Long-time human rights scholar and international law expert, ANU Distinguished Professor Hilary Charlesworth, has been elected to the United Nations’ International Court of Justice (ICJ).

Distinguished Professor Charlesworth, who leads the Centre for International Governance and Justice at ANU, is the first Australian woman elected to the ICJ and only the fifth woman elected ever. Her appointment comes with an absolute majority of votes.

Distinguished Professor Hilary Charlesworth. Photo: Supplied

She replaces former Australian judge, James Crawford, who passed away in May, and will sit on the court for the next two years. She takes up the role with immediate effect.

A veteran judge, Distinguished Professor Charlesworth has worked with non-governmental human rights organisations on ways to implement international human rights standards, and is recognised and respected the world over.

She also played a leading role in the development of the Australian Capital Territory’s human rights legislation

Established in 1945, and based in The Hague in the Netherlands, the ICJ, which is also known as the ‘World Court’, settles legal disputes between states and gives advisory opinions on legal questions that have been referred to it by other authorised UN bodies.


ANU Vice-Chancellor Professor Brian Schmidt congratulated Distinguished Professor Charlesworth on her election to the ICJ.

“This appointment is an incredible honour and well-deserved recognition of Distinguished Professor Charlesworth’s long and remarkable career as a judge and scholar,” he said.

“Over many years, she has made her mark not only as a researcher but as an inspiration for those who want to improve the law and use it to improve our world and our lives.

“She epitomises the very best of ANU and our core mission as a university that exists to ensure we leave the world in better shape than we found it.

“Through her tireless work, unwavering commitment and endless passion, she has tackled some of the biggest challenges in the world of international justice and human rights.

“We are all incredibly proud of her achievements and are so fortunate to call her a colleague.

“I have no doubt Distinguished Professor Charlesworth will make a vital and profound contribution, as she always has, on this most important of global stages for the law and in the ‘court of courts’.”

Since 2010, Hilary Charlesworth has held the position of Distinguished Professor in the ANU School of Regulation and Global Governance.

She also holds an appointment as Professor of International Law in the ANU College of Law and is currently Melbourne Laureate Professor at the University of Melbourne.

Distinguished Professor Charlesworth was also appointed judge ad hoc of the ICJ in 2011 for the whaling in the Antarctic case.

Contact the media team

James Giggacher

Associate Director, Media and Communications


You may also like

Article Card Image

Be audacious to change the system, advocate tells new students

From packing up her belongings to speaking alongside prime ministers, Ashleigh Streeter-Jones’ ANU journey has been a risk worth taking.

Article Card Image

Elizabeth Blower’s oar-inspiring effort to raise money for women’s rowing

This ANU staff member is on a mission to raise money for her local club, and women’s sport, one stroke at a time.

Article Card Image

$10 million funding boost to educate Australia’s future Indigenous leaders

Wesfarmers partners with ANU on Kambri Scholars Program to provide student scholarships for decades to come.

Subscribe to ANU Reporter

Anu Logo

+61 2 6125 5111

The Australian National University, Canberra

CRICOS Provider: 00120C

ABN: 52 234 063 906

EDX Logo
APRU Logo
IARU Logo
Group of eight Australia Logo