skip to content
Michael A Becker's picture


Education CV


Ph.D Candidate, Gonville & Caius College, University of Cambridge (since 2014)

I hold a law degree (J.D.) from Yale Law School (2004) and a bachelor's degree (B.A.) from Amherst College (1999).  I spent the 1999-2000 academic year as a visiting fellow at the École Normale Supérieure (rue d’Ulm) in Paris.

Professional Experience

From 2010 to 2014, I was an Associate Legal Officer at the International Court of Justice in The Hague in the chambers of H.E. Judge Joan E. Donoghue. 

Previously, I was a commercial litigator at Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP, a New York law firm, and at Allen & Overy LLP, the international law firm, in its London and New York offices. From 2006 to 2008, I served as a judicial law clerk to the Hon. Sidney H. Stein of the Federal District Court (SDNY).  I have been a Member of the Bar of the State of New York since 2005.

At Cambridge, I have been a Graduate Teaching Assistant for the LLM module "Law of Armed Conflict, Use of Force and Peacekeeping"  taught by Professor Christine Gray, and I also served as a Research Assistant to Dr Sarah Nouwen for the ESRC-funded project "Peacemaking: What's Law Got to Do With It?".

In 2018-2019, I am an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Law at Trinity College Dublin, School of Law. I previously spent 2017-2018 as a Visiting Researcher at Trinity College Dublin.

Alternative contact details:

Related Experience

Editor-in-Chief, Yale Journal of International Law (2003-2004).

Chair/Vice-Chair, Law of the Sea Committee of the ABA Section of International Law (2006-2010).

Awards & Prizes

WM Tapp Studentship, Gonville & Caius College, University of Cambridge (2014-2017)

Certificate for Top Participant, Summer Academy on the Continental Shelf, University of the Faroe Islands (2015)

Ambrose Gherini Prize, Yale Law School (2004) 

Edward D. Robbins Memorial Prize, Yale Law School (2004)

Fields of research

Commissions of Inquiry; International Dispute Settlement; International Court of Justice; International Courts and Tribunals; History of International Law; US Foreign Policy and International Law; Quasi-Judicial Bodies; United Nations; Fact-Finding and Evidence; Law of the Sea; Maritime Delimitation; Extended Continental Shelf; IUU Fishing


International Commissions of Inquiry and the Uses of International Law


My research examines the contemporary role of international commissions of inquiry, with a particular focus on how such bodies invoke, interpret, or evade international law to pursue their stated and unstated objectives. A close analysis of several cases in which two or more inquiry bodies (established by different parent bodies) have examined the same underlying conflict or dispute, and have made conflicting findings or divergent recommendations, provides an opportunity to consider more closely the motivations and expectations that attach to the modern-day use of inquiry by states and international organizations.


Dr. Sarah Nouwen

Representative Publications

Journal Articles & Book Chapters

Michael A Becker and Sarah MH Nouwen, "Tadić v. Prosecutor, International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (1995)" in Cameron Miles and Eirik Bjorge (eds), Landmark Cases in Public International Law (Hart 2017)

Michael A Becker, "The Dispute that Wasn't There: Judgments in the Nuclear Disarmament Cases at the International Court of Justice" (2017) 6 Cambridge International Law Journal 4 (link)

Michael A Becker and Cecily Rose, "Investigating the Value of Site Visits in Inter-State Arbitration and Adjudication" (2017) 8 Journal of International Dispute Settlement 219 (link)

Michael A Becker, "Request for an Advisory Opinion Submitted by the Sub-Regional Fisheries Commission (SRFC)" (2015) 109 American Journal of International Law 851

Michael A Becker, “Sustainable Fisheries and the Obligations of Flag and Coastal States: The Request by the Sub-Regional Fisheries Commission for an ITLOS Advisory Opinion” (2013) ASIL Insights, Vol. 17, No. 19 (link)

Michael A Becker, “Russia and the Arctic: Opportunities for Engagement Within the Existing Legal Framework” (2010) 25 American University International Law Review 225 (link)

Michael A Becker, “The Shifting Public Order of the Oceans: Freedom of Navigation and the Interdiction of Ships at Sea” (2005) 46 Harvard International Law Journal 131 (link)

Michael A Becker, “Managing Diversity in the European Union: Third-Country Nationals and Inclusive European Citizenship” (2004) 7 Yale Human Rights and Development Law Journal 132 (link)

Book Reviews

Michael A Becker, "Commissions of Inquiry: Problems and Prospects (Christian Henderson, ed)" (2017) 28 European Journal of International Law 1418 (link

Michael A Becker, "Lawfare: Law as a Weapon of War by Orde F Kittrie" (2017) 86 British Yearbook of International Law 199 (link)

Michael A Becker, "International Maritime Security Law by James Kraska & Raul Pedrozo, and The Interception of Vessels on the High Seas: Contemporary Challenges to the Legal Order of the Oceans by Efthymios Papastavridis" (2014) 7 Irish Yearbook of International Law 310

Michael A Becker, "The Guilt of Nations: Restitution and Negotiating Historial Injustices by Elazar Barkan" (2002) 27 Yale Journal of International Law 470 (link)

Blog posts

Michael A Becker, "The Situation of the Rohingya: Is there a role for the International Court of Justice?" (14 November 2018, EJILTalk!)

Michael A Becker, "Japan's New Optional Clause Declaration at the ICJ: A Pre-Emptive Strike?" (20 October 2015, EJILTalk!)

Conference Papers & Presentations

"International Commissions of Inquiry: Human Rights, Transitional Justice, and Environmental Protection" (Grotius Centre, Leiden University, July 2018)

"Commissions of Inquiry and the Uses of International Law" (Yale Law School Doctoral Conference, New Haven, November 2017)

"Understanding Whaling in the Antarctic (Australia v Japan) at the International Court of Justice" (Meeting at the European Parliament on the EU-Japan Free Trade Agreement Negotiations, Brussels, June 2016)

"'Pay No Attention to that Man Behind the Curtain': NGOs and the Decision to Pursue Dispute Settlement at the ICJ" (ILA British Branch Spring Conference, Lancaster University, April 2016)

Start Date

Oct 2014