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News | March 30, 2018

Judge Advocate Attends Oxford Course for Military and Government Lawyers

By Lt. Adam Sitte and Lt. Jade Gaudet, Region Legal Service Office Europe, Africa, SW Asia

Lt. Jade Gaudet, Region Legal Service Office Europe, Africa, and Southwest Asia (RLSO EURAFSWA), became the first U.S. Navy officer to attend the 2018 Oxford Course for Military and Government Lawyers.

Beginning as informal training to active international and operational Royal Navy Legal Advisors, the Oxford Course is now a 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 lasted for four weeks and consisted 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 consisted 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 was taught by leading academics and recognized experts in the field. The Tutorial Program was only open to Oxford Course participants, which included Gaudet, four Royal Navy Legal Advisors, and two U.K. barristers from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Gaudet also participated in university lectures, seminars, and discussion groups with the broader Oxford community.

These included an undergraduate international law seminar, with rotating topics such as dispute resolution, state responsibility, and use of force; and a Bachelor of Civil Law (Master of Laws equivalent) course on law of the sea. Discussion groups featured Professor Christine Chinkin on Women, Peace, and Security in the Contemporary World, Professor Amy Sanders on Advocacy before the International Court of Justice and International Arbitral Tribunals, Dr. Yvonne McDermott Rees on Proving International Crimes, and Dr. Danai Azaria on the International Law Commission as an interpreter of International Law.

The final course component was a research paper. Upon arrival to the course, each participant was given a different research topic to write an article on. Gaudet’s article discussed whether U.S. forces are justified in using force against unmanned aerial vehicles on the high seas. She then presented and defended her article to Oxford professors and PhD candidates. Gaudet’s participation in the Oxford Course was 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. Capt. Keith Gibel, commanding officer, RLSO EURAFSWA, attended the final dinner ceremony for course participants, which also served as Gaudet’s promotion ceremony. It was the first time the Royal Navy officers witnessed a U.S. promotion.

“Joining the Royal Navy for their annual international law training at Oxford University was truly a world class experience. I spent four weeks learning from top experts in the field, diving into the culture and history of Oxford, and collaborating professionally and personally,” says Gaudet. “I look forward to helping build this experience into a permanent feature of the growing U.S. Navy/ Royal Navy partnership.”
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