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Ratner, Steven R.

Bruno Simma Collegiate Professor of Law

338 Hutchins Hall

Steven R. Ratner, the Bruno Simma Collegiate Professor of Law, came to Michigan Law in 2004 from the University of Texas School of Law. His teaching and research focus on public international law and a range of disputes involving states, non-state armed groups, individuals, and corporations, including state and corporate duties regarding foreign investment, territorial conflicts, counter-terrorism strategies, ethnic conflict, and accountability for human rights violations. He also is interested in the intersection of international law and moral philosophy and other theoretical issues. A member of the board of editors of the American Journal of International Law from 1998 to 2008, he began his legal career as an attorney-adviser in the Office of the Legal Adviser at the U.S. State Department. In 1998–1999, he was appointed by the UN secretary-general to a three-person group of experts to consider options for bringing the Khmer Rouge to justice; and in 2010–2011, he was a member of the UN's three-person Panel of Experts on Accountability in Sri Lanka, which advised the UN Secretary-General on human rights violations related to the end of the Sri Lankan civil war. He also has served in the legal division of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Geneva. Since 2009, he has been a member of the State Department's Advisory Committee on International Law. He also is a counsellor of the American Society of International Law and a member of the American Law Institute. He also has served as an expert on international investment law in various arbitrations. He established and directs the Law School's externship program in Geneva. Professor Ratner holds a JD from Yale, an MA (diplôme) from the Institut Universitaire de Hautes Études Internationales (Geneva), and an AB from Princeton.

Recent Publications

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Editor. "Symposium on Soft and Hard Law on Business and Human Rights." AJIL Unbound 114 (2020).

"Introduction to the Symposium on Soft and Hard Law on Business and Human Rights." Introduction to AJIL Unbound. 114 (2020): 163-7.
Full Text: WWW

International Law: Norms, Actors, Process: A Problem-Oriented Approach. 5th ed. Jeffrey Dunoff, Monica Hakimi, and David Wippman, co-authors. New York: Aspen, 2020.

"International Law." In The Oxford Handbook of Global Justice, edited by T. Brooks, 362-94. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2020.
Full Text: WWW

"International Investment Law and Domestic Investment Rules: Tracing the Upstream and Downstream Flows." J. World Inv. & Trade 20 21 (2020): 7-33.
Full Text: SSRN

"Independence and Impartiality in Investment Dispute Settlement: Assessing Challenges and Reform Options." Chiara Giorgetti, Jeffrey Dunoff, Shotaro Hamamoto, Luke Nottage, Stephan W. Schill, and Michael Waibel, co-authors. J. World Inv. & Trade 21, no. 2-3 (2020): 441-74.
Full Text: WWW

"Business and Human Rights: Seizing the Opportunity." Revista Cadernos do Programa de Pós-Graduação em Direito/UFRGS [Journal of the Graduate Program in Law/UFRGS] 15, no. 2 (2020): 5-20.
Full Text: WWW

"Survey Article: Global Investment Rules as a Site for Moral Inquiry." J. Pol. Phil. 27, no. 1 (2019): 107-35.
Full Text: Wiley (UMich users) | Wiley | SSRN

"International Law and Political Philosophy: Uncovering New Linkages." Phil. Compass 14, no. 2 (2019): e12564.
Full Text: Wiley (UMich users) | Wiley | SSRN

"Extraterritorial Regulation of Natural Resource Exploitation: Opportunities for Governments." In Natural Resource Exploitation: Business and Human Rights, edited by Xavier Favre-Bulle, 15-23. LexisNexis, 2018.

"War/Crimes and the Limits of the Doctrine of Sources." In The Oxford Handbook on the Sources of International Law, edited by S. Besson and J. d'Aspremont, 912-35. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017.
Full Text: Oxford Law (UMich users) | Oxford Law | SSRN

"International Investment Law Through the Lens of Global Justice." J. Int'l Econ. L. 20, no. 4 (2017): 747-75.
Full Text: Lexis | Oxford Journals (UMich users) | Oxford Journals | SSRN

Review of Compliant Rebels: Rebel Groups and International Law in World Politics, by H. Jo. Am. J. Int'l L. 111, no. 2 (2017): 550-4.
Full Text: Lexis | Westlaw | Cambridge Journals (UMich users) | Cambridge Journals

"Compensation for Expropriations in a World of Investment Treaties: Beyond the Lawful/Unlawful Distinction." Am. J. Int'l L. 111, no. 1 (2017): 7-56.
Full Text: Lexis | Westlaw | Cambridge Journals (UMich users) | Cambridge Journals


University of Michigan Federalist Society talk on Foreign Policy for a Bankrupt Republic, Ann Arbor, MI, commentator, February 26, 2021.

University of Oxford Institute for Ethics, Law and Armed Conflict workshop to prepare the Oxford Statement on International Law Protections Against Foreign Electoral Interference through Digital Means, virtual from Oxford, UK, invited expert, October 20, 2020.

​Permanent Missions of Japan and the United States to the United Nations in Geneva Brainstorming Session on Future Directions for a Treaty on Business and Human Rights virtual from Geneva, Switzerland, panelist, October 16, 2020.

Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul International Seminar on Business and Human Rights: Hermeneutics for a Transnational World, Opening Lecture, "Business and Human Rights: Seizing the Opportunity," virtual from Porto Alegre, Brazil, August 24, 2020.

American Society of International Law Annual Meeting panel on International Law and Theories of Global Justice, virtual from Washington, D.C., moderator, July 26, 2020.

American Philosophical Association Central Division Meeting panel on the Philosophy of International Law, moderator and commentator on three papers, Chicago, IL, February 28, 2020.

University of Michigan National Security Law Society Panel on The Deterioration of Iran-U.S. Relations and International Law, Ann Arbor, MI, presenter, February 6, 2020.

Spoke at the opening panel at the Launch Symposium of The Hague Rules on Business and Human Rights Arbitration at the Peace Palace in The Hague, December 2019. The launch completes a two-year drafting process by a 14-person multinational, multi-stakeholder drafting team on which Ratner served.

Presented "The Thin Justice of International Economic Law" at the Università Commerciale Luigi Bocconi Public Seminar, Milan, Italy, May 2019.

Presented "The Aggravating Duty of Non-Aggravation in International Law" at the Queen's University Belfast Guest Lecture, Belfast, Northern Ireland, May 2019.

Presented "Arbitrating Business and Human Rights Disputes: A Way Forward" at the Hamad bin Khalifa School of Law, Doha, Qatar, April 2019.

Delivered the paper, "Global Investment Rules as a Site for Moral Inquiry," at the European Consortium for Political Research's Joint Session Workshop, Mons, Belgium, April 2019.

Elected a counsellor of the American Society of International Law, March 2019.

Panelist and presenter at the Academic Forum on Investor-State Dispute Settlement's Workshop on Reforming International Investment Arbitration, Oslo, Norway, February 2019.

Presented "The Moral Implications of International Investment Law at the Pluricourts Conference on Reforms of International Investment Arbitration: Philosophical Perspectives," Oslo, Norway, January 2019.

Presented "The Duty of Non-Aggravation in International Law" at the Hamad Bin Khalifa University College of Law and Public Policy Colloquium on The Order on Provisional Measures of the International Court of Justice in the Case of Qatar v. UAE of 23 July 2018, Doha, Qatar, October 2018.

Attended the second meeting of the drafting team for The Hague Rules on Business and Human Rights Arbitration, October 2018.

Co-presented "India's Decriminalization of Homosexuality: What Next?" at the University of Michigan Law School, September 2018.

Presented "International Investment Law as a Site for Global (In-)Justice" at the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association, Boston, September 2018.

Presented "International Investment Law and Domestic Investment Rules: Tracing The Connections" at the Comparative and International Investment Law: Prospects for Reform Workshop, Hamad Bin Khalifa University College of Law and Public Policy, Doha, Qatar, April 2018.

Invited expert, European Commission brainstorming meeting on the design of a multilateral investment court, Washington, D.C., April 2018.