Dr James Cockayne



Dr James Cockayne is Director of United Nations University Centre for Policy Research. Serving with UNU since 2013, he has overseen the revitalization of the University’s presence in New York from a single-person office to a think tank of over 20 people.

James directs UNU’s Modern Slavery Programme, which includes Delta 8.7, a global knowledge platform; Code 8.7, focused on using artificial intelligence (AI) to tackle modern slavery; and the Secretariat of the Liechtenstein Initiative for Finance Against Slavery and Trafficking.

Other notable policy research initiatives he has lead at the Centre include the formulation of the Code of Ethics that now binds the President of the UN General Assembly; advice to senior UN leaders on digital privacy, internet governance and cybserecurity; rethinking global drugs policy; and work with the UN Security Council on due process in targeted sanctions. He is a noted authority on organized crime and global governance.

Dr Cockayne previously served as Senior Fellow at the International Peace Institute; Co-Director of the Centre for Global Counter-Terrorism Cooperation; Principal Legal Officer in the Australian Attorney-General’s Department; and worked in war crimes trials and counter-terrorism capacity-building in Africa.

James is a member of the Advisory Board of the Journal of Modern Slavery, and was previously Chair of the Editorial Committee of the Journal of International Criminal Justice.

He is the author of Hidden Power: The Strategic Logic of Organized Crime (Oxford University Press, 2016). James was awarded a PhD in War Studies from King’s College London, an LLM at New York University and the University Medal in Government and Public Administration during LLB and BA degrees at the University of Sydney.