Samantha Besson

University of Fribourg

Samantha Besson is Professor of Public International Law and European Law at the University of Fribourg (Switzerland), Co-Director of the European Law Institute of the Universities of Bern, Fribourg and Neuchâtel (Switzerland) and Vice-Dean of the Law Faculty, University of Fribourg (Switzerland).

Samantha Besson was born on 30th March, 1973. She holds a degree in Swiss and European Law (Universities of Fribourg and Vienna, 1996), a Magister Juris in European and Comparative Law (University of Oxford, 1998), a PhD in Law (University of Fribourg, 1999) and a Habilitation in Legal Theory and Swiss, Comparative, European and International Constitutional Law (University of Bern, 2004).

She worked as a research assistant at the University of Fribourg (1994-7) and then received various post-doctoral research grants from the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNF) (Visiting Scholar, Columbia Law School, 1999- 2000; University of Oxford, 2000-2) and The Queen’s College, Oxford (Junior Research Fellow, 2001-4). She came back to Switzerland in 2004 to become a SNF research professor at the University of Fribourg (2004-8) and then a Professor, Chair of Public International Law and European Law at the same University (2005- present). Before and since then, she taught as a lecturer at the Universities of Oxford (2001-2004) and Geneva (2001-2005), and then as a visiting professor at the Universities of Zurich (2007-10), Duke Law School (2009), Lausanne (2010), Lisbon (2010-present), Harvard Law School (2014) and Penn Law School (2018). She also taught in various capacities at the Hague Academy of International Law: as Coordinator of the Seminar of Advanced Study in Public and Private International Law (2009-2013), Director of Studies (2013) and Teacher of a Special Course (2020). In 2011-2, she was Fellow of the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin and, early 2017, was a short-term resident at the Institute of Advanced Study in Nantes (as a member of its scientific board, 2013-present). She was the Human Rights Delegate of the Swiss Academies of Sciences (2013-6) and currently serves as member of the Board of the Swiss Academies of Humanities and Social Sciences (from 2017 onwards).

Samantha Besson’s research interests lie in public international law, European Union constitutional and institutional law and legal and political philosophy, and in particular in international, European and comparative human rights law and theory, the sources of international and European law, international and European responsibility law, comparative international law and European and Swiss foreign relations law.

Besides numerous publications in French, including her first monograph L’égalité horizontale – L’égalité de traitement entre particuliers (AISUF: Fribourg, 1999), three textbooks Droit international public – Abrégé et résumés de jurisprudence (3rd edn, Stämpfli: Bern, 2016), Droit constitutionnel européen – Abrégé et résumés de jurisprudence (3rd edn, Stämpfli: Bern, 2016) and Aide-mémoire bilingue Droit international public/Völkerrecht (2nd edn, Dike: Basel, 2013; co-authored with Stephan Breitenmoser, Marco Sassoli and Andreas R. Ziegler) and a collection of international law texts Traités internationaux – Recueil de textes de droit international public (3rd edn, Stämpfli: Bern, 2016; co-edited with Andreas R. Ziegler), she is the author of the monograph in English The Morality of Conflict: Reasonable Disagreement and Law (Hart Publishing: Oxford, 2005). She also co-edited various collections of essays and in particular: Deliberative Democracy and its Discontents (Ashgate: Aldershot, 2006) with José Luis Martí, Legal Republicanism: National and International Perspectives (Oxford University Press: Oxford 2009) with José Luis Martí, The Philosophy of International Law (Oxford University Press: Oxford, 2010) with John Tasioulas and The Oxford Handbook on the Sources of International Law (Oxford University Press: Oxford, 2017, forthcoming) with Jean d’Aspremont. She is currently finalizing a monograph in human rights theory entitled The Making of Equality – A Legal Theory of Human Rights (2017, forthcoming).

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