Skip to content

Shayan Khan LL.M. ’22

As the 2024-2025 International Legal Studies Post-Graduate Fellow, Shayan Khan will bring his professional experience, and the knowledge he gained at HLS, to his placement at the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague. The PCA — the world’s oldest intergovernmental organization dedicated to the resolution of international disputes — was established in 1899 at the First Hague Peace Conference, amid concerns about the expansion of armaments around the world. It was created with a flexible mandate that has enabled it to adapt to the changing dispute resolution needs of states.  It now functions as a modern arbitral institution for disputes involving various combinations of states, state entities, intergovernmental organizations, and private parties through arbitration, mediation, conciliation, commissions of inquiries and other peaceful means of dispute resolution.

The Permanent Court of Arbitration, Khan explains, is often termed as “a permanent framework of temporary tribunals.” Established through two distinct multilateral conventions, the PCA has a combined membership of 123 contracting parties. Khan will be working in the International Bureau whose primary function is to provide support to dispute resolution processes administered by the PCA.

Khan credits the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition with sparking his interest in public international law and in the settlement of international disputes. He first became involved with the Jessup Competition as a law student in Pakistan, and went on to coach the Harvard Law School team that won the prestigious competition in 2022, for the first time since the creation of the competition in 1960. As an LL.M. student at HLS, he continued to pursue his interest in international dispute settlement, particularly, through his written work, supervised by Professor Gabriella Blum LL.M. ’01 SJD ’03. In addition, Khan studied International Investment Arbitration with Visiting Professor Yas Banifatemi LL.M. ’97, a prominent arbitration and public international law specialist. In that course, he learned about investor-state disputes, which stem from public international law instruments such as bilateral or multilateral investment agreements among states designed to protect investors of one contracting state party investing in the territory of another. “When these standards are violated, the investor has a right to institute proceedings against the country where they made their investment,” he explains.  

After his LL.M. studies, Khan worked with the International Committee of the Red Cross’ Delegation to the United Nations, where he advised states on drafting Security Council and General Assembly resolutions. Currently, he is working with the International Disputes Unit of the Office of the Attorney General for Pakistan, where he oversees disputes and proceedings to which Pakistan is a party, including interstate and investor-state arbitrations, and investment treaty negotiations. He works closely with the Attorney General for Pakistan, Mansoor Usman Awan LL.M. ’05, whose support, he states, has been instrumental in his professional growth. In his spare time, he also hosts a podcast on public international law, featuring discussions with scholars, practitioners and judges from international courts and tribunals.

He is especially looking forward to having an office in the Hague Peace Palace, which also houses the International Court of Justice and The Hague Academy of International Law. “It’s a beautiful building, and a very significant place for anyone interested in public international law.”

“Spending a year at the Permanent Court of Arbitration will enable me to be part of resolving some of the most significant global disputes, giving me an opportunity to contribute to the development of public international law jurisprudence,” he adds. After his fellowship, Khan hopes to serve as an advocate in interstate and investor-state disputes.

The International Legal Studies Post-Graduate Fellowships are designed to support graduating HLS students or recent graduates who will be clerking or interning at an international or foreign regional/supranational court or tribunal. Visit the International Legal Studies Post-Graduate Fellowships web page to learn more.