International Judicial Monitor
Published by the International Judicial Academy, Washington, D.C., with assistance from the
American Society of International Law

Summer 2013 Issue



Judge Rosemary Barkett Selected for Iran-United States Claims Tribunal

Judge Rosemary BarkettBy: Maria A. Chhabria, Director of Academic Programs, International Judicial Academy

In August 2013, the U.S. Department of State selected Judge Rosemary Barkett as a U.S.-appointed member of the Iran-United States Claims Tribunal. Judge Barkett will begin her tenure on that tribunal on October 1, 2013. In order to join the Tribunal, she announced her retirement from the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit effective September 30, 2013. Judge Barkett is the successor to Judge Gabrielle McDonald at the Tribunal, which sits in The Hague.

The Iran-United States Claims Tribunal consists of nine arbitrators: three appointed by Iran, three appointed by the United States, and three appointed by the previous six arbitrators. The Iran-United States Claims Tribunal was established in 1981 by the two countries in order to resolve the issues arising from the November 1979 hostage crisis at the United States Embassy in Tehran that resulted in the freezing of Iranian assets by the United States. There are currently several complex claims on the Tribunal’s docket involving disputes between the two governments, and claims brought by individuals against the two countries.

Prior to joining the Tribunal, Judge Barkett has had a longstanding career, having served for nearly thirty four years as a U.S. judge. In 1979, she was appointed as a state circuit court judge of the 15th Judicial Circuit of Florida. In 1982, she was nominated administrative judge of the civil division, and a year later she was elected as a chief judge of Florida’s 15th Circuit. She was the first female chief judge in the state’s history. In 1984, she was appointed to serve as an appellate court judge on Florida’s Fourth District Court of Appeal. A year later, Judge Barkett was the first female justice to serve on the Florida Supreme Court. In 1992, her colleagues chose her to become Chief Justice and again she was the first woman in that position in the state of Florida. Prior to becoming a judge, she practiced civil and trial law from 1971 until 1979 in West Palm Beach, Florida.


Judge Barkett has received numerous awards and honorary degrees. She has been named 2008 Legal Legend by Florida’s 11th Judicial Circuit Historical Society. She received the Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of Achievement award and the Latin Business and Professional Women Lifetime Achievement Award. In addition, each year two awards are presented and given in honor of Judge Barkett: the Rosemary Barkett Outstanding Achievement Award by the Florida Association of Women Lawyers and the Rosemary Barkett Award by the Academy of Florida Trial Lawyers. In 1986, she was inducted into the Florida Women's Hall of Fame and was the recipient of the Judicial Achievement Award for her work and efforts in protecting individual rights. She is a member of several organizations including the American Law Institute, the International Women's Forum, and the American Society of International Law, and was also the National Association of Women Judges Honoree of the Year in 1999.

Judge Barkett was a member of the faculty of Florida’s Judicial College, the National Judicial College, the Institute of Judicial Administration’s New Appellate Judge Seminar, and the Aspen Institute. She taught comparative constitutions at Columbia Law School and appellate judges seminars. She presented lectures on various substantive and procedural topics also involving court administration.

Judge Barkett was born on August 29, 1939 in Ciudad Victoria, Mexico, to Syrian parents. In 1945, she moved with her family to Miami, Florida. At 17, she entered a Catholic convent and became a nun. She was a nun for almost ten years and during that time she taught elementary and junior high school classes. In 1967, she earned a B.S. summa cum laude from Spring Hill College and three years later she received her JD from the University of Florida Law School.


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© 2013 – The International Judicial Academy
with assistance from the American Society of International Law.

Editor: James G. Apple.
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