Legal Education and the End of Empire: Renewing Cosmopolitan Kinship

20 Pages Posted: 9 Nov 2017

See all articles by John Harrington

John Harrington

Cardiff University - School of Law and Politics

Ambreena Manji

Cardiff Law School

Date Written: November 6, 2017


Addressing an audience in Dublin’s Shelbourne Hotel in 1960, Kwame Nkrumah, first President of the recently independent Ghana, spoke of the connections between Ireland and Africa and his admiration for the Irish people's campaign for freedom. Inspired by the humanitarian and anti-colonial career of Roger Casement, Nkrumah remarked on “those Irish leaders of the last century who realised that the struggle of Ireland for independence was not the struggle of one country alone, but part of a world movement for freedom”. The speech coincided with the high point of the so-called ‘golden age’ of Irish diplomacy when the country played a leading role in promoting decolonization and a rule-based international system through the United Nations. It also highlights the place of Ireland in the imagination of African and Indian independence movements; and suggests furthermore that this affinity is built on law as much as politics: from the question of whether sovereignty is conceded or won on the departure of the imperial power, to the priority of international law, and the urgency of humanitarian and human rights principles. Such affinities are constituted by more than abstract principles. They involve real, human connections over time. The term we are using for these affinities, which we will argue offers an orientation and inspiration for our own work in legal education today, is ‘cosmopolitan kinship’. We will give three brief examples, before explaining that term a little more.

Keywords: Legal Education, Decolonization, Mobile Scholars, Cosmopolitan Kinship

Suggested Citation

Harrington, John and Manji, Ambreena, Legal Education and the End of Empire: Renewing Cosmopolitan Kinship (November 6, 2017). UCD Working Papers in Law, Criminology & Socio-Legal Studies Research Paper No. 17/17, Available at SSRN: or

John Harrington

Cardiff University - School of Law and Politics ( email )

Law Building, Museum Ave
Cardiff, CF10 3AX
United Kingdom

Ambreena Manji (Contact Author)

Cardiff Law School ( email )

PO Box 427
Cardiff, Wales CF10 3AX
United Kingdom

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