The small states of the world differ considerably in their geography, history, political structures, legal systems and wealth. Nevertheless, because of their size, small states face a set of common challenges including vulnerability to external economic impacts such as changing trade regimes and limited ability to diversify economic activity; limited public and private sector capacity, including the legal and judicial infrastructure; a need for regional co-operation and the impact of international law and globalisation. Many small states of the world are islands, and these are particularly susceptible to environmental impacts such as natural disasters and climate change. Small states can also be flexible, adaptable, sites of social development and innovation, and have an influence in the world disproportionate to their size.

The aim of the CSS is to provide a platform for researchers interested in discussing and analysing the particular issues small states face, primarily through a legal but also through an interdisciplinary lens. Public and private law scholars with an interest in small states will all be welcome at the CSS.

We define small states as those states with a population of 1.5m or less. The Centre for Small States also includes within its remit some territories that are not classified as states as a matter of international law, yet are sufficiently geographically and culturally distinct entities to be worthy of study in their own right including the British Crown Dependencies of the Isle of Man, Jersey and Guernsey and British Overseas Territories such as the Pitcairn islands.