Human Rights

Several CELI members share an interest in human rights, conducting research on a wide range of national, European and international human rights law. While the approach of the members of the group is primarily legal, they also share an interest in human rights theory. The topics studied include terrorism, poverty, labour rights, social rights, globalisation, and the role of NGOs.


News, events and current work

PhD Award: Exploring Parental Views About Family Privacy and its Protection in English Law, Claire Bessant

Should the family be afforded privacy? Although this is a question that many academics have raised, no-one has ever asked parents their views.
PhD Award: Exploring Parental Views About Family Privacy and its Protection in English Law, Claire Bessant

Leicester Law School

Using semi-structured interviews to explore whether parents believe the family should be afforded privacy and whether they believe English law affords effective protection to family privacy.

This research

  • finds that many parents believe the family should be afforded its own privacy, should be free from state and societal intrusion, and should be allowed to control how family information is used. The idea of family privacy does remain relevant to twenty-first century families.
  • offers a new definition of family privacy drawn from existing literature but also grounded in parents’ own words and reflective of the way English law understands family privacy to apply to the family.
  • sheds new light on traditional understandings of the family as a private institution, proposing a new framework for understanding the relationship between family, state, and society which draws both upon communication privacy management theory and relational theory.
  • finds that many parents, not trusting the law to protect their family’s privacy, believe it is their responsibility to protect privacy.  Some of the decisions parents take in order to protect their families’ privacy may, however, impact on children’s rights to privacy, participation, and self-determination. This study suggests that this conflict between family privacy/parental decision-making and children’s rights is an issue requiring further academic and judicial consideration.

Claire Bessant was supervised by Mandy Burton and John Hartshorne.

See more human rights current and past PhD topics.

PhD Success: The Conception of Resistance in and Beyond Human Rights, Shaimaa Abdelkarim

In April 2021 Shaimaa Abdelkarim successfully passed her viva.
PhD Success: The Conception of Resistance in and Beyond Human Rights, Shaimaa Abdelkarim

Shaimaa Abdelkarim

Broadly, Shaimaa’s research contributes to critical approaches to human rights. Her thesis analyses how anticolonial resistance and contemporary social movements are employed to advance a counter-hegemonic function to human rights. Counter-hegemonic approaches have moved away from the euro-centric and institutional production of human rights law to recognising the contributions of formerly colonised societies in reshaping human rights ideals on autonomy.

Shaimaa’s research disassembles the recognition of anticolonial resistance through a psychoanalytic approach to uncover how racism informs the understanding of agency in human rights. She suggests attending to the contemporary function of human rights through the afterlives of colonial governance. Those afterlives manifest in the exclusivity of qualifying for human rights protections and the racial encodings of the term ‘human’. Shaimaa aims to publish her thesis as a monograph. She is currently exploring the global response of international human rights institutions to the COVID-19 pandemic at the Centre for Studies and Research, Hague Academy of International Law.

Shaimaa Abdelkarim was supervised by Dr Loveday Hodson and Dr Joe Wills.

See more Human Rights current and past PhD research topics.

Reading and Reimagining Equality, 20 November 2020

Reading and Reimagining Inequality is the first seminar of International Law Outside the Box, the 2020/2021 CELI Peace Talks, the Annual Series of Leicester Law School's Centre for European Law and Internationalisation.

The seminar features a stellar panel of speakers: Professor Gerry Simpson (LSE), Professor Vasuki Nesiah(NYU), Dr Francesca Haig (University of Chester) and Dr Loveday Hodson (University of Leicester). The panel shall discuss the value of literary approaches to international law and social justice, looking at how literature and literary approaches to the world can offer insight into in/equality, including poverty of the (international legal) imagination.


Open to: All

Date and time: Friday, 20 November 2020, 18:00-19:30 (UTC)

Venue: Online via Microsoft Teams

Registration: The event is free of charge but booking is required
Register now to recieve a joining link

For further information please email the convenors, Dr Vidya Kumar and Dr Paolo Vargiu.

CANCELLED: Facilitating social inclusion in a changing human rights landscape (26-27 March 2020)

This event has been cancelled in light of the COVID-19 crisis.

This event has been cancelled in light of the COVID-19 crisis.

Date: 26-27 March 2020

Venue: Leicester Law School, Fielding Johnson Building (Council Chambers). Maps and directions.

Bookings via Eventbrite.

More information and details available in the programme (subject to changes).

There are a number of bursaries available to cover travel expenses. For further information, please email us at

Abstract: Social inclusion is an imperative that all democratic States should strive to achieve, including by the establishment of actions and structures which promote an order and environment that is characterised by social inclusion.

This conference will discuss both the top level constitutional and human rights framework in which social inclusion is promoted, and more specific legal issues and problems related to social inclusion/exclusion.

It will discuss problems, opportunities and challenges resulting from the changing landscape in general and then zoom in on specific issues that arise with respect to the promotion of social inclusion and consider possible ways forward. Specific issues are likely to cover / be related to one or more of the causes of social exclusion, for example: unemployment, financial hardship, poverty, discrimination on grounds of sex, race, ethnic origin, religion, sexuality, age; education/skills, housing, crime, e.g. hate crime, offender rehabilitation; migration, health and access to social care.... They may also relate to the tools and procedures available to individuals and charities, e.g. access to justice and representation of claims.


CANCELLED: Citizenship Stripping in the UK: A Short Introduction (29 April 2020, 4:30-6 pm)

This event has been cancelled because of the COVID-19 crisis.

This event has been cancelled and will be re-scheduled for the next academic year.

Title: “Citizenship Stripping in the UK: A Short Introduction”

SpeakerProf Matthew J Gibney (University of Oxford)

Bookings via Eventbrite

For more info and details, please email us at

Applications open! Midlands4Cities PhD funding for UK/EU applicants

We are accepting applications in the areas of European, international and human rights law.

CELI is looking for excellent PhD students in the areas of European, international and human rights law. Please contact us at if you’d like to discuss a possible application.

Deadline for applications: 14 January 2020 (12:00 pm)

Full details.

Women’s Non-Refoulement Claims: Gendering Article 3 ECHR Risk Assessment

Dr Lourdes Peroni (University of Sheffield Hallam) will analyse the way in which the European Court of Human Rights assesses women asylum seekers’ non-refoulement claims under Article 3 ECHR.

Date and time: Wednesday, 13 Nov 2019, 2-4 pm.

Venue: Fielding Johnson L67.

Speaker: Dr. Lourdes Peroni, Sheffield Hallam University

Title: Women’s Non-Refoulement Claims: Gendering Article 3 ECHR Risk Assessment

Abstract: In this talk, I propose rethinking the way in which the European Court of Human Rights assesses women asylum seekers’ non-refoulement claims under Article 3 ECHR. In assessing the risk of ill-treatment that women would face if returned to their home countries, the Court sometimes under-scrutinizes the home state capacity to protect them while over-scrutinizing women’s capacity to protect themselves. This reasoning overlooks the societal and institutional conditions that render women vulnerable to ill-treatment in their home countries (e.g. impunity for violence usually experienced by women, widespread discrimination against women). At the same time, the reasoning suggests that women’s vulnerability to ill-treatment is largely due to personal attributes or ‘failures’ such as weakness, dependence, lack of education or financial resources. Under-scrutinizing the home state capacity to protect while over-scrutinizing women’s capacity to protect themselves may not solely distort the actual risk the individual woman would face in the particular case. The reasoning may also have gender inequality implications beyond the case. Women asylum seekers who do not fit the stereotype of the ‘weak, dependent and resourceless woman’ may be denied Article 3 ECHR protection. Moreover, ‘other’ women’s subordinate status in society may be recreated in and reinforced by human rights discourse. To counter these faults, I propose that in dealing with women asylum seekers’ non-refoulement claims the Court: (a) assess the gendered protection obstacles embedded in the home state institutions and society and (b) asses how these obstacles may shape a woman’s individual capacity to deal with the risk.

Dr Vidya Kumar invited by a UN independent expert to speak at race and human rights symposium in Los Angeles

‘Critical Perspectives on Race and Human Rights: Transnational Re-Imaginings’, 8 March 2019.

Dr Kumar spoke on the panel ‘Race, Socio-Economic Inequality, and Human Rights’ due to her expertise on the relationship between race, human rights and international law.

Full story

Registration open! Human Rights Laws at a Crossroads: What Directions after Brexit?

This one-day event will obtain a panoramic perspective, looking to the pressures and challenges associated with a human rights landscape unsettled by Brexit, facing uncertainty regarding the domestic regime for human rights protection, and a Strasbourg system that has been reshaped, yet which remains under intense pressure

Date and time: 25 May 2018, 10:30am—5pm

Venue: Council Suite 1, Fielding Johnson Building  (Maps and directions)

Full programme (subject to changes).

Booking: This event is free of charge, but booking is essential


  • Professor Sionaidh Douglas-Scott (Queen Mary University of London)
  • Dr Kirsty Hughes (University of Cambridge)
  • Dr Dimitrios Giannoulopoulos (Brunel University London)
  • Professor Merris Amos (Queen Mary University of London)
  • Professor Colm O’Cinneide (University College of London)
  • Dr Hélène Tyrell (Newcastle Law School)
  • Professor Philip Leach (Middlesex University)
  • Dr Matt Saul (Pluricourts, University of Oslo)
  • Professor Mikael Rask Madsen (University of Copenhagen)
  • Eleanor Hourigan (Counsel, Joint Committee on Human Rights)
  • Rob Linham (Deputy Permanent Representative at the UK Delegation to the Council of Europe) [tbc]

For further details and information, please contact:

Crimes of the British Empire in Iraq and why no one gets prosecuted

Public seminar led by Clive Baldwin (Senior Advisor, Human Rights Watch), which will look into the international responsibility of Britain for the Bolton Massacre, the genocide in Tanzania, the massacre, Churchill and bombing of civilians in Iraq and Pakistan, and the recent crimes in Iraq. This event will be followed by a career talk about opportunities in human rights and international law.

Speaker: Clive Baldwin

Date and time: Wednesday 24 January 2018, 12 pm – 2.00pm

Venue: Jan Grodecki Room (FJ 164)

Attendance is free but please contact to register

Leicester PhD researcher invited to deliver a lecture at Leiden Law School

Ms Aristi Volou, PhD researcher at Leicester Law School, has been invited to deliver a lecture at the 2018 Inaugural ILS PhD Workshop of Leiden Law School.

Aristi Volou has been invited by the Interaction of Legal Systems Research Group of the Leiden Law School to deliver a lecture to PhD and staff members as part of the 2018 Inaugural ILS PhD Workshop. Aristi’s lecture will be based on a chapter of her PhD thesis which develops a conceptual framework on the interaction of legal orders in the area of human rights law with a specific focus on social and economic rights.

Aristi is supervised by Professors Katja Ziegler and Bernard Ryan.

‘Investment Law after Brexit’, 14 June 2017

Dr Kleinheisterkamp (LSE), Ms Malik (20 Essex Street) and Dr Waibel (University of Cambridge) will discuss the legal implication for U.K.’s investment law after Brexit.

Dr Kleinheisterkamp (LSE), Ms Malik (20 Essex Street) and Dr Waibel (University of Cambridge) will discuss the legal considerations for the UK's investment after Brexit. The exit from the EU will generate substantial uncertainty in the investment world. The UK will have to establish its investment priorities and positions as a State which is no longer part Of the supranational EU.


Date and time: Wednesday, 14 June 2017, 2:30–4:30 pm
Venue: Jan Grodecki Room, first floor, Fielding Johnson Building (Maps and directions)
Speakers: Dr Kleinheisterkamp (LSE), Ms Malik (20 Essex Street) and Dr Waibel (University of Cambridge)
Registration/contact: To register or to be informed about future events, email:

2017 Human Rights Festival (22 May, 5 June & 19 June 2017)

We are organising three movie screening on human rights related issues on 22 May, 5 June and 19 June (4pm). The upcoming screening: '14 Days in May' is about the final days of Edward Earl Johnson before his execution. It was directed by Paul Hamann, one of the founders of Reprieve who will also attend the screening in Leicester.


Venue: University Film Theatre (Attenborough Building), followed by discussion and refreshments in the
Jan Grodecki Room (School of Law, FJ Building).
Date and time: 22 May 2017 (4 p.m.)
All staff and students welcome
For further information, please contact: Loveday Hodson on


The ICRC's Detainee Visits in Guantanamo & Career Opportunities at the ICRC, 27 March 2017

Ms Andrea Harrison, Deputy Legal Advisor at the ICRC and Mr Michael Mazliah, Legal and Protection Officer at the ICRC will be explaining the work of the ICRC during the visits to detainees held at the Guantánamo detention facility. Afterwards, they will discuss career opportunities and their own experience within the ICRC.

Venue: Jan Grodecki Room (Fielding Johnson Building)

Date and Time: 27th March 2017, 4-6 p.m.

Speakers: Andrea Harrison and Michael Mazliah,

Contact and bookings:

The Accountability of MPs for the Decision to Use Armed Force Outside the UK, 23 March 2017

Professor Peter Rowe (Lancaster University) will examine the possibility of holding Members of Parliament accountable for the decision to use military force abroad.

Professor Peter Rowe will be leading a research seminar on the possibility of holding MPs accountable for any decision to use military force abroad. He is the author of the recent book Legal Accountability and Britain's Wars 2000-2015 (Routledge 2016), which discusses the manner in which Britain’s wars have interacted with the principles of international and English law for the purpose of legal accountability.


Venue: Jan Grodecki Room (FJ164)

Date and time: Thursday, 23 March 2017, 3:00-5:00 pm

Open to: Staff and research students

Contact: For more information email

Leicester academics’ work on the European Convention on Human Rights published widely in Russia

The Russian version of a leading text, 'The Law of the European Convention on Human Rights', was launched at the European Court of Human Rights on 27 January 2017.

The English version of the book, Harris, O’Boyle, Warbrick, Bates and Buckley, The Law of the European Convention on Human Rights, is co-authored by Dr Ed Bates of Leicester and includes a major chapter authored by Prof Peter Cumper, also of Leicester.

In a foreword to the book the President of the Strasbourg Court, commented on the significance of a Russian translation of it:

‘At Strasbourg, judges regularly make reference to Harris, O’Boyle and Warbrick (et al) in their separate opinions on cases decided by the Court. The same is true of other judges in other courts where English is spoken (or at least understood). With this translation, the great practical value and utility of this book will increase even more. I welcome the prospect of Russian judges and jurists being able to use this magisterial work of reference in the course of their professional activities.

Through greater knowledge and understanding of the Convention case-law, the national courts in the Russian Federation - and other systems in which Russian is understood – will be better able to protect human rights and fundamental freedoms. This is their central, vital role in the Convention system, which places the primary responsibility for upholding human rights at the national level. This concept of subsidiarity, as simple as it is essential, ensures the effectiveness, viability and stability of the Convention system. This book contributes to that in a very concrete way, and I commend the publishers for rising to the challenge of making its contents accessible to Russian-speakers’.

The translation of this book and its free distribution among Russian judges and civil servants is supported by the Council of Europe’s cooperation programmes in the Russian Federation, and by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

The book launch of the Russian text was in the presence of Guido Raimondi (President of the European Court of Human Rights), Philippe Boillat (Council of Europe Director General for Human Rights and Rule of Law), Ivan Soltanovsky (Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the Council of Europe) and former Deputy Registrar of the European Court of Human Rights, Michael O’Boyle (who is pictured with a copy of the book).

‘Socially Sustainable Public Procurement’, 16 February 2017

A range of specialists will convene at the University of Leicester, College Court, to discuss issues surrounding social justice and public procurement. Sponsored by The Procurement Lawyers’ Association and The British Academy and Leverhulme Trust.

Socially Sustainable Public Procurement event image

The University of Leicester will host an event on ‘Socially Sustainable Public Procurement’. Expert speakers will address key issues concerned with social justice and public procurement law, policy and practice, including supply chains and human rights, social value and labour objectives and the EU procurement directives.

Confirmed speakers

  • Professor Sue Arrowsmith (University of Nottingham)
  • Dr Lydia Hayes (Cardiff University)
  • Dr Aris Georgopoulos (University of Nottingham)
  • Dr Annamaria La Chimia (University of Nottingham)
  • Natalie Evans (City of London)
  • Matthew Jackson (Centre for Local Economic Strategies)
  • Dr Albert Sanchez-Graells (University of Bristol)
  • Dr Richard Craven (University of Leicester)

The event is sponsored by the Procurement Lawyers’ Association. And additional funding for the event has been provided by the British Academy and Leverhulme Trust.


Programme (pdf)

Open to: All

Date and time: Thursday, 16 February 2017, 9:00–17:00

Venue: College Court, Knighton Rd, Leicester LE2 3UF (more information)

Pricing: Public sector and academics £25 / Public sector and academic Procurement Lawyers Association members £10 / Private sector Procurement Lawyers Association members £30 / Private sector £40


Procurement Lawyers’ Association logo

Law Professor speaks at Nobel Prize Nominee Nadia Murad's public lecture

Professor Jill Marshall highlights the vulnerability of girls and women in times of conflict despite international law's promise.
Law Professor speaks at Nobel Prize Nominee Nadia Murad's public lecture

Nadia Murad and Prof. Jill Marshall

Nobel Peace Prize nominee and UN Goodwill Ambassador Nadia Murad, who was held captive by so-called Islamic State members spoke at the University of Leicester on The Struggle of Yazidi people Against IS on 26 November 2016. Professor Jill Marshall brought the event to a close. She pointed out that although the actions described by Nadia are clearly illegal under many international and domestic laws, actually enforcing those laws can depend on the effective functioning of the relevant state and the ability and will of the International community.

Professor Marshall drew a comparison with previous genocides where sexual violence played a prominent role in the 1990s, when she was a similar age to Nadia: “I could not believe this was happening in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia - I thought these things were confined to the history books - and I can’t believe it’s happening now." She also highlighted the purpose of law: “Law is supposed to have some connection to justice and to protection especially of those less powerful and to punish aggressors." In terms of slavery, Professor Marshall referred to her recent lectures to our undergraduate Jurisprudence students and said "I sometimes think students see the things we talk about as in the past, history, and we now live in much better times, things have improved so much. But the buying and selling of humans is not confined to the history books - it is happening around us in the world today and we must do something about it..."

The Miller Case: Brexit and the Constitution, 7 December 2016

An event organised by CELI to discuss the constitutional implications of the High Court's ruling on Brexit.

Professor Elizabeth Wicks will be leading a discussion on the judgment in the case of Miller v Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union.

This event is part of the Brexit Forum, a seminar series on BREXIT which will be run by CELI during this academic year.

To register or to be informed about future events, email


Open to: All
Date and time: Wednesday, 7 December, 4:00–6:00 pm
Venue: Jan Grodecki Room, first floor, Fielding Johnson Building (Maps and directions)
Event poster (pdf)

Dr Ed Bates presentation at the European Court of Human Rights

Law senior lecturer delivers paper on ‘Judicial Activism and self-restraint: the margin of appreciation’s Strasbourg career, and its coming age?’

Dr Ed Bates delivered a paper, entitled ‘Judicial Activism and self-restraint: the margin of appreciation’s Strasbourg career, and its coming age?’ at the European Court of Human Rights on 9 September 2016.

Ed was one of two academics invited to speak at a Colloquy event to mark the retirement of the ‘British’ judge on the Court, Paul Mahoney. The event was sponsored by Human Rights Law Journal. The proceedings and papers of the Colloquy will be published by HRLJ in the near future.

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