Dr Vidya Kumar

Dr Vidya Kumar

Birmingham Law School

Contact details

+44 (0) 121 414 3651
+44 (0)121 414 3585
Birmingham Law School
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Dr Kumar holds a doctorate in law from the University of Oxford and is a qualified Barrister and Solicitor from Canada.

Her research traverses the fields of philosophy of law, constitutional law, and public international law. She is currently working on a monographentitled International Law and Revolution: Theory, History and Adjudication. 

Her areas of expertise include international law, global law and global constitutionalism; constitutional theory and comparative constitutionalism; international legal history, international humanitarian law, and international labour law and human rights theory.


  • D.Phil. (Law) University of Oxford (Merton College) Oxford, UK.
  • LL.M. Osgoode Hall Law School, York University, Toronto, ON, Canada.
  • LL.B. Queen’s University Kingston, ON, Canada.
  • M.A. (Political Theory), University of Alberta Edmonton, AB, Canada.
  • B.A. (Hons.) (Political Studies) Queen’s University Kingston, ON, Canada.
  • Barrister and Solicitor, Law Society of Upper Canada, Ontario, Canada
  • Fellow, Higher Education Academy, UK.


Dr Kumar obtained her bachelor’s degree in law (L.L.B.) from Queen’s University, Canada, her master’s degree in law (LL.M.) at Osgoode Hall Law School, York, University, Canada and her doctorate in law (D.Phil.) at the University of Oxford, UK. She also holds a B.A. (Hons) and M.A. in political theory/philosophy. Her LL.M. on the role of ideological discourses in the adjudication of constitutional rights in both Canada and South Africa won one of three university wide prizes for best theses. She was awarded a Winter Williams Scholarship (jointly funded by Merton College and the Law Faculty) to complete her doctoral studies at the University of Oxford. In 2005-2006, Merton College generously funded her exchange to the École Normale Supérieure (ENS) in Paris, France to conduct research. Her D.Phil. critically interrogated the relationship between international labour rights and human rights, and was awarded by Oxford’s Faculty of Law without corrections.

She has held a Postdoctoral Research Fellowship at the Canada Centre for Global Security Studies, Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto and a Visiting Research Fellowship at the London School of Economics (Department of Law and the Centre for International Studies). She has been a lecturer at University of Durham, UK, and has previously worked at the Constitutional Law Branch of the Ministry of Attorney General of Ontario in Toronto and as an Adjunct Professor at the Law Faculty, University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada.

Dr Kumar’s international teaching experience includes inter alia: Jurisprudence (i.e. Philosophy of Law), Introduction to Law, and Comparative Constitutional Law(at Wadham and Mansfield Colleges, University of Oxford, UK); Critical Legal Reasoning (at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada); Tort, Legal Skills, and LL.M. Writing Skills(at the University of Durham, UK).

In 2011-2012, she was invited to deliver guest lectures for postgraduate law courses at Osgoode Hall Law School (Global Law in Context course) and at the London School of Economics (LSE) (Rethinking International Law course). She has also been invited to speak on the relationship between international law and revolution for the International Law and the Periphery Conference at the American University in Cairo, Egypt; for the Jurisprudence Centre, at Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada; and for the LSE’s Public International Law Speakers Series, Department of Law, LSE.  Most recently, she has been invited to give a keynote speech at a Conference at the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) on “Getting Closure: Human Rights After Human Rights”.


  • Global Law and Globalisation [Module Leader]
  • Public International Law
  • Public Law
  • Canadian Constitutional Law [Module Leader]
  • International Humanitarian Law (The Laws of War)  [Past Module Leader]
  • Advanced Constitutional Law [Past Module Leader]
  • LL.M. Research Methods
  • Introduction to the Study of Law
  • Undergraduate Dissertation Module [Module Leader]
  • Jurisprudence

Postgraduate supervision

  • Global Constitutionalism & Comparative Constitutionalism
  • Public International Law (Statehood, Independence, Succession and Decolonisation, Revolution)
  • Philosophy of Law
  • International Legal History
  • International Human Rights/Labour Rights Theory


Dr. Kumar is currently researching a monograph on ‘The Relationship between International Law and Revolution’. This work builds on aspects of her doctorate, and on forthcoming publications and on conference delivered at Birkbeck Law School (2006), LSE’s Department of Law (2011), and The American University in Cairo (2012). In addition to examining various international legal theorists’ understanding and characterisation of revolutionary moments and ideas, her present work offers an historical examination of how revolutions have been treated in legal adjudication as well as how international legal history and theory has treats the phenomenon of revolution. A forthcoming piece explores Hans Kelsen’s ‘doctrine of revolutionary legality’ in the context of the “Rhodesian Revolution” (i.e. the Grundnorm cases). The monograph attempts to provide an explanation of why revolution poses fundamental philosophical and practical problems for the discipline of international law, using historical and contemporary examples of international law’s encounter with revolutionary events, actors and cases.

Dr Kumar belongs to the following international collaborative research groups:

  • Member of Dr Ayça Çubukçu’s LSE Research Group on “Internationalism, Cosmopolitanism and the Politics of Solidarity” (present)
    Website http://www.lse.ac.uk/humanRights/research/groups/Solidarity.aspx
  • International Law and Revolution (International Collaborative Working Group – Founder) (2015)
  • Junior Faculty, Harvard’s Institute of Global Legal Policy (IGLP) (2011- present)

Other activities

  • Senior Editor, Journal of International Law and International Relations: http://www.jilir.org/
  • Referee (Articles), Law, Social Justice and Global Development (LGD), Electronic Law Journals, School of Law, University of Warwick, UK. http://elj.warwick.ac.uk/global


1. Chapters in Edited Collections

a.  Forthcoming and In-Progress:

  • Chapter entitled: ‘International Law, Kelsen and the Aberrant Revolution: Excavating the Practices of Revolutionary Legality in Rhodesia and Beyond’’ in The Power of Legality: Practices of International Law and Their Politics, eds  Nikolas M. Rajkovic, Tanja Aalberts, Thomas Gammeltoft-Hansen (Cambridge University Press, 2016). (In Press)
  • Chapter entitled: ‘Revolutionaries’ in Fundamental Concepts for International Law: The Construction of a Discipline (eds Sahib Singh and Jean D’Aspremont) Edward Elgar, 2016. (Forthcoming)
  • Chapter entitled “Constitutionalism from the Outside? How the Colonial Past Configures Constitutional Boundaries and Futures” in The Handbook of Global Constitutionalism (eds Anthony Lang and Antje Wiener) Edward Elgar, 2016. (Forthcoming)

b.  Published:

  • Chapter entitled ‘Rethinking The Convergence of Human Rights and Labour Rights in International Law: Depoliticisation and Excess’ in Ruth Buchanan and Peer Zumbansen (eds) in Law in Transition: Human Rights, Development and Restorative Justice: An Osgoode Reader (Hart: Oxford, 2015).

2.  Legal Journal Articles:

3.  International Law Monograph:

  • “International Law and Revolution: Theory, History and Adjudication” – An Analysis of the Relationship between International Law and Revolution. (Work in Progress – delivery date 2019)

4. Online LL.M. Publication: