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Digital disputation: Jørgen Sørgard Skjold

Master of Laws, Master of Science Jørgen Sørgard Skjold will be defending the thesis Countermeasures in International Law  - Function, Limits and Systemic Relevance for the degree of Ph.D. 

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Jørgen Sørgard Skjold

Photo: UiO

The disputation will be digital and streamed directly using Zoom. You can download zoom or use your browser.

Participate at both the trial lecture and the disputattion here (opens at 10:15am 19th of March) 

Information around the trial lecture 

Adjudication committee

  • Professor Geir Ulfstein, University of Oslo (head of committee )
  • Professor Astrid Kjeldgaard-Pedersen, University of Copenhagen (1. opponent)
  • Associate Professor Antonios Tzanakopoulos, University of Oxford (2. opponent)

Chair of defence

Vice Dean Vibeke Blaker Strand 


  • Professor Ivar Alvik, University of Oslo
  • Professor Christian J. Tams, University of Glasgow


This thesis offers a comprehensive analysis of countermeasures in international law. In an international legal order characterised by half a century of progression towards a dense institutional structure and more ambitious regulation of State power, the significance of countermeasures, which offer a right for States to self-enforcement of legal rights and interests, might seem prima facie unclear. There is no abundance of case law or cases to illustrate that the concept is frequently invoked by States in their legal relations. Nor is there a lack of institutional structures in the present international system offering real alternatives to unilateralism and countermeasures. Yet, as the international system remains characterised by a fragile and delicate balance between, on the one hand, forces of centralisation and institutionalisation, and, on the other hand, structures of decentralism and unilateralism, there is an obvious demand for clarity about what it means for the sovereign States to have a right under international law to self-enforcement by countermeasures.

Clarity about countermeasures is what this thesis aims to contribute, through a holistic analysis of the concept, which engages with and seeks to explain the key aspects determinative of its legal relevance in the international legal order and in the international legal affairs of States. It argues that the legitimate application of the concept is limited to a remedial and restorative function. It assesses and explains how the limits to countermeasures are marked by a century of a growth of international law, which has embedded the concept in a far more complex and ambitious normative environment. It argues that countermeasures, despite the emergence of a dense network of institutional structures providing for third party settlement and other alternatives to self-enforcement, remain of systemic relevance in the international legal system as a residual mechanism for the enforcement of international rights and international legal interests.

Published Mar. 4, 2021 5:05 PM - Last modified June 22, 2021 12:40 PM