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

Ashes under foot and heavens above: remembering Canberra’s 2003 bushfire disaster

Twenty years on from the Canberra firestorm that devastated ANU Mount Stromlo Observatory, Professor Brian Schmidt shares his experience at the fire front.

Article Card Image

Measuring the quantum: new techniques for accurate measurements of tiny objects

New research led by a team of ANU scientists has outlined a way to achieve more accurate measurements of microscopic objects using quantum computers.

Article Card Image

Top diplomat and Indigenous songwriter honoured with ANU degrees 

One of Australia’s most decorated diplomats and a member of the ARIA Hall of Fame are among those who have been celebrated with honorary degrees from ANU this week, as part of the University’s end-of-year graduation ceremonies.

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