Human Rights and Democracy Forum
Human Rights and Democracy Forum
The Human Rights and Democracy Forum is a cross-disciplinary research group based in the University of Exeter Law School. It has members from Law, Politics, Sociology and Criminology, includes a growing body of PhD researchers, and has associate members from academia and legal practice.
The Forum has four main areas of research activity:
- Human rights and human dignity in theory and practice, especially under the European Convention on Human Rights and the European Union Charter of Fundamental Rights
- Intersections of public law, private law, criminal law, criminal justice, and international law with questions of human rights and democratic principles
- Comparative and domestic constitutional law and politics
- Legal and political dimensions of non-democratic systems and threats to democracy, including past authoritarian regimes and the resurgence of populism and illiberalism
Examples of Forum members’ research on human rights include issues of international trade law, climate change, migration, gender and sexuality, religious freedom, the treatment of prisoners, police powers, and police uses of lethal force. Examples of members’ research on democracy and democratic principles include issues of criminal justice and the rule of law, the comparative history of criminal law in interwar Britain and Fascist Italy, constitutionalism and constitutional reform processes, and the foundations of national and transnational democracy in Europe. Research in the Forum involves comparative, doctrinal, theoretical, historical and empirical methods, and is both national and international in scope.
The Forum has five main aims overall:
- To support and develop individual and collaborative research projects to the highest standards
- To stimulate research discussion through seminars and workshops, involving Forum members, guest speakers and students
- To build connections with external organisations, institutions and networks in related areas of research and practice, nationally and internationally
- To nurture and train postgraduate researchers
- To support and deliver research-led undergraduate and postgraduate teaching
As a research group anchored in the importance of human rights and democratic principles, the Forum strives to be open and inclusive, to ensure equality of opportunity and participation, and to welcome all forms of research falling within its scope. Forum members invite enquiries about their research activities, proposed collaborations and postgraduate research opportunities. Please refer to the other tabs for further information about our publications and recent activities, as well as how to contact us.
PhD researcher working on human rights in the Gulf Cooperation Countries: comparative study of Oman and Qatar including National Human Rights Institutes’ compliance to Paris Principles, UPR analysis and domestic law relevant to freedom of expression, women and child rights and labour rights - international human rights law, UN human rights mechanisms, authoritarianism and socioeconomic rights. Tariq has been supporting many human rights regional organizations to prepare reports on domestic law compatibility with international human rights conventions.
Socio-economic rights, particularly the right to education; equality law and human rights law; national human rights institutions, regulators, inspectorates and ombudsmen; theories of regulation and governance
Political sociology of Gulf states, statelessness, nationality, elites.
Intersections between international human rights law, technology (including big data and artificial intelligence), digital law, data protection and privacy, and international migration and refugee law
European and international human rights law; prevention and prohibition of torture under the European Convention on Human Rights and UN law
|PhD researcher exploring the concepts of national security and State secrecy, and legitimate reasons for restricting the flow of security and intelligence information. With a particular focus on the Official Secrets Act 1989, and the freedom of expression rights of whistle-blowers in the field of security and intelligence.|
PhD researcher working on international human rights law, particularly children’s rights to autonomy, parental rights, the right to freedom of religion and the rights of the larger community within a modern liberal democracy
Public International Law, International Humanitarian Law, Law of Armed Conflict, Islamic Law of War.
Comparative constitutional law; human dignity and human rights; the European Convention on Human Rights; human rights in the EU; judicial dialogue; the rule of law and democracy in Europe
Policing and human rights, international human rights law and standards, police use of force, less lethal weapons, torture prevention, detention monitoring bodies, equipment with no use other than torture and ill-treatment
|Constitutional law; human rights under the Human Rights Act 1998 and the European Convention on Human Rights; civil liberties and human rights in criminal justice, policing, and police powers|
International criminal law and procedure; Transitional justice; International crimes and gross human rights violations; Human Rights Law; European Convention on Human Rights; Right to a Fair Trial; Post-conflict investigations; Investigations of gross human rights violations; Forensic evidence
Authoritarian regimes, good governance, service provision, local government, ethnic diversity, elections.
|Mollie completed her PhD in November 2022 and is now teaching for the Law School systems of legal gender recognition, especially the Gender Recognition Act 2004; human dignity and human rights law; LGBTQI+ rights, with a specific interest in transgender and non-binary rights|
|Public law; constitutional theory; comparative constitutional law; constitutional democracy; constitutionalism; populism; authoritarianism; illiberalism; courts|
|Human rights dimensions of international trade in healthcare services in Indian and international law; the right to health; public and private duties in the health sector|
|The 'public'; public value; value power/'soft' power; good governance; constitutionalism; institutional design; subsidiarity; localism|
|International human rights law; internal displacement, refugee movements and migration; European Convention on Human Rights; vulnerability and human rights; access to higher education|
|Relationship between international human rights law and gender reform in Saudi Arabia, women's rights activists - discriminatory laws and practices - use of IHRL by Saudi state and international legitimacy|
|European integration, democracy, Brexit, smartphones, social media.|
|The history of modern political thought and contemporary political philosophy, with a particular focus on human rights. His current work focuses both on general historical and philosophical understandings of human rights as a moral idea, and also on particular conceptions of specific human rights (such as rights to property, asylum, and political participation) in modern political texts|
|Human rights education, education for sustainable development, business and human rights, academic freedom and human rights defenders in authoritarian regimes|
International human rights law, emergence of new rights categories, imagining non-imperialist law-making, critical legal theory with a special interest in the intersection of queer and postcolonial theory, non-western LGBTIQ+ rights
|Artificial intelligence, AI in health, health inequalities, regulation of life science research, regulation of technology, translational medicine, privacy,|
PhD researcher working on the relationship between art, law and society, specifically artistic freedom of expression under the ECHR; political theory; liberty and democracy; cultural policy.
|International humanitarian law; secrecy; disarmament; the use of force; chemical and biological weapons; evidence-based policing|
|PhD researcher working on the burden of proof in relation to LGBTQI+ asylum seekers; sexuality rights; immigration, including asylum and refugee law and international human rights law|
|Business and human rights, comparative corporate governance, transnational tort litigation, human rights & documentary filmmaking, law & economic thought, the legal history of the corporation, international economic law|
Comparative history and theory of criminal law; political crime; the rule of law; democracy, fascism, authoritarianism and populism; legal and political theory; lethal force and the right to life under the ECHR
|Public international law with specific focus on international criminal law and transitional justice - diplomacy and humanitarian law - international environmental law & climate change particularly in Nigeria - peace and conflict studies.|
|Gulf monarchies; comparative (Middle East) politics; authoritarianism and strategies of legitimation in authoritarian context; state-business relations; political economy; political sociology|
Migration law, especially the regulation of family migration and citizenship
Constitutional law; judicial dialogue; the role of courts in articulating ideas of democracy; the democratic and constitutional role of dissenting judicial opinions; pedagogy in constitutional & administrative law; public legal education
|Kingsley Abbott, Senior International Legal Adviser for Southeast Asia, Asia Pacific Programme, International Commission of Jurists|
|Jonathan Cooper, OBE, Barrister, Doughty Street Chambers and editor, European Human Rights Law Review. Jonathan gave the Human Rights and Democracy Forum’s inaugural lecture in 2017 and was an enthusiastic and generous supporter of our activities until his untimely death in September 2021.
|Philippa Collins, Lecturer in Law at the University of Bristol|
|Dimitrios Kagiaros, Assistant Professor, Durham Law School|
|John Wadham, Associate Tenant, Doughty Street Chambers|
|Adam Wagner, Barrister, Doughty Street Chambers and founder, UK Human Rights blog|
Daniel Bedford, Catherine Dupre, Gábor Halmai and Panos Kapotas (eds) (2022), Human Dignity and Democracy in Europe: Synergies, Tensions, Crises, (Edward Elgar 2022).
Skinner S (eds)(2019). Ideology and Criminal Law: Fascist, National Socialist and Authoritarian Regimes. Oxford, Hart
Skinner SJ (2019). Lethal Force, the Right to Life and the ECHR: Narratives of Death and Democracy. Oxford, Hart
Rappert B, Gould C (2018). The Dis-eases of Secrecy:. Tracing History, Memory, and Justice. Johannesburg, Jacanda.
Brown N, Rappert B, Webster A (2017). Contested futures: a sociology of prospective techno-science. DOI.
Rappert B, Balmer B (2016). Absence in Science, Security and Policy from Research Agendas to Global Strategy., Palgrave.
Dupre CCL (2015). The Age of Dignity: Human Rights and Constitutionalism in Europe. Oxford, Hart Publishing/Bloomsbury
Lamb R (2015). Thomas Paine and the Idea of Human Rights., Cambridge University Press.
Rappert B (2015). Sensing absence: How to see what isn't there in the study of science and security. DOI.
Skinner SJ (eds)(2015). Fascism and Criminal Law: History, Theory, Continuity. Oxford, Hart
McCann A, Hallo de Wolf A, van Rooij M (eds)(2014). Law and Governance: When Private Actors Contribute to Public Interests. The Hague, Eleven International
Barrett DA (In Press). The importance of regulators and inspectorates to the realisation of equality and human rights: Ensuring compliance and supporting mainstreaming. Public Law Full text.
Bicknell C (In Press). Same Tools Used Differently: the Preventive Potential of the European Arrest Warrant against Inhuman Treatment. European Human Rights Law Review Full text
Gola S (In Press). Right to Health in GATS: can the Public Health Exception Pave the Way for Complementarity?. Pace International Law Review Full text.
Dupre C (2019). ‘Human Dignity is Inviolable. It must be respected and protected’. European Human Rights Law Review, 2, 101-109.
Dupre C (2019). ‘Making Dignity Work’. European Human Rights Law Review, 2, 115-118.
Dymond A (2019). Towards a socio-technical understanding of discretion: a case study of Taser and police use of force. Policing and Society: an international journal of research and policy Full text. DOI.
Hudson B (2019). Editorial: the Future of Internal Displacement and Sustainable Development. Journal of Internal Displacement, 9(1), 2-4.
Barrett D (2018). The effective design, implementation and enforcement of socio-economic equality duties: lessons from the pupil premium. Journal of Social Welfare and Family Law, 40(1), 57-77. Full text. DOI.
Dymond A, Hickman M (2018). Body-worn cameras, use of force and police-civilian interactions. Policing (Oxford), 12(1), 1-5. DOI.
Hudson B (2018). Editorial: Special Issue on Law and Society CRN 11: Displaced Peoples. Journal of Internal Displacement, 8(1), 2-4.
Hudson B (2018). Migration in the Mediterranean: Exposing the Limits of Vulnerability at the European Court of Human Rights. Maritime Safety and Security Law Journal, 4, 26-46. Full text.
Bicknell CH (2017. A Hydra in Detention Settings: a context-based inquiry of Corruption’s many heads. Human Rights Law Review Abstract. Full text.
Hudson B (2017). Homosexuality and "Gay Propaganda". European Human Rights Law Review, 5, 505-508.
Hudson B (2017). Labour Exploitation and Human Trafficking. European Human Rights Law Review, 3, 326-329.
Hudson B (2017). Migrants on Lampedusa. European Human Rights Law Review, 2, 192-195.
Hudson B (2017). Murder of a Journalist. European Human Rights Law Review, 4, 406-409.
Hudson B (2017). Pension Entitlements of Gurkha Soldiers. European Human Rights Law Review, 1, 94-97.
Barrett DA (2016). Tackling Radicalisation: the Limitations of the Anti-Radicalisation Prevent Duty. European Human Rights Law Review Full text.
Skinner SJ (2016). Crimes Against the State and the Intersection of Fascism and Democracy in the 1920s-30s: Vilification, Seditious Libel and the Limits of Legality. Oxford Journal of Legal Studies, 36.3, 482-504. Full text. DOI.
Dupre C (2016). ‘Constituţie neconstituţională: un concept oportun’. Buletinul Curţii Constituţionale a Republicii Moldova, 1, 44-44.
Dupre C (2016). ‘Le respect de la dignité humaine: principe essentiel du droit du travail’. Droit du Travail, 670-677.
Gola S (2015). International Trade & Health Equity: Have Benefits of Medical Tourism ‘Trickled Down’ to India’s Poor?. Law Social Justice and Global Development Journal Full text.
McCann A (2015). Comparing the Law and Governance of Assisted Dying in Four European Nations. European Journal of Comparative Law and Governance, 2(1), 37-91.
McCann A (2014). Irish Legal solution to the Hammock Case. European Review of Private Law, 22(1), 119-129.
McCann A, Colombi Ciacchi A, Oldenhuis F (2014). Non-contractual Liability for Defective Immovable Property - the Hammock Case in a Comparative Perspective. European Review of Private Law, 22(1), 89-156.
McCann A (2014). The CJEU on Trial: Social Justice and Economic Mobility. European Review of Private Law, 22(5), 729-767.
Dupre CCL (2013). Human Dignity in Europe: a Foundational Constitutional Principle. European Public Law, 19 (2)(May 2013), 319-341.
Dupre CCL (2012). Dignity, Democracy, Civilisation. Liverpool Law Review DOI.
Duggan-Larkin J (2010). ‘Can an Intergovernmental Mechanism Increase the Protection of Human Rights? the Potential of Universal Periodic Review in Relation to the Realisation of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights’. Netherlands Quarterly of Human Rights, 28, 548-581.
Bicknell C (2020). Council of Europe and the European System. In Evans M, Modvig J (Eds.) Research Handbook on Torture, Edward Elgar Abstract. Full text.
Dupre C (2020). Conclusion: what has changed?. In (Ed) Icelandic constitutional reform: people, processes, politics, Abingdon and New York: Routledge, 252-257
Dupre C (2020). Introduction: making sense of the Icelandic constitutional reform. In (Ed) Icelandic Constitutional Reform: People, Processes, Politics, Abingdon and New Yor: Routledge, 1-18
Dupre C, Arnason AT (2020). The reform of the 1944 Constitution and Icelandic constitutionalism. In (Ed) Icelandic Constitutional Reform:. People, Processes, Politics, Abingdon and New York: Routledge, 26-53
Barrett DA (2017). The Future of the Right to Education in the UK: the Challenge of Anti-Radicalisation Measures. In Lang R, Smyth C-M (Eds.) The Future of Human Rights in the UK, Cambridge Scholars Publishing. Full text.
Bicknell CH, Evans MD (2017). Monitoring prisons: the increasingly complex relationship between international and domestic frameworks. In Daems T, Visschers J (Eds.) Europe in Prisons, Palgrave Macmillan
Dymond A (2017). Shocking Silences: the Management and Distribution of Silences Around Taser. In Mellor F, Webster S (Eds.) The Silences of Science: Gaps and Pauses in the Communication of Science, London: Routledge, 253-273.
Barrett DA (2016). The Importance of Equality and Human Rights Law in Addressing Socio-Economic Inequality. In Cuypers D, Vrielink J (Eds.) Equal is Not Enough, Intersentia
McCann A, Colombi Ciacchi A (2016). Fundamental rights and humaneness in European private law: the case of health care. In Ferreira N, Kostakopoulou D (Eds.) The Human Face of the European Union Are EU Law and Policy Humane Enough?, Cambridge University Press, 104-130.
Skinner SJ (2016). The Core of McCann: Lethal Force and Democracy under the European Convention on Human Rights. In Early L, Austin A, Ovey C, Chernishova O (Eds.) The Right to Life under Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights: Twenty Years of Legal Developments since McCann v the United Kingdom, Oisterwijk: Wolf Legal Publishers, 67-73.
Skinner SJ (2015). Conclusion: Repression and Legality. In Skinner S (Ed) Fascism and Criminal Law: History, Theory, Continuity, Oxford: Hart, 191-196.
Skinner SJ (2015). Fascist by Name, Fascist by Nature? the 1930 Italian Penal Code in Academic Commentary, 1928-1946. In Skinner S (Ed) Fascism and Criminal Law: History, Theory, Continuity, Oxford: Hart, 59-84.
Skinner SJ (2015). Introduction: Fascism and Criminal Law, 'One of the Greatest Attributes of Sovereignty'. In Skinner S (Ed) Fascism and Criminal Law: History, Theory, Continuity, Oxford: Hart, 1-11.
Skinner SJ (2015). Reati contro lo Stato e l'intreccio tra fascismo e democrazia degli anni venti e trenta del Novecento: vilipendio, libello sedizioso e la sospensione della legalità. In Lacche L (Ed) Il Diritto del Duce: Giustizia e Repressione nell'Italia Fascista, Rome: Donzelli, 57-77.
Dupre CCL (2015). Unconstitutional Constitution: a Timely Concept’ in P Sonnevend (ed.), the Hungarian Constitution in the European Constitutional Area (Hart Publishing. In (Ed) A von Bogdandy and. Sonnevend (ed.), Constitutional Crisis in the European Constitutional Area: Theory, Law and Politics in Hungary and Romania, Oxford: CH Beck, Nomos and Hart, 351-370.
McCann A (2014). Euthanasia in England, France and the Netherlands: a Comparative Law and Governance Perspective. In McCann A. Hallo de Wolf A, van Rooij M (Eds.) Law and Governance: When Private Actors Contribute to Public Interests, the Hague: Eleven International
Dupre CCL (2012). Human Dignity: Rhetoric, Protection, Instrumentalisation. In (Ed) A Constitution for a Disunited Nation. Hungary's New Fundamental Law, Budapest: Central University Press, 143-170.
Natalie Sedacca publishes article in Industrial Law Journal on the minimum wage and devaluation of domestic labour
Launch of ‘Flexible Europe. Differentiated Integration, Fairness, and Democracy’ by Richard Bellamy, Sandra Kröger, and Marta Lorimer
Stephen Skinner publishes article in Oxford Journal of Legal Studies on political crime and authoritarian law
Monitoring deaths associated with police use of force in Kenya and South Africa addressed in new report
Processes for monitoring deaths following police use of force need urgent improvement, warns a new report
Phillipa Collins presents her research on 'Homeworking, surveillance-by-software and the right to privacy'
Stephen Skinner presents his research on the philosophy of legal history and the rule of law in Europe
Dr Ben Hudson provides expertise to UN Secretary-General’s High Level Panel on Internal Displacement
Stephen Skinner takes part in a Human Rights Lawyers’ Association discussion panel on the significance of McCann v UK (1995)
Dimitrios Kagiaros publishes an article on austerity measures in the case law of the European Court of Human Rights
Catherine Dupré guest-edits a special issue of the European Human Rights Law Review focusing on human dignity in the UK
Dimitrios Kagiaros contributes chapter to an edited volume on European Consensus in the European Court of Human Rights
Preventing Torture in Europe - The Council of Europe publishes a book co-authored by Christine Bicknell
Catherine Dupré awarded fellowship at Max Planck Institute for Public International and Comparative Law
Catherine Dupré co-convenes 'Human Dignity and Constitutional Crisis in Europe' conference in Florence
Stephen Skinner co-convenes a conference panel to explore how law structured and supported totalitarian regimes in the first half of the twentieth century
European Constitutional Democracy in Peril - People, Principles, Institutions: International Conference Budapest June 23-24 2016
Stephen Skinner Convenes a Workshop Examining Anti-Democratic Ideology and Criminal Law under Fascist Regimes
The Law School has a dynamic international body of postgraduate researchers working in a wide range of fields. Find out more about PhD studies and funding.
We welcome enquiries from prospective research students interested in developing projects with support from any research funding body, including both the AHRC and ESRC. Please contact us to discuss possibilities.
Current research students
A range of exciting PhD projects are currently being undertaken by postgraduate students affiliated with the Human Rights and Democracy Forum: please see the Members tab above for details.
In addition to their research activities, HRDF members are dedicated teachers and deliver a number of courses through which they share their passion for research and their commitment to developing and sharing new knowledge and skills. Many members teach on the core course of UK Constitutional and Administrative Law. All members also teach optional courses at undergraduate level. For second year students, these include ‘Equality and Diversity’, ‘Law, Democracy and Populism’, ‘Jurisprudence’ and ‘Human Rights and Human Dignity’. For third year students, options taught by HRDF members include: ‘Business and Human Rights Law’, ‘Modern Trafficking and Modern Slavery’, ‘Law, Politics and Power’, and ‘Human Rights Law’.
At postgraduate level, students can sign up for courses, such as ‘Dignity, Democracy and the Law, and ‘International Criminal Law and Justice’. Find out more about all modules.
For non-media enquiries about the Human Rights and Democracy Forum and its activities, please contact us in one of the following ways:
The Human Rights and Democracy Forum
Law School - Amory Building
University of Exeter
Media enquiries are also welcome - please contact:
Telephone: +44 (0)1392 722307