By Legalman 2nd Class Gabriela Diaz, RLSO EURAFSWA
Cmdr. Bradley Parker, Office of the Judge Advocate General, and Lt. Derek Kandt, Region Legal Service Office Europe, Africa, and Southwest Asia (RLSO EURAFSWA), attended the 2019 Oxford Course for Military and Government Lawyers. This marks only the second year that U.S. Navy judge advocates have been invited to participate in the course.
“Having this program open to us is a tremendous opportunity. It gives us access to some of the world’s foremost thinkers in international law and serves to emphasize our special relationship
with the United Kingdom, and the Royal Navy,” said Kandt.
Beginning as informal training to active international and operational Royal Navy legal advisors, the Oxford Course is now the main component of all new Royal Navy legal advisers’ initial training. Oxford showcases its world-renowned international law faculty to provide a comprehensive overview of areas specifically relevant to military lawyers.
The course is four weeks long and consists of three main components: The Tutorial Program; participation in lectures, seminars, and discussion groups; and a final research paper. Forming the core of the course, the Tutorial Program consists of six areas of international law—General International Law, Law of the Sea, Human Rights Law, International Criminal Law, International Humanitarian Law, and Use of Force. It is taught by leading academics and recognized experts in the field. The Tutorial Program was only open to Oxford Course participants, which included Parker, Kandt, four Royal Navy legal advisors, two U.K. barristers from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and one Omani Royal Navy attorney.
Students also participated in university lectures, seminars, and discussion groups with the broader Oxford community. These included the Public International Law Discussion Group, with rotating topics such as the 2020 UN Human Rights Treaty and the legal metamorphosis of war. As well as a recurring Law of the Sea discussion group with students from their Master of Laws equivalent program.
The final course component was a research paper. Upon arrival to the course, each participant is given a different research topic to write an article on. Parker’s article discusses the evolving law of cyber warfare and Kandt’s paper focuses on responding to state actors that would seek to damage under-sea communications cables. Students present and defended their research to Oxford professors and Ph.D. candidates. Participation in the Oxford Course is part of a larger initiative to integrate U.K./U.S. Navy lawyers to improve interoperability as joint operations increase. Royal Navy participants and the Oxford community were eager to engage in collaborative discussions with a U.S. Navy judge advocate.
“I am very proud to be able to help to continue this amazing partnership. We work so closely with our U.K. allies and attending this course together gives us the unique advantage of a common understanding and point of reference for our legal communities. I look forward to growing this partnership and seeing the benefits of it when working with our U.K. partners in the future,” said Kandt.