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Matthew Windsor is Junior Research Fellow in Law at Hertford College, University of Oxford.

His research examines the interface between international law and public law, with a particular emphasis on the function and accountability of the executive branch in the constitution. His current research explores the role and professional responsibilities of government legal advisers, and the politics of legal expertise.

Matthew is the co-editor of Interpretation in International Law (OUP 2015), and his scholarship has appeared in a number of peer-reviewed journals, including the British Yearbook of International Law and the Leiden Journal of International Law. He has recently published chapters in International Law as a Profession (CUP 2017) and Law in Politics, Politics in Law (Hart 2013). Matthew also served as managing editor of the Cambridge Journal of International and Comparative Law.

His research has been selected for presentation at a variety of leading institutions and societies including the European Society of International Law, the Harvard Institute for Global Law and Policy, the London School of Economics, the University of Cambridge, the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law, the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, the University of Melbourne, the University of Helsinki, and the Socio-Legal Studies Association.

Prior to joining Oxford, Matthew was the recipient of the WM Tapp Studentship in Law at Gonville and Caius College to undertake a Ph.D. at the University of Cambridge Faculty of Law, under the supervision of Professor David Feldman QC and Judge James Crawford AC. His thesis is titled Advising States: The Government Lawyer in International Law, and will be submitted in April 2018.

At Cambridge, he taught Administrative Law, Civil Liberties and Human Rights, and Ethics and World Politics for the Faculty of Law and the Department of Politics and International Studies.

He received a B.A./LL.B. (Hons) from the University of Auckland, and a LL.M. from Columbia Law School, where he was a James Kent Scholar (summa cum laude). As the recipient of Columbia’s David W. Leebron Human Rights Fellowship, he worked as an associate at Open Society Justice Initiative in New York City, undertaking human rights litigation and advocacy before the European Court of Human Rights and the United Nations Human Rights Committee. He has also interned for the Vice Chair of the United Nations Committee Against Torture, worked as a barrister at Shortland Chambers, and as a Judge’s Clerk to Justice Grant Hammond at the Court of Appeal of New Zealand.


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  • M Windsor, 'The Use of Force and the Force of Advice: Government Lawyering in the Iraq Inquiry' (2018) British Yearbook of International Law (forthcoming)
  • M Windsor, 'Consigliere or Conscience? The Role of the Government Legal Adviser' in J d'Aspremont, T Gazzini, A Nollkaemper and W Werner (eds), International Law as a Profession (Cambridge University Press 2017)
    International law is not merely a set of rules or processes, but is a professional activity practised by a diversity of figures, including scholars, judges, counsel, teachers, legal advisers and activists. Individuals may, in different contexts, play more than one of these roles, and the interactions between them are illuminating of the nature of international law itself. This collection of innovative, multidisciplinary and self-reflective essays reveals a bilateral process whereby, on the one hand, the professionalisation of international law informs discourses about the law, and, on the other hand, discourses about the law inform the professionalisation of the discipline. Intended to promote a dialogue between practice and scholarship, this book is a must-read for all those engaged in the profession of international law.
    ISBN: 9781316492802
  • A Bianchi, D Peat and M Windsor, Interpretation in International Law (Oxford University Press 2015)
    DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198725749.001.0001
    International lawyers have long recognised the importance of interpretation to their academic discipline and professional practice. As new insights on interpretation abound in other fields, international law and international lawyers have largely remained wedded to a rule-based approach, focusing almost exclusively on the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties. Such an approach neglects interpretation as a distinct and broader field of theoretical inquiry. Interpretation in International Law brings international legal scholars together to engage in sustained reflection on the theme of interpretation. The book is creatively structured around the metaphor of the game, which captures and illuminates the constituent elements of an act of interpretation. The object of the game of interpretation is to persuade the audience that one's interpretation of the law is correct. The rules of play are known and complied with by the players, even though much is left to their skills and strategies. There is also a meta-discourse about the game of interpretation - 'playing the game of game-playing' - which involves consideration of the nature of the game, its underlying stakes, and who gets to decide by what rules one should play. Through a series of diverse contributions, Interpretation in International Law reveals interpretation as an inescapable feature of all areas of international law. It will be of interest and utility to all international lawyers whose work touches upon theoretical or practical aspects of interpretation.
    ISBN: 9780198725749
  • M Windsor, 'Narrative Kill or Capture: Unreliable Narration in International Law' (2015) Leiden Journal of International Law 743
    DOI: 10.1017/S0922156515000412
    This article evaluates the benefits of a ‘turn to narration’ in international legal scholarship. It argues that significant attention should be paid to the narrators who employ international law as a vocabulary to further their professional projects. Theories of unreliable narration help map consensus within international law's interpretive community in a manner that is acutely sensitive to point of view and perspective. The article examines the existence and extent of unreliable narration through a case study: the practice of targeted killing by the Obama administration in the United States. The struggle for control of the narrative, by narrators with different professional roles and cognitive frames, is ultimately a struggle for interpretive power, with the resulting ability to ‘kill or capture’ divergent narrative visions. Unreliable narration offers a critical heuristic for assessing how narratives are generated, sustained, and called into question in international law, while fostering reflexive inquiry about international law as a professional discipline.
  • D Peat and M Windsor, 'Playing the Game of Interpretation: On Meaning and Metaphor in International Law' in A Bianchi, D Peat and M Windsor (eds), Interpretation in International Law (Oxford University Press 2015)
  • D Peat and M Windsor, 'An Interpretive Turn to Practice?' (2014) Cambridge Journal of International and Comparative Law 444
  • M Windsor, 'Government Legal Advisers Through the Ethics Looking Glass' in David Feldman (ed), Law in Politics, Politics in Law (Hart Publishing 2013)
  • M Windsor, '(Pro)motion to Dismiss? Constitutional Tort Litigation and Threshold Failure in the War on Terror' (2012) British Journal of American Legal Studies 231
  • M Windsor, 'Estlund's Utopophobia: From Aspiration to Social Dependence' (2011) Social Alternatives 42
  • M Windsor, 'Exemplary Damages and Government Liability' (2010) New Zealand Law Journal 171
  • M Windsor, 'A Simple Common Lawyer: Essays in Honour of Michael Taggart' (2009) Modern Law Review 669 [Review]
  • M Windsor, 'A Fine Balance? Delegation, Standards of Review and Subsidiarity in WTO Dispute Settlement' (2008) Auckland University Law Review 41

Research programmes

Research Interests

Public International Law

Constitutional and Administrative Law

Jurisprudence and Legal Theory

Legal Ethics and Professional Responsibility

Socio-Legal Studies

Research projects