If you wish to participate in this (remote) seminar, RSVP is necessary. Please complete the *form before noon Wednesday 24 February (please note that if you register after noon, a link cannot be sent to you).  Prior to the Thursday seminar, you will be sent a zoom link to join.  Practitioners, academics and students from within and outside the University of Oxford are all welcome. PIL Discussion Group Convenors: Xiaotian (Kris) Yu and Natasha Holcroft-Emmes.

On 27 January 2021, the UN Human Rights Committee ascertained the responsibility of Italy for failing to protect the right to life of more than 200 migrants who were on board a vessel that sank in the Mediterranean Sea in 2013. The HR Committee adopted a clear functional approach to jurisdiction based on the ‘special relationship of dependency’ between the individuals on a vessel in distress and the SAR state(s). This decision was also met with criticism by some members of the HR Committee who clearly dissented with this functional approach and considered that the adopted functional approach ‘might disrupt the legal order which the SOLAS and the SAR Conventions attempted to introduce.’

The present talk will dissect the reasoning of the HR Committee in light of the SOLAS and SAR Conventions in order to highlight the law of the sea underpinnings of a functional approach to jurisdiction. It will also emphasize how the recognition of a right to be rescued at sea strengthens the legal order created by the SOLAS and SAR Conventions.

Seline Trevisanut (PhD, University of Milan; MA, Paris I-Panthéon Sorbonne) is Professor of International Law and Sustainability at Utrecht University since 2018.  Before joining Utrecht in 2012 as Marie Skłodowska-Curie fellow, she taught and conducted research in various institutions, including Columbia University, the European University Institute, and UC Berkeley. Seline is a member of the Scientific Council of the Institut du droit économique de la mer and several editorial boards. Her publications include a monograph on Irregular migration by sea in international and EU law (Jovene 2012, in Italian), and edited volumes, inter alia, on Migration in the Mediterranean: Mechanism of International Cooperation (CUP 2015) and Regime Interaction in Ocean Governance: Problems, theories and methods (Brill 2020).


The PIL Discussion Group hosts a weekly speaker event and is a key focal point for PIL@Oxford.  Due to the current public health emergency, the PIL Discussion Group series will be held remotely for Hilary 2021. Speakers include distinguished international law practitioners, academics, and legal advisers from around the world. Topics involve contemporary and challenging issues in international law.  The speaker will commence at 12:45 and speak for about forty minutes, allowing about twenty-five minutes for questions and discussion. The meeting should conclude before 2.00pm. 

PIL Discussion Group Convenors: Xiaotian (Kris) Yu and Natasha Holcroft-Emmes

The group typically meets each Thursday during Oxford terms. 

Join the PIL Email List to receive information about the PIL Discussion Group meetings, as well as other PIL@Oxford news by sending a message to: pil-subscribe@maillist.ox.ac.uk (you do not need to write any text in the body of the message, or even put anything in the Subject: line unless your mailer insists on it). You will be sent a confirmation request, and once you reply to that, a message confirming your subscription will follow.

To leave the list, send a message* to: pil-unsubscribe@maillist.ox.ac.uk . You will be sent a confirmation request and your address will be removed once you reply. (* You must send the email from the same email address you used to join.)

Click here for our privacy policy link.