Australian Government saddened at the passing of James Crawford, Judge of the International Court of Justice

  • Joint media release with:

Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash, Attorney-General, Minister for Industrial Relations, Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate, Senator for Western Australia

01 June 2021

The Australian Government was saddened to learn yesterday of the passing of James Richard Crawford LLD, FBA, AC, SC, Judge of the International Court of Justice – distinguished international lawyer, eminent academic, teacher and mentor.

Over a career spanning five decades, Judge Crawford’s dedication to the study, teaching and practice of international law made an unparalleled contribution to the international and Australian legal community. Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Women, Senator the Hon Marise Payne acknowledged his service to the international community in the peaceful resolution of disputes and the international rules based order.

Prior to his election as a Judge of the International Court of Justice in 2014, Judge Crawford was an eminent scholar and barrister. Attorney-General Michaelia Cash acknowledged that he was an outstanding advocate who appeared regularly as counsel for Australia in international litigation.

Judge Crawford also served as Commissioner of the Australian Law Reform Commission and as a Member of the UN’s International Law Commission, where he made important and lasting contributions to the development of the law.

Beginning as a Lecturer at the University of Adelaide in 1977, Judge Crawford quickly rose to prominence in academia. Judge Crawford held professorial chairs at the University of Adelaide, the University of Sydney and the University of Cambridge. His scholarly writings span the field of international law – statehood, state immunity, state responsibility – and leave an outstanding intellectual legacy.

Judge Crawford was a teacher, mentor and inspiration to a generation of students and lawyers, many of whom followed him into the study and practice of international law in Australia and the world over. 

Further biographical details on ICJ website [PDF].

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