The Law of the List: UN Counterterrorism Sanctions and the Politics of Global Security Law

Join Edinburgh Law School's Dr Gavin Sullivan to discuss his book, The Law of the List: UN Counterterrorism Sanctions and the Politics of Global Security Law, in conversation with Australian Human Rights Institute Associate and UNSW Scientia Associate Professor Jessica Whyte.

The spread of violent extremism, 9/11, the rise of ISIL and movement of 'foreign terrorist fighters' are dramatically expanding the powers of the UN Security Council to govern risky cross-border flows and threats by non-state actors. New security measures and data infrastructures are being built that threaten to erode human rights and transform the world order in far-reaching ways. The Law of the List is an interdisciplinary study of global security law in motion. It follows the ISIL and Al-Qaida sanctions list, created by the UN Security Council to counter global terrorism, to different sites around the world mapping its effects as an assemblage. Drawing on interviews with Council officials, diplomats, security experts, judges, secret diplomatic cables and the author's experiences as a lawyer representing listed people, The Law of the List shows how governing through the list is reconfiguring global security, international law and the powers of international organisations.


Dr Gavin Sullivan joined Edinburgh Law School in February 2021 as Reader in International Human Rights Law. He was previously a Senior Lecturer in Law at the University of Kent (2016–2020) and was awarded his PhD (cum laude) from the University of Amsterdam. Gavin’s research focuses on the politics of global security law, technology and rights using socio-legal and ethnographic methods. His research interests include international organisations and collective security; algorithmic governance, accountability and international human rights; transnational and informal law, global pluralism and constitutionalism; counterterrorism and preemptive security. In 2020 Gavin was awarded a UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship for his socio-legal research project, Infra-Legalities: Global Security Infrastructures, Artificial Intelligence and International Law (2021 – 2028). He leads an interdisciplinary team of scholars in international law, anthropology, socio-legal studies, computer science and security studies to examine how AI-led security, and the data infrastructures that sustain it, are reshaping global security law, rights and accountability and security decision-making.