Dr. Peter Slinn

Dr. Peter Slinn | UK

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Dr. Peter Slinn was educated at Oxford (MA) and London (PhD) Universities and qualified as a solicitor (England and Wales) in 1967. His interest in the Commonwealth was aroused by the study as an undergraduate in 1962 of an option concerning the constitutional documents of the modern Commonwealth. As a trainer lawyer, he worked on a dispute about ownership of mineral rights on behalf of the government of Northern Rhodesia, just before the protectorate achieved independence as the Republic of Zambia in 1964. After a brief spell as an Assistant Legal Adviser in the British Commonwealth Office and, after amalgamation with the Foreign Office, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, he returned to academia, writing his PhD thesis on the history of the mineral rights dispute in Northern Rhodesia. In 1977, he began teaching international, constitutional and natural resources law at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. He was Head of the Law Department at SOAS (1990-1994), and after retirement from full-time teaching, was Director of the SOAS Centre of International Studies and Diplomacy at until 2007. Until December, 2016, he was joint General Editor of the Law Reports of the Commonwealth, (Butterworths LexisNexis) the 100th volume of which was published in 2009. He is Vice-President of the Commonwealth Legal Education Association, Chair of the Editorial Board of the Commonwealth Judicial Journal and a member of the executive committee of the Commonwealth Lawyers Association. In those capacities he has contributed to the work of the Commonwealth Legal Forum. Recent Publications include (with John Hatchard and Muna Ndulo) Comparative Constitutionalism and Good Governance the Commonwealth: an Eastern and Southern Africa Perspective, Cambridge University Press (2004) and a chapter on ‘Law and the Commonwealth’ in J Mayall (ed) The Contemporary Commonwealth: An Assessment 1965-2009, Routledge (2010).
Outside academia, since the end of the last century he has been involved closely with the drafting and promotion of the Commonwealth Principles on the Relationship between the Three Branches of Government on which topic he has presented papers at the Commonwealth Law Conferences in London, Melbourne, Hong Kong, Hyderabad, Cape Town and most recently in Glasgow (2015). The Latimer House Principles were adopted at the Abuja Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting as part of the Commonwealth’s fundamental values. In recent years, he has devoted himself to the promotion of the Principles through his contribution to the work of the Commonwealth Associations with which he has been associated. He has acted as consultant on constitutional affairs to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Commonwealth Secretariat. For the Secretariat he carried out a mission to the Kingdom of Tonga in 2006 as constitutional adviser and in 2015 acted as a consultant in the preparation of training programmes for judges, parliamentarians and members of government.
In 2003, Law and Development: Facing Complexity in the 21st Century, Essays in Honour of Peter Slinn (Hatchard and Perry-Kessaris eds.) were published in acknowledgement of his scholarly contribution in that field. In 1988, he was appointed Officier dans l’Ordre des Palmes Academiques for service to Anglo-French co-operation in the field of the international law of development. He has acted as external examiner at LLB, LLM and PhD level at a number of Universities in the United Kingdom and overseas including Malta, Sierra Leone, Zambia, Hong Kong, Warwick, Oxford, Cambridge, Exeter, Birmingham, Liverpool and most recently at the City University of London.