Dr Christine Bicknell
- BA Hons (Law with French, Newcastle upon Tyne)
- LLM (Public International Law, Bristol)
- PhD (Bristol)
Dr Christine Bicknell is a public international lawyer with research focus on international human rights law and European human rights law, and especially their uptake and implementation at the domestic level. Dr Bicknell’s primary specialism is in the prevention and prohibition of torture at both European and UN levels, in which she has direct practical experience working (see below). More recently her research has been concentrated on structural issues at both domestic and international levels which enable or otherwise impede appropriate application of rights. This is alongside a growing research interest in children’s rights, and particularly children in custody. Dr Bicknell’s published work spans the United Nations human rights framework, and the Council of Europe, European Union, and United Kingdom legal systems.
Before taking up an academic role, with funding from the UK’s (then) Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Dr Bicknell worked in a research capacity directly supporting the UN’s Subcommittee for the Prevention of Torture (SPT) through a significant period of growth. During this time she was also seconded to its Secretariat in Geneva. She has similarly also been involved in collaborative work with the UN’s National Human Rights Institutions Unit. In addition, Dr Bicknell has worked previously as a Research Associate with the Human Rights Implementation Centre (HRIC) at the University of Bristol, where she undertook research on a number of human rights themes. Significant contributions include: research and drafting support contributing to an important publication by the UK’s All-Party Parliamentary Group on International Religious Freedom or Belief; and a large study on human rights treaty body monitoring, commissioned by the UK’s Equality and Human Rights Commission. Dr Bicknell has also acted as a consultant for the EU on the Freedom of Expression, under the framework of Partnership in Governance between the EU and the African Union.
Prior to the above roles, Dr Bicknell’s doctoral thesis considered the work of the SPT’s regional counterpart, the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT). In 2018 the Council of Europe published ‘Preventing Torture in Europe’: a book Dr Bicknell co-authored with Professor Sir Malcolm Evans and Professor Rod Morgan, which both locates the CPT in a broader framework for torture prevention and considers the Committee’s work, standards and key findings over its more than 25 years of operation. Also in 2018, the Honourable Society of the Inner Temple, one of the four Inns of Court of England and Wales, appointed Dr Bicknell as an Academic Fellow, in recognition of her research and teaching excellence.
Dr Bicknell is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, and in 2021 she won the University of Exeter Student Guild’s Award for Outstanding Teaching. Before coming to Exeter, Dr Bicknell has taught previously at the Universities of Bristol, Strathclyde and Cardiff. Her more than ten years of teaching experience at both undergraduate and postgraduate level have included: Tort law, Constitutional Rights, Constitutional and Administrative law, Jurisprudence, European Human Rights Law, International Human Rights Law, and Public International Law. She has been variously invited to deliver guest lectures, including to overseas military officers and high-level civil servants at the UK’s Defence Academy and Royal College of Defence Studies, and to an international audience of human rights defenders and practitioners at the University of Ghent.
Dr. Christine Bicknell’s research interests are mainly in the areas of international and European human rights law, specifically with a focus on the implementation of human rights norms and standards. Related to this work, her deeper focus lies with the politics involved as the law meets with practical on the ground realities. In this regard, she has been especially interested in the relationships between different international and national bodies, as well as those between independent human rights monitoring bodies and states. More recently her research has been concentrated on structural issues at both domestic and international levels which enable or otherwise impede appropriate application of rights. This is alongside a growing research interest in children’s rights, and particularly children in custody.