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School of Law

British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT) 50th Anniversary Conference

12 November 2015

Time: 9:00am - 6:00pm
Venue: Colette Bowe room, Queen’s Building, Queen Mary University of London, Mile End Road, London E1 4NS

The Centre for Small States (CSS) at Queen Mary University of London hosts a special conference in early November 2015 to mark the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the British Indian Ocean Territory. ​ 

The British Indian Ocean Territory was created on 8 November 1965 by excising the Chagos Islands from the colony of Mauritius and three atolls from the Seychelles. The partitioning of Mauritius on the eve of independence; the involuntary displacement of the Chagos Islanders (pursuant to the construction of a US naval facility on Diego Garcia); and their subsequent chronic impoverishment in Mauritius has remained highly controversial. The marking of fifty years since the BIOT was constituted provides legal scholars and practitioners with a timely opportunity to reflect upon a range of legal issues which continue to affect the BIOT and to evaluate ways in which they might be resolved.

Conference Organiser: Dr Stephen Allen (QMUL) -

10.15am: Welcome and Introduction

10:30am-12pm – Panel 1: BIOT and UK law

Chair: Prof Tom Poole (LSE)

Dr Stuart Lakin (Reading): ‘Bancoult and the Contentious Nature of the British Constitution’.

Prof Adam Tomkins (Glasgow): ‘Fairness, Openness and Purpose in the Chagos Story’.

Mr Stephen Kosmin (Barrister, 39 Essex Street Chambers): ‘Inviolable or inadmissible: treaty interpretation in the British Courts’.

1-2:45pm – Panel 2: BIOT and Human Rights

Chair: Prof Malgosia Fitzmaurice (QMUL)

  • Dr Ralph Wilde (UCL): ‘Locating the Rights of the Chagos Islanders: A Case Study of the Operation of International Human Rights Treaties in Colonial Territories’.
  • Ms Maya Lester (Barrister, Brick Court Chambers): ‘The Chagos Experience in the Courts of the UK and Europe’
  • Prof Sue Farran (Northumbria): ‘Learning from Chagos: Lessons for Pitcairn?’

3:15-4:45pm – Panel 3: Sovereignty and Future Prospects

Chair: Ms Jill Barrett (BIICL)

  • Dr Tom Grant (Cambridge): ‘From Colonial Boundary to State Boundary: Who Has Sovereignty to Decide?’
  • Dr Michael Waibel (Cambridge): ‘Mauritian Rights over the Chagos Archipelago and the Chagossians’ Right of Return.’
  • Mr Carl Soderbergh (Minority Rights Group International): ‘International law and Indigenous Peoples’ Property Rights: What Next for the Chagossians?’

How to book

This event is by invitation only.


For more information please contact

Photography, video and audio recording

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