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Durham University

Durham Law School

Staff profile

Dr Henry Jones, LLB, LLM, PhD Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

Assistant Professor in Law in the Durham Law School
Director of Undergraduate Studies, Durham Law School
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 33 42838
Room number: PCL117

Contact Dr Henry Jones (email at


My research focuses on the history and spatiality of international law, both its theory and practice. It addresses contemporary problems by revealing how things came to be this way, and how they could be different. 

My research to date has made two significant contributions within this framework. First, my research has uncovered the historic origins of key ideas of trade, property and morality in contemporary international law. This research is the subject of a forthcoming monograph based on the research conducted for my award winning PhD thesis. This research builds upon the existing history of the discipline, but pushes the historical focus back to the 17th century law of nations and the engagement between European empires. I argue that global regulation of trade, property and war had its origins in these colonial encounters and that both the shortcomings and the potential of international law have to be understood in this context. This work crucially adds a focus on legal practice to the existing work in the history of legal ideas. 

Second, my research aims to highlight questions of physical space in international law, a subject of growing academic interest and of immediate political concern. In the contemporary context of a global refugee crisis, a global financial crisis, and the hardening of boarders around the developed world, my research investigates the origins of international bordering and space demarcation. My article "Lines in the OCean" was the first output of this project. The article contributed a new history of the law of the sea focused on the production of legal space. I currently have two further outputs under consideration, the first a history of early demarcation of space on land, connecting up the legal process of enclosing private property with the political process of territorial control. The second is a theoretical engagement with legal geography and the potential contribution it can make to international law. All of this research is complementary to and complimented by my work with IBRU: Durham Centre fo Border Research, and in particular the consultation expertise I provide in International Borders and Border Disputes.

I have presented my research at a wide variety of international conferences, including the Law and Society Association annual meeting, the Association of American Geographers annual meeting, and regularly at the Critical Legal Conference. 

I was a Visiting Scholar at Melbourne Law School during Epiphany term 2017.


I have a broad range of teaching interests and expertise. I have convened courses on Trusts and Equity, Legal History, Interscholastic Mooting, and the Law of the Sea LLM course. I have also contributed lectures and seminars in Public International Law and Land Law. I take a research based teaching approach to all these subjects, which means two things. First, it means teaching as a researcher, and giving the students the skills to research themselves. Textbooks are inevitably out of date, and our students must be equipped to find their own answers. Second, it means teaching from research, particularly my own research, something which has been a core feature of the innovative Legal History course design.

I welcome PhD applications in international law, legal geography, legal history, and legal theory, particularly critical theory including feminist and third world approaches. 


I am currently the Director of Undergraduate Studies, with overall responsibility for the delivery of Durham's LLB. I have previously worked as part of the Law School's admissions team as Deputy Director of Undergraduate Admissions.

I am a member and previous director of Law and Global Justice Durham, and a member of the Global Policy Institute and the Human Rights Centre. I am a steering committee member of IBRU: Durham Centre for Borders Research.


Chapter in book

Journal Article

Other (Digital/Visual Media)


  • (2015), Unequal from the Start - A History of International Law in the Context of Colonialism, Doctoral Inaugural Lectures Public Lecture. University of Leicester.