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Dr David Barrett


I joined Exeter Law School in September 2018. I have two primary research interests: (i) socio-economic rights and socio-economic inequality (particularly within the UK context); and (ii) mechanisms of equality and human rights enforcement beyond courts. 

I am a member of the Economic and Social Rights Academic Network: UK and Ireland (ESRAN-UKI) and the Socio-Legal Studies Association (SLSA) and I am one of the convenors for the 'Equality and Human Rights' stream at the SLSA Annual Conference. 

I am always happy to supervise PhD students in any areas around equality and human rights law, particularly socio-economic rights and the right to education. 

Research group links

Research interests

  • International human rights laws (particularly socio-economic and children’s rights)
  • British equality and human rights law
  • Socio-economic inequality (particularly issues of social class)
  • Regulation and the interaction of different regulators around equality/human rights
  • Implementation, particularly how public bodies implement equality and human rights norms
  • Education and schools (particularly socio-economic inequalities and Ofsted)
  • Anti-radicalisation laws and policies (particularly within schools)

Research supervision

I enjoy supervising PhD students and I am happy to discuss any proposals with potential students within my broad field of interest (equality and human rights law). 

Research students

Current students:

Bertha Chakawarika - An Investigation into the Competing Claims Relating to the Religious Upbringing of Children within a Modern Liberal Society 

Hilal Cibik - Can the United Kingdom's Uncodified Constitution be Resilient to Contemporary Challenges arising from Populism?

Rebecca Munday - Does the Gender Reassignment Protected Characteristic under the Equality Act 2010 offer Protection to the Identities of the Non-Binary Community? 

Karolyn Place - With Reference to Access to Justice could Public Legal Education be the Key to Navigating our Systems? 


Completed students:

Obinna Edeji - The Right to Education in International Human Rights Law: Reconceptualising the Basis and Justification for its Implementation from the Perspective of its Fundamental Purpose with a Focus on Nigeia

External impact and engagement

My research on the Equality and Human Rights Commission and regulators and inspectorates was drawn upon in a Women and Equalities Committee Inquiry into the enforcement of the Equality Act. The report can be found here.

I have worked with the All Party Parliamentary Group on Pensions Clawback. The report I submitted to the Group with James Kolaczkowski can be found here.

I have worked with Elect Her on making campaign finance more understandable to support more women to stand as candidates in elections. The guide I produced with Susan Banducci and Josh Thompson can be accessed here.


I have an LLB from the University of Leicester, an LLM in Legal Research from the University of Edinburgh and a PhD from the University of Bristol. 

My PhD was entitled 'Regulating Socio-Economic Inequality Utilising Equality and Human Rights Law: An Exploration in the Context of English Primary Education'.

Prior to joining Exeter Law School, I was a lecturer at Nottingham Trent University (2015-2018). 

I am originally from Nottingham North, and I am a passionate supporter of widening participation projects.

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