Formerly a university teacher, I am now a freelance writer specialising in the theory and practice of diplomacy from the earliest times until the present. As well as hoping to encourage the study of diplomacy, this site provides periodic updating of my textbook (see immediately below). This page contains some news and views. The contents of the rest of the site can be navigated via the column on the left-hand side.

Diplomacy: Theory and Practice

5th edition
(Palgrave-Macmillan: Basingstoke and New York, 2015)

Read more about this book
on the publisher’s website.



From the back cover: ‘Probably the most prolific contemporary writer on diplomacy is Professor Geoff R. Berridge … Each of his many books is impeccably written and full of insights into the fascinating formation of modern diplomacy” (Robert William Dry, New York University, USA, and Chairman of AFSA’s Committee on the Foreign Service Profession and Ethics); “I discovered Geoff Berridge’s book on diplomacy after serving as a diplomat for over 30 years. It is well-researched, sophisticated, inspiring and, where the subject invites it, suitably ironic” (Dr Max Schweizer, Head of Foreign Affairs and Applied Diplomacy, ZHAW School of Management and Law, Switzerland); “Berridge’s Diplomacy is an enlightening journey that takes the student, the practitioner and the general reader from the forefront to the backstage of current diplomatic practice. The thoroughly updated text – also enriched with a stimulating new treatment of embassies – is an invaluable guide to the stratagems and outcomes, continuities and innovations, of a centuries’ long process” (Arianna Arisi Rota, Professor of History of Diplomacy, University of Pavia, Italy).

London Court of Appeal (rightly) upholds immunity of ‘sham’ diplomat

The judgment of Mr Justice Hayden on 8 February 2016 in Estrada v. Jufalli, denying diplomatic immunity to Walid Juffali – the Saudi billionaire nominally serving as Perm Rep of St. Lucia at the International Maritime Organisation in London – partly because he had failed to discharge the functions of his office, would have established a dangerous precedent if upheld. This is because it threatened the possibility that any diplomatic officer accepted by a receiving state might – following a politically influenced or simply incompetent ‘functional review’ of the role of the individual in question by one of its courts – later  be similarly denied immunity on the grounds of being a ‘sham’ diplomat. Fortunately, on 22 March, the Court of Appeal, assisted by arguments presented by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, comprehensively refuted this part of Mr Justice Hayden’s judgment.  His controversial decision has, nevertheless, served to highlight the need for more strenuous efforts to be made to block the appointment of truly dodgy diplomats in the first place, a possibility lawfully available to foreign ministries.  By way of footnote, I should add that Walid Juffali’s appeal against the original High Court judgment did actually fail overall because the Court of Appeal upheld Mr Justice Hayden’s other opinion; namely, that he was permanently resident in the UK and therefore, in diplomatic law, not immune from a claim unrelated to his official duties. I am grateful to Professor Craig Barker, Dean of the School of Law and Social Sciences at London South Bank University, for drawing my attention to this and related cases.

March 25th, 2016|

Campaign for fairer publishing contracts

The Society of Authors has moved into high gear in the ‘C.R.E.A.T.O.R.’ campaign for fairer contracts for authors. I urge all academics not already members of the Society to join as soon as possible and thereby support this cause. Membership (the cost of which is tax deductible) also has valuable direct benefits, not least the prompt, expert vetting of draft contracts.

January 31st, 2016|

New article published

I have just published on this site my latest article, ‘Diplomatic security and the birth of the compound system’. I am grateful to Eugenio Cusumano, for stimulating my interest in diplomatic security; John W. Young, for his comments on an early draft; and – as ever – to Jelena, for her patience with my forgetfulness. To read the article, click here.

January 29th, 2016|

Turkish translations now published

I am pleased to be able to say that the long-gestating Turkish translations of my biography of Gerald Fitzmaurice (who once described himself as ‘the Wizard of Istanbul’) and his private letters to the young George Lloyd (later Britain’s High Commissioner to Egypt and later still Colonial Secretary) have been published. See Foreign Editions.

January 22nd, 2016|

Embassies in the tense Saudi Arabia-Iran relationship

On 2 January there were well-publicised attacks on Saudi missions in Iran by mobs angered by the execution of the important Shia cleric, Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr. This prompted the Saudi government to break diplomatic relations with Iran, and shortly afterwards the Iranian government claimed that the Saudis had retaliated by launching an air strike on its own diplomatic mission in the Yemeni capital, Sana’a, which is controlled by pro-Iranian Houthis. However, the press coverage of the incidents in Iran left something to be desired, as did the Iranian government’s account of the fate of its embassy in Yemen. First, serious and lamentable though the attacks on the Saudi embassy in Tehran and consulate-general in Mashhad certainly were (see UN Security Council press release), there is no evidence that they were completely ‘ransacked’ and then ‘torched’, although this was widely reported at the time – in the case of the embassy itself, only an annex appears to have been invaded and set alight. Second, after an initial lapse in honouring their obligation to guard such premises, the Iranian authorities – clearly keen to shake off Iran’s reputation for treating embassy-bashing as a national sport – soon prevented further damage; and the security deputy to Tehran’s governor-general shortly afterwards paid for the lapse with his job. Third, while added plausibility that the Saudis intended to attack the Iranian embassy in Sana’a is provided by their belief that it serves as a vital agency of support to the Houthi rebels, only trivial damage is said to have been inflicted on the building by shrapnel flying from a strike on a neighbouring property, although one or more embassy guards standing outside (probably Yemeni) are reported to have been wounded by the blast.

The breach in diplomatic relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran is deeply worrying. However, some comfort might be drawn not only from the fact that the extent and savagery of the attacks on their diplomatic premises have clearly been exaggerated but also from the reflection that, despite longstanding and bitter enmity, up to this point there had remained an Iranian embassy in Riyadh as well as a Saudi embassy in Tehran. This holds out the promise that the extra-regional arm-twisting now going on to get them to restore diplomatic relations might not be a completely lost cause. For those generally interested in the role of embassies in circumstance such as these, see my recently published Embassies in Armed Conflict.

January 12th, 2016|