member of the editorial advisory boards of the Cambridge Journal of International and Comparative Law and the London Review of International Law. He was previously joint book review editor of the International and Comparative Law Quarterly, a member of the editorial boards of the Yale Journal of International Law and the Yale Human Rights and Development Law Journal, and a member of the editorial advisory boards of Current Legal Problems, the International Journal of Statebuilding and the journal Global Change, Peace & Security.

Research Summary


Ralph welcomes enquiries from prospective doctoral students. He is a Faculty member, UCL Faculty of Laws, and Affiliated Staff Member, UCL Sarah Parker Remond Centre for the Study of Racism and Racialisation. He is an expert in public international law, including international human rights law, and the interface between international law and related disciplines, including international relations, history, legal and political theory generally and critical, feminist and post-colonial theory in particular. His CV is linked on this page.

Ralph’s research has focused on the administration of territory by international organizations and the concept of trusteeship in international law and public policy. His book, International Territorial Administration: How Trusteeship and the Civilizing Mission Never Went Away (OUP), won the Certificate of Merit (prize) of the American Society of International Law. He is currently continuing his work on the extraterritorial application of human rights law leading the ‘Human Rights Beyond Borders’ project (see 'Research Activities'). Ralph also works on international law issues relating to the Israel-Palestine situation, for which he has been awarded a Research Fellowship by the British Academy Council for British Research on the Levant. In 2022 Ralph was awarded the Åland Islands Peace Institute Peace Fellowship, as a recognition of "outstanding and long-lasting work both in the Israel - Palestine context but also for other occupied, internationally administered and/or disputed territories which are several in our tormented world".

More generally, Ralph’s research covers the following: general international law; international human rights law; colonialism, occupation, the League of Nations Mandate System and the UN Trusteeship System, ‘state-building’ and ‘post-conflict reconstruction’; international support for constitutional reform and constitution-making, and human rights-based legal reforms generally, in 'post-conflict'/'transitional' states; forced migration, including refugees and IDPs; the administration of refugee/IDP camps by UNHCR; international organizations, including the UN, notably legal responsibility, applicable law, immunities and reform; human rights law and overseas aid policy; the relationship between different areas of international law; international legal theory; state immunity and its interface with international criminal law and international human rights law; the jurisdiction of the ICC human rights law in wartime and occupation situations, and its relationship to the law of armed conflict, occupation law, and rights/obligations emanating from UN Security Council resolutions; the law and practice of statehood and recognition of statehood, generally and relating to the former Yugoslavia, notably Kosovo; international interventions in the former Yugoslavia, especially Bosnia and Herzegovina, Eastern Slavonia and Kosovo; East Timor; Western Sahara; the Palestinian Territories; Jerusalem; West Irian; Leticia, Danzig and the Saar in the 1920s-30s; the Congo in the 1960s; South West Africa/Namibia.

Ralph has been awarded grants from the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council, the British Academy and the Nuffield Foundation, and a Research Fellowship from the Leverhulme Trust. In 2010, the Leverhulme Trust awarded him a Philip Leverhulme Prize, for UK-based academics under 40 judged to be ‘outstanding scholars who have made a substantial and recognized contribution to their particular field of study, recognized at an international level’. In 2012 Ralph was awarded a €1.1 million Research Frontier Grant from the European Research Council, funding the first phase of the ‘Human Rights Beyond Borders’ project, completed in 2021.  In 2021 he was awarded the annual Best Paper in International Law Prize by the International Studies Association.

Teaching Summary

1 Doctoral student supervision


-Alonso Gurmendi, Professor of International Law at Universidad del Pacífico, Lima, Peru and Visiting Professor at the University of Michigan

- Nabila Roukhamieh-McKinna

- Michael Nabil Ruprecht (as second supervisor, for the UCL Department of Education)


-Mathew Nicholson (now member of the Law Department, Durham University)

-Alejandro Carballo Lleyda (now General Counsel, International Energy Secretariat)

2 Decolonizing Law course

-UCL: LLM, from 2019, Convenor

3 Public International Law course

-UCL: LLB, 2002-10 (Co-Convenor, 2003–4), from 2019 (Convenor 2019-21)

-Cambridge: LLB tutorials for Trinity, Corpus Christi and St Edmund’s Colleges, 1999-2001

-Central European University, Budapest: undergraduate law degree course, Convenor, 2011 Georgetown University Law Center: JD, as Convenor, 2005-9

-LSE: LLB, 1999-2000

-Texas University Law School: JD, Convenor, 2004

4 Use of Force in International Law course

-UCL: LLM, from 2019, Convenor

5 International Human Rights Law course

-UCL: LLM course, 2002-10 (Convenor, 2002–6), from 2019 (Convenor 2019-21)

-Institute for Commonwealth Studies, University of London: guest lectures on MA course on ‘human rights law and practice’, 2000-2001

-SOAS, University of London: guest lectures on the LLM course on ‘human rights in the developing world’, 2000-2001

-University of Notre Dame Law School (in London): JD intensive summer course, Convenor, 2004

6 United Nations Law course

-UCL: LLM, Convenor, 2003–6

7 Human Rights Beyond Borders: the Extraterritorial Application of Human Rights Law course

-University of California in Los Angeles Law School: JD, Convenor, 2012 and 2019

-Fundação Getúlio Vargas in Rio de Janeiro: graduate law degree course, Convenor, 2017

-Federal University of Paraiba, João Pessoa, Brazil: graduate law degree course, Convenor, 2015

-European University Institute, Florence: summer course for undergraduate and graduate students, 2013

-Melbourne University: LLM, Convenor, 2011 and 2013

-Xiamen Academy of International Law: summer course for undergraduate and graduate students, and early-career academics, 2010

8 International Territorial Administration and Trusteeship Over People in International Law and Policy course

-Texas University Law School: JD, Convenor, 2004

9 European Human Rights Law course

-Cambridge University: guest lectures, LLB, 1999-2002

-UCL: LLM, 2008-10

10 War Law (use of force and IHL) course

-UCL: LLM, Convenor, 2007-10

11 External examining for other universities

Masters’ and doctoral dissertations at Cambridge, Essex, King’s College London, LSE, Oslo, Oxford, Tel Aviv.

External examiner on the LLM programme at LSE (current)

Academic Background
2003   Doctor of Laws Trinity College Cambridge
2000   Master of Arts City, University of London
1999   Master of Laws University of Cambridge
1998   Diplom European University Institute, Florence
1996   Diploma City, University of London
1995   Bachelor of Science London School of Economics and Political Science
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