Mark’s research focuses on issues in international criminal justice. He is particularly interested in the processes by which States claim jurisdiction over suspected perpetrators of international crime, including via the notion of “universal jurisdiction”. He has previously published on the topics of universal jurisdiction, high seas piracy, and the European Union’s commitment to international criminal justice.
Mark published a monograph, Piracy and the Origins of Universal Jurisdiction: On Stranger Tides, in December 2018. Mark’s book examines the legal history of high seas piracy, with an emphasis on how States justify claims of jurisdiction over perpetrators and the way in which the prosecution of pirates informs contemporary notions of international criminal justice. The book was shortlisted for the SLS Peter Birks Prize for Outstanding Legal Scholarship in 2019, and Mark was subsequently awarded the Vice-Chancellor's Award for Outstanding Researcher (early career) in 2020. Mark has since commentated on issues around high seas piracy in a Netflix documentary (Explained: Pirates) and in national newspaper The Times, alongside various other media outlets.
Opportunities arise to carry out postgraduate research towards an MPhil / PhD in the areas identified above. Mark would be particularly interested in supervising on the following PhD topics:
- Law, theory, practice and implications of States utilising universal jurisdiction: as a contested and sometimes controversial area of international (criminal) law, Mark would welcome PhD proposals offering novel insights into this area; this may include original investigations into underlying legal theory, the status of the phenomenon under customary international law, the practical challenges created by criminal investigations under this jurisdictional principle, or the relationship between universal jurisdiction and the International Criminal Court.
- International Law of High Seas Piracy (theory and practice): the definition of "high seas piracy" and associated enforcement regime contained in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea dates from the 1930s and has been largely unchanged since; however, recent resurgences in piracy have led to increasing concerns as to whether the relevant provisions remain fit for purpose. Mark would welcome PhD proposals offering original insight into the international legal regime; relevant questions may include the continued appropriateness of the definition of "piracy" (as contained in Article 101 of the Convention), the role of States in preventing and punishing piracy (legislative and/or enforcement issues), and the distinction between "piracy" and other crime at sea.
- The crime of genocide: the strict definition of genocide has remained unchanged since the drafting of the 1948 Genocide Convention; however, questions remain about the continued appropriateness of the definition. Mark would welcome PhD proposals offering original insight into such issues as the defined "protected group" or "in whole or in part" elements of the offence, particularly those that adopt a victim-centric approach.
Other suggested areas may relate to issues with the crime of aggression (particularly as defined under the Rome Statute), the broader theory/justification for "international criminal law" in general, or focused analyses of the practice (to date) of the International Criminal Court.
Sponsors and collaborators
Mark’s PhD was funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.
“Facilitating EU commitment to the International Criminal Court: The role of the ICC Legal Tools Project” (with Professor Olympia Bekou), in Jan Wetzel (ed.), The EU as a ‘Global Player’ in Human Rights? (Oxford: Routledge, 2012).
“Modern Developments in Universal Jurisdiction: Addressing Genocide in Tibet”, 9 International Criminal Law Review (2009) 359.
Mark has expertise in matters of international criminal justice, including: the operation of the International Criminal Court (e.g. present cases before it and issues it faces); the prosecution of overseas offenders in national courts (for example, the prosecution of suspected Syrian or Iraqi war criminals in national courts across Europe); and legal issues in high seas piracy.
Course(s) I teach on
UN Sustainable Development Goals
Mark's research aligns most closely with the following SDGs: