For three months over the summer 2014 Callum Musto was able to complete two legal internships supported by the Oxford Global Justice Internship Programme: Public International Law Intern, the Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House), London and Public International Law Intern, the British Institute of International and Comparative Law (BIICL), London.
In the first of these roles, as Public International Law Intern with the International Law Programme (ILP) at the Royal Institute for International Affairs (Chatham House), Callum completed both small and larger scale research into various topics in public international law. One of the standout experiences was his involvement in expanding an extant programme on China’s engagement with international law. His research spanned across a range of international law regimes including investment protection, trade law, international peace and security and law of the sea. He gained insight into how research centres such as Chatham House go about defining, planning and funding research projects, and learned a lot about how research in a policy-oriented context differs from legal academic research. The opportunity to assist in organising and running a House event on the International Criminal Court and complementarity in the context of persistent violence and instability in Libya was another remarkable opportunity. Among others, the event brought together international criminal lawyers, domestic and international judges, diplomats, human rights advocates and NGOs, all of whom brought unique insights into the policy and legal issues affecting the rule of law, rights protection and criminal justice in Libya.
The support he received from the Global Justice Programme also allowed him to provide editorial assistance on an on-going book project on the law of the sea at the British Institute for International and Comparative (BIICL). In working with BIICL’s international law Fellows and coordinating with contributors and external members of the editorial team, he gained really valuable insight into how complex legal book projects are managed, and developed an understanding of some of the challenges such projects can face. As a part of the large public international law section at BIICL, he also gained an understanding of the differences in the aims and audiences pursued by BIICL and Chatham House. Although both aim to promote the rule of law globally and emphasise the practical impacts of their events and legal research, as only one of many programmes, Chatham House’s ILP adopts a more policy-oriented, inter-disciplinary approach, whereas BIICL targets lawyers, whether in government, private practice, the non-government sector or the academy. Seeing the differences and similarities between the different approaches was rewarding and he learned a lot about maximising the practical impact of research in international law.
Callum advised that the experiences he gained over the course of his internships, both in developing his practical research and event management skills and the more general insights he gained into the roles, aims and workings of international legal policy research centres will be of great benefit to his future career as a legal commentator and practitioner within the field of public international law.