In Memoriam: H.E. Judge James Richard Crawford
H.E. Judge James Richard Crawford (1948-2021)
A remembrance note from ABILA member Douglas Pivnichny, who worked with Judge Crawford at the International Court of Justice in 2016. Judge James Richard Crawford passed away on May 31, 2021.
It was a great privilege and also a pleasure to serve as a University Trainee for Judge James Crawford at the International Court of Justice. The traineeship was my first job after I finished university, and coming to work for such an eminent figure was an unrivaled opportunity. Of course, his professional standards were high, and I learned much from him on the value of precise use of language in legal practice. But I appreciated as much when our conversations strayed to topics beyond work, which ranged from television (Yes Minister and the John Oliver episode on the Philip Morris v. Uruguay arbitration stand out in my mind) to the merits of various wine retailers in The Hague. When I eventually returned to the Court as law clerk for another judge, James remained a friendly face in the corridors of the Judges’ Wing.
This spirit of openness and desire to work towards the better was characteristic of James’s engagement with the internal community of the Court. He was instrumental, for example, in starting a discussion that led to a rationalization of the Traineeship programme, including renaming it to the Judicial Fellowship, the formulation of written guidelines on fellows’ access to Court documents and opening the programme to all universities. He was also a keen and constructive participant in the Court’s Rules Committee, which has been particularly active in recent years.
While I am only one among so many international lawyers whose lives James touched, I will always be grateful for the opportunity I had to meet and learn from him. I can say with certainty that he will be missed by the community of the Court.
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The views presented above are my own, offered in my personal capacity, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations.