Ulf Linderfalk

Ulf Linderfalk


Personal profile


I am Professor of International Law in the Faculty of Law, Lund University, which I joined in 2001 after having successfully defended my doctoral dissertation on treaty interpretation. I am a “specialized generalist”, who takes a special interest in questions concerning the structure of the international legal system. My research has examined issues arising from generally occurring phenomena such as normative conflict, legal hierarchy, legal interpretation, good faith, abuse of rights, proportionality, disciplinary boundaries in international law, legal principles, legal discretion, balancing, legal concepts and conceptual terms. My research combines analytical skills and a broad knowledge of international law with a keen interest in issues of theory including legal philosophy, theories of language (especially pragmatics), educational theory, and now, recently, epistemology.


My publications include four monographs – the three in English are ‘On the Interpretation of Treaties’ (Springer, 2007), ‘Understanding Jus Cogens in International Law and International Legal Discourse’ (Edward Elgar, 2020), and ‘International Law as a System of Knowledge’ (Edward Elgar, forthcoming, 2022– two textbooks (both of which are available in updated third editions); four co-edited volumes; and a total of 35 articles in high-ranking peer-reviewed international law journals, including some of the most prestigious such as the European Journal of International Law (twice), the Leiden Journal of International Law, the International and Comparative Law Quarterly, and Zeitschrift für ausländisches öffentliches Recht und Völkerrrecht (four times).


I have a recognized standing in the international law research community and close contacts with colleagues at several universities, organizations, and institutions throughout the world. My work is cited in leading international law textbooks, commentaries and encyclopedias. It has been considered repeatedly by the UN International Law Commission, in connection with its work on: Peremptory Norms of General International Law (Jus Cogens); Subsequent Agreements and Subsequent Practice in Relation to the Interpretation of Treaties; Treaties Over Time; Reservations to Treaties; and Fragmentation of International Law. Hence, my research has a direct impact on the codification and progressive development of international law.


My research on different aspects of the international legal system has been funded by significant research grants from, among others, the Swedish Research Council (three times), the Ragnar Söderberg Foundation, the Torsten Söderberg Foundation, Riksbankens Jubileumsfond, and the Institute for Legal Research, amounting to a total of approximately SEK 22 million. This has enabled me to work closely, in particular projects, with a great number of other colleagues in Sweden and abroad, as further defined by the below examples:


  • “The International Legal System as a System of Knowledge”, 2020-2022, principal investigator, together with Professor Dr Eric De Brabandere (Leiden), and Associate Professors Leena Grover (Tilburgh), Astrid Kjeldgaard Pedersen (Copenhagen), and Eduardo Gill-Pedro (Lund)
  • “What’s so Special About the Special Regimes?”, 2018-2022, principal investigator, together with Professor Dr Eric De Brabandere (Leiden) and Assistant Professor Anna Nilsson
  • “Due Diligence in international law and corporate social responsibility (CSR)”, 2014-2017, principal investigator, together with Associate Professor Radu Mares
  • “Proportionality in the Application of International Law: In Search of Coherence”, 2012-2017, principal investigator, together with Professor Xavier Groussot, Post-doc fellow, and current Associate Senior Lecturer, Valentin Jeutner, Post-doc fellow Eduardo Gill-Pedro, and Post-doc fellow Anna Nilsson
  • ”Understanding Jus Cogens in International Law and International Legal Discourse”, 2007-2011, principal investigator, together with Professor Gregor Noll


From 2011 to 2019, I was the Editor-in-Chief of the leading Scandinavian international law journal, the Nordic Journal of International Law. From 2012 to 2017, I was a member and Vice chair of the Board of Research at the Faculty of Law, Lund University. I was a member of the Academic Appointment Committee at the Faculty (2018-2020). On 1 January 2021, I took up the position as member of the Faculty Board for a period of three years. I am also the chair of the Nomination Committee at my Faculty (2020-2022). In 2016, I chaired the External Advisory Board appointed by the Faculty of Law at Copenhagen University to assess an application to establish at that Faculty a Centre for International Law, Conflict and Crisis; other members of the Board were Professors Christine Gray (Cambridge) and Geir Ulfstein (Oslo).


I have supervised a total of seven PhD students: Britta Sjöstedt (2011-16), now an Assistant Professor at Lund University; Josefin Gooch (2011-16); Letizia Lo Giacco (2014-19), now an Assistant Professor at Leiden University; Scarlet Wagner (2016-); Dirk Haupt (2017-), who serves at the German Federal Foreign Office; Anastasiya Kotova (2019-); and Soo-Hyun Lee (2019-). I have supervised three post-doc fellows: Valentin Jeutner (2016-17); Eduardo Gill-Pedro (2017-18); and Anna Nilsson (2018-20). They are all now Associate or Assistant Professors with tenure at Lund University.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

UKÄ subject classification

  • Law

Free keywords

  • Public international law


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Collaborations the last five years

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