Should states and private parties be entitled to recover reparations from aggressor states, and if so, how?
This is a vital and timely question. It is timely not only due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine and continuing state aggressions elsewhere, of which there are currently at least 20 wars involving more than 1,000 deaths per year, but to wider technological and political developments. Technology has increased the precision of the aggressive power of states, their individual awareness of whom they harm, and the ability of those they harm to prove what happened. Aggressor states may have property all over the world which injured states and private parties may claim in local courts in reparation. They may be denied justice in the courts of the aggressor state, and may claim this is contrary to the law of the aggressor state and to international law. They may be denied access to justice in the courts of the state where the aggression occurred. There may be no international tribunal in which injured private parties can access justice. If they are denied a forum, that itself is a denial of justice. Traditionally, their state had the right, but not the obligation, to complain against the aggressor state on their behalf. However, not all states are subject to the compulsory jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice. Victims of state aggression, both states and private parties, are therefore often without a forum in which they are entitled to obtain reparation. Increasingly, this is regarded as itself a denial of justice, contrary to international law and national law. Questions therefore arise as to whether states and private parties should have an entitlement to recover reparations from aggressor states, either in national courts or in international tribunals, but not in neither, and without denial of justice.
The essay competition is open to all students registered with UK higher education institutes, pupil barristers and trainee solicitors. Essays should be no more than 1,000 words and must be received by midday on Monday, 16 January 2023. There are more than £10,000 of prizes on offer to the six finalists, whose entries will be read by a judging panel of senior figures, including Lord Sales, a justice of the UK Supreme Court, and Lord Grabiner KC, the head of chambers at One Essex Court. The awards will be presented at a dinner ceremony at the Guildhall in the City of London in May next year. Full rules and entry details can be found here.
Times Law Awards: Winners
Download the winning essays from previous competitions:
- 2023: "Should states and private parties be entitled to recover reparations from aggressor states, and if so, how?"
- 2022: “To no one will we sell, to no one will we deny or delay right or justice.” Magna Carta clause 40. Is the state financing the criminal justice system properly and, if not, is privatisation a possible solution? Would this mean selling justice?"
- 2021: Stereotyping and unconscious racial bias: stumbling blocks for parties, witnesses and aspirant lawyers alike. How should the law and the profession respond?
- 2020: Taming the Social Media Giants: How far should the state go in regulating online content?
- 2019: Brexit: A threat or an opportunity for UK lawyers and legal London?
- 2018: Should history be rewritten in line with modern day views of human rights?
2017: Brexit: should Parliament be able to overrule the referendum?
- 1st: Genevieve Woods
- 2nd: Leo Kirby
- 3rd: Yuan Yi Zhu
- Runner-up: Dominic Behar
- Runner-up: James Kirby
- Runner-up: Krishan Nadesan
- 2015: Is Magna Carta more honoured in the breach?
- 2014: Morality versus legality: When is war justified?
- 2013: Privacy and the Press: is state regulation in the public interest?
- 2012: Cameras in court: justice's loss or gain?
- 2011: Justice under the axe: can the Government's cuts be fair?
- 2010: Supreme Court UK: Radical change, or business as usual?
- 2009: Should people in the public eye have a right to privacy?
- 2008: In the bank or under the bed: Should the law protect your money?
- 2007: Extradition to foreign courts: are our laws fair?
- 2006: Terrorism -v- Human Rights - Where do you draw the line ?
- 2005: Tesco Law: The Shape of Things to Come? Will Clementi be good for consumers but bad for lawyers?
- 2004: Constitutional Reform: Will the justice system benefit?
- 2003: Victims or Defendants - Can there be Justice For All?
- 2002: International terrorists: What role should the law play?
- 2001: Ethical Dilemmas: Who should decide – lawyers, scientists or God?
- 2000: Crimes against humanity: Who has the right to intervene?
- 1998: Access to justice – who pays the price?
- 1997: Privacy and the Press: Is Law the answer?
- 1996: Law Lords in the 90’s – a new Supreme Court
- 1995: Advocacy – what is its future?
The Times Law Awards Competition is now closed. It will launch again in late 2023 / early 2024.
- The competition is open to all students in any discipline registered with a UK educational institution, together with all pupils and trainees with firms of solicitors or barristers' chambers established in the UK except employees of One Essex Court, Times Newspapers and News International and members of their families.
- Word limit: 1000 words
- The Times and One Essex Court, the organisers, have the right to publish or reproduce at any time all or part of any essay entered for the awards.
- The essay must be the sole creation and original work of the entrant.
- The organisers reserve the right to delete or omit from any published article anything that in their absolute discretion should not be published on editorial or legal grounds. Only one entry per person will be allowed.
- All entries will be acknowledged but not returned.
- The organisers accept no responsibility for the safekeeping of articles and entrants
- Essays should be submitted by e-mail to: email@example.com (Microsoft Word format only)
- When submitting your essay, please include your name, address, contact telephone number and details of the educational institution, barristers chambers or firm of solicitors that you belong to in the covering e-mail. Please do not include that information on the essay itself.
- 1st - £3,500
- 2nd - £2,500
- 3rd - £1,500
- Three runners up prizes of £1,000 each
The title for this year's competition is:
“Should states and private parties be entitled to recover reparations from aggressor states, and if so, how?”
The closing date for entries will be Monday, 16 January 2023 at midday.
Entries should be typed with double spacing and sent by e-mail in Microsoft Word format to:
or clearly handwritten and posted to:
The Times Law Awards c/o One Essex Court, Temple, London EC4Y 9AR
When sending in your essay, in the covering e-mail please include your name, address, contact telephone number and details of the educational institution, barristers chambers or firm of solicitors that you belong to. Please do not include that information on the essay itself.
The winners will hear by mid-April 2023 and the awards dinner will be held in May 2023.