GC McBain


  • g.mcbain.1@research.gla.ac.uk
PhD topic

'War and the Making of International Economic Law: An Archaeology of Anglo-American International Legal Thought, 1902-1932'


Professor Christian Tams
Dr Akbar Rasulov

Connor McBain Profile Picture


Connor commenced his PhD in International Law at University of Glasgow in October 2018. He holds a Master of International and Comparative Law from University of Helsinki (Finland), where he received the highest classification of ‘Laudatur’ for his research thesis. He also holds a Bachelor of International Relations from Bond University (Australia) and Bachelor of Law (with Distinction) from University of Glasgow.

During his LLB studies at Glasgow, Connor was an intern with defence counsel at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. Throughout his studies he has also been employed as a research assistant in law. First, at Bond University, focusing primarily on Comparative Constitutional Law and Public International Law, before stints at the Erik Castren Institute for International Law and Human Rights (University of Helsinki) and the Manchester Centre for International Law (University of Manchester).

In addition to his PhD, Connor has also been employed as a Graduate Teaching Assistant and Research Assistant at the School of Law.

In July 2020, Connor was awarded the Tatjana Finkelstein Scholarship by The Honourable Society of Gray’s Inn to undertake the Graduate Diploma in Law with the expectation of calling to the Bar of England and Wales following his PhD. He was subsequently admitted to Gray’s Inn as a student member.

Research Interests

Connor’s research is primarily organised in terms of three distinct tangents:

  1. History of Early Twentieth Century International Legal Thought – This stream encompasses his PhD, which presently takes the form of an ‘archaeological’ study and is broadly concerned with the way in which the use of force and global economic order were understood in early twentieth century Anglo-American international legal thought. Specific aspects of this research focus on the role of force in the pre-history of international investment law as well as the emergence of global economic order as an object of study in public international law.
  2. International Dispute Settlement – This stream is concerned with legal practice and international dispute resolution, specifically in light of the so-called ‘fragmentation’ of international law. Doctrinally, this primarily stems from a scholarly and practical interest in the law of treaties. One particular project within this stream of research was a critical investigation of certain ethical-juridical frameworks for framing (and altering) international legal practice in light of ‘fragmentation’, namely ‘global constitutionalism’ and ‘virtue ethics’.
  3. The Darien Scheme, History of Scots Law, and the Law of Nations – This stream is concerned with the integration of the vocabulary of jus naturae et gentium (the law of nature and nations) into Scots juridical thought as well as how that vocabulary was utilised to justify and legitimise the then-Kingdom of Scotland’s attempt to colonise the Darien Peninsula in modern-day Panama. The project is further concerned with the legal personality of joint stock companies, like the Darien Company, in Scots public law and the law of nations as they then were.

In addition to his own research, Connor is active within the fortnightly International Law Working Group as well as the Glasgow Centre for International Law and Security. He also seeks to regularly contribute to other research areas in the School of Law, such as legal history and public law.


While researching at Glasgow, Connor has tutored Constitutional/Public Law, Obligations 1A (Delict), and Commercial Law. He has also coached domestic/international mooting teams at undergraduate and postgraduate level during his previous studies.


PhD Funding:
  • College of Social Sciences Studentship – School of Law, University of Glasgow – Three years of funding to undertake a PhD in International Law at University of Glasgow [August 2018]. 
Other awards:
  • Tatjana Finkelstein Scholarship – The Honourable Society of Gray’s Inn – Sum awarded to undertake the Graduate Diploma in Law [July 2020];
  • Laudatur Scholarship – Faculty of Law, University of Helsinki – Awarded for receiving classification of ‘Laudatur’ in Master of International and Comparative Law thesis [December 2018];
  • ASIL-GW Law Scholar – American Society of International Law & George Washington University Law School – Washington D.C. – [April 2017];
  • International Student Scholarship – University of Helsinki – [November 2016];
  • Best Paper and Presentation - Australian Law Students’ Association Paper Presentation Competition – [July 2014];
  • Dean’s List and Vice Chancellor’s List for Academic Excellence – Bond University – [2013 & 2014]; and
  • Collegiate Scholarship – Bond University – [November 2010].


Editorial Work:
  • Assistant Editor, Concepts for International Law: Contributions to Disciplinary Thought (J. d’Apresmont and S. Singh eds) (Edward Elgar, 2019).
Conference Papers:
  • New Histories of Sovereigns and Sovereignties - ESIL History of International Law Research Forum, European Society of International Law Conference, University of Athens, Greece [2019] – ‘Parcel of Rogues in a Nation: The Story of the Darien Company and the Forgotten Role of Corporate Sovereignty in Scots Colonisation of the “New World”’;
  • Edinburgh-Glasgow Inaugural International Law Workshop, University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom [2019] – A Common Law for Mankind? Constitutional Tropes and (Imperial) International Governance;
  • Glasgow Law Postgraduate Conference, Glasgow, United Kingdom [2018] - Parcel of Rogues: The Story of the Scots Darien Company and the role of Grotius in Scots Legal Approaches to the ‘New World’;
  • Australian Law Students’ Association Annual Conference, Brisbane, Australia [2014] - Submitted an essay titled ‘From Kant to Koskenniemi: De-familiarising Language in International Law’ and then defended the hypothesis to a panel of legal experts - 1st place; and
  • Interdisciplinary Colloquium on Sport, Centre for Commercial Law, Bond University [February 2014] - Presented a paper titled ‘Més que un club: The role of Sports Diplomacy in promoting human rights and fostering universalism?’.

Additional Information

Connor is a student member of The Honourable Society of Gray’s Inn, an affiliated member of the Stair Society, as well as a student member of the European Society of International Law. 

Twitter: @GCMcBain

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/GCMcB/