Surya is a leading international lawyer whose expertise covers a number of areas of international law, including international investment law, international trade law, the law of the sea, international land and maritime boundary disputes, international environmental law, international watercourses law, and international human rights law.

Surya was appointed a Queen’s Counsel (QC) (Hon) in 2017 in recognition of his contribution to international law and human rights. A press release of the British Government of January 2017 announcing his appointment as a QC stated that Professor Subedi had made “an exceptional contribution over a sustained period at the international level to develop international law and to advance human rights.”

Surya has acted as a counsel in cases before the international courts and tribunals, including the International Court of Justice and the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes. He has also been appointed to the list of arbitrators under a post-Brexit comprehensive treaty – the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement. He is a member of the London Court of International Arbitration.

He is Professor of International Law at the University of Leeds and a visiting professor on the Master’s programme on international human rights law at the University of Oxford.

He served as the United Nations Special Rapporteur for human rights in Cambodia between 2009 and 2015.

His global reputation as a pre-eminent international lawyer also led to his appointment in 2021 as Legal Procedural Advisor to the World Conservation Congress of the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

He has published extensively in all major areas of international law. He is the author of a major book entitled ‘International Investment Law: Reconciling Policy and Principle’ published by Hart Publishing, Oxford. First published in 2008, it is now in its 4th edition.

He is the editor and the lead author with three chapters of a new book ‘Unilateral Sanctions in International Law’ (Hart Publishing, Oxford, 2021). This book explores whether there are any rules in international law applicable to unilateral sanctions and if so, what these rules are.

Surya was made an OBE for services to international law in 2004.

He was elected to the Institut de Droit International in 2011 and made a Membre Titulaire in 2015. He is Chairman of the Board of Editors of the Asian Journal of International Law, which is published by Cambridge University Press.

Surya was awarded the highest degree, the Doctor of Civil Law (DCL), by the University of Oxford in 2019 in recognition of his contribution to international law and human rights. The judges of the award panel at Oxford described him as “a scholar of uncommon breadth of knowledge and depth of thinking in international law” when deciding to award him the DCL. Prior to this, he had obtained a DPhil (PhD) in international law at Oxford with a prize in 1993.

In April 2021, the flagship magazine of the Bar Council of England published a feature article on Surya as an inspiring legal personality entitled ‘The International Human Rights Jurist: Surya Subedi QC’, which captures the essence of a lifetime spent promoting fairness in international relations, strengthening the rules-based international order and advancing human rights.

In June 2023, Surya was elected an Honorary Fellow of Exeter College of Oxford University by the College’s Governing Body. It is the highest honour that Exeter College can bestow and is reserved for individuals who are both distinguished in their field and who have also contributed to society more generally.


  • Public International Law
  • International Investment Law
  • The Law of the Sea
  • Land and Maritime Boundary Disputes
  • International Watercourses Law
  • International Human Rights Law
  • The laws of Nepal, India and Cambodia
  • Hindu Law


  • LLB, Tribhuvan University
  • LLM with Distinction, University of Hull
  • DPhil in International Law, University of Oxford


  • Hindi and Nepali


  • Elected to the Institut de Droit International in 2011.
  • Chairman, Board of Editors, Asian Journal of International Law (Cambridge University Press).
  • Chairman, Research Committee, the Asian Society of International Law.
  • Member of the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA).
  • Committee Member, Committee on International Law on Sustainable Development of the International Law Association (ILA), 2002-2012.
  • Committee Member, Water Resources Law Committee of the International Law Association (ILA), 1999-2004.
  • Member, Task Force on Investment Policy, World Economic Forum in Davos and the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development in Geneva, 2015.

Principal Publications

International Investment Law

  • International Investment Law: Reconciling Policy and Principle (Hart Publishing, Oxford, 1st edition in 2008; 2nd edition in 2012; and 3rd edition in 2016).
  • ‘International Investment Law’, in Malcolm Evans (ed.), International Law (Oxford University Press, 4th edition, 2014), pp.727-751.
  • India’s New Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Treaty with Nepal: A New Trend in State Practice’  ICSID Review: Foreign Investment Law Journal_ (Oxford University Press), Vol. 28 (2), Fall, 2013, pp.384-404.
  • ‘The Challenge of Reconciling the Competing Principles within the Law of Foreign Investment with Special Reference to the Recent Trend in the Interpretation of the Term “Expropriation” International Lawyer (A journal of the American Bar Association’s International Law Section); Spring 2006; Vol. 40 (1), pp.121-141.


  • ‘WTO Dispute Settlement Mechanism as a New Technique for Settling Disputes in International Law’, in Duncan French, Matthew Saul and Nigel D. White (eds.), International Law and Dispute Settlement: New Problems and Techniques (Hart Publishing, Oxford, 2010), pp.173-190.
  • ‘The Notion of Free Trade and the First Ten Years of the World Trade Organization: How Level is the “Level Playing Field”?’ Vol. 53 (2) The Netherlands International Law Review (Autumn 2006), pp.273-296.
  • ‘The Road from Doha: The Issues for the Development Round of the WTO and the Future of International Trade’, 52 (2) International and Comparative Law Quarterly (April 2003), pp.425-446.

The Law of the Sea

  • ‘An Innovative Solution to an Ambitious Project: Dispute Resolution in the 1982 Convention on the Law of the Sea’, in Charles C. Jalloh and Olufemi Elias (eds.), Shielding Humanity: Essays in International Law in Honour of Judge Abdul G. Koroma  (Martinus Nijhoff/Brill, The Hague, 2015), pp.163-186.
  • ‘Problems and Prospects for the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf in Dealing with Submissions by Coastal States in Relation to the Ocean Territory Beyond 200 Nautical Miles’, 26 The International Journal of Marine and Coastal Law (Martinus Nijhoff Publishers,, The Hague, 2011), pp.413–431.
  • Land and Maritime Zones of Peace in International Law (1996), Oxford Monographs in International Law Series, Clarendon: Oxford University Press, Oxford.

International Watercourses Law

  • International Watercourses Law for the 21st Century: The Case of the River Ganges Basin. (Ashgate Publishing, UK, 2005).
  • ‘The Legal Regime Concerning the Utilization of the Water Resources of the River Ganges Basin’, 46 German Yearbook of International Law (2004), pp.452-493.
  • ‘Hydro-diplomacy in South Asia: The Conclusion of the Ganges and the Mahakali River Treaties’, 93 (4) American Journal of International Law (October, 1999), pp.631-640.
  • ‘Resolution of International Water Disputes: Challenges for the 21^st Century’, in International Bureau of the Permanent Court of Arbitration, _Resolution of International Water Disputes (Volume 6 in the PCA Peace Palace Papers series, The Hague, Kluwer Law International, 2003), pp. 33-47.