Stockholms universitet

Pål WrangeProfessor

Om mig

I am driven by a curiosity about how power and resources are distributed, and what international law has got to do with it. More concretely, much of my research has concerned military force as well as the structure and practice of the international legal order. Recently, I have become interested in the governance and use of cyberspace, and I have also tried to increase my sensitivity to the role of the economy.

My current focus is on two projects. The first is a nascent project on sovereignty and governance in cyberspace. The second one is called "Global law, local lives", which involves a number of colleagues in different fields of law. The purpose is to investigate how non-domestic norms -- formal and informal -- affect the lives of ordinare residents in Sweden.

Prior to my current employment, I worked for eleven years as international law adviser at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and during that time I participated and represented the Swedish government in multilateral negotiations on various topics and gave advice to the government in many international law issues. I have also worked in Uganda for three years as a consultant on transitional law and as a political advisor to the EU.

I have held visiting positions at Harvard Law School, the European University Institute and the University of Melbourne and at two Ugandan universities.

Currently, I am the head of subject for international law and course director for the course International Law and the Global Economy.

A previous vice-dean for research affairs, I am a member of the faculty board and a few administrative bodies at the university, including the university consultative college. I am a member of a number of advisory boards and editorial boards of scholarly institutes and journals, including the board of the European Society of International Law. In addition, I am a member of the Swedish government’s International Law and Disarmament Delegation and a member of the Permanent Court of Arbitration.

My dearest assignment, however, is to be the director of the Stockholm Centre for International Law and Justice (, which this year includes the organisation of the 2021 Annual Conference of the European Society of International Law.



I consider myself to be a generalist public international law scholar with a critical inclination, who writes theoretically, “descriptively” as well as doctrinally. My main strength is my broad knowledge, theoretical insights and practical experience, while my weakness is probably that I have devoted myself to too many different fields of international law to develop in-depth technical expertise of a particular area. My bibliography includes work on the prohibitions of force and intervention, the history of international law (neutrality), international criminal law, transitional justice, international humanitarian law, international human rights law, self-determination, state immunity, dispute settlement, international organisations, international legal practice, international governance and development.


I urval från Stockholms universitets publikationsdatabas

  • Does Who Matter? Legal Authority and the Use of Military Violence

    2017. Pål Wrange. Ethics and International Affairs 31 (2), 191-212


    What does authority mean under international law? There are various actors with different forms of authority, but no overarching concept of what characteristic endows an actor with authority, and even less of a coherent conception of legitimacy as a requirement for such authority. In fact, international law recognizes different authorities for different causes and different contexts, allocated to different actors, who base their authority on different characteristics (state legitimacy, representativity, military power, control). After disaggregating the concept of authority and outlining some of the consequences that follow from each type, this article highlights a number of different actors and describes the various authorities each has under international law. For instance, under jus in bello, nonstate actors can create a state of armed conflict in which they can often continue to use military means without legal sanction. While jus ad bellum may still in principle require legitimacy (in the formal sense of being a state), current jus in bello covers a range of non-state actors. Thus, from a practical point of view, the jus in bello regulations undermine any jus ad bellum requirement of legitimate authority.

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