Dr Vidya Kumar



Birmingham Law School

Photograph of Dr Vidya Kumar

Contact details

Telephone +44 (0) 121 414 3651

Fax +44 (0)121 414 3585

Email v.a.s.kumar@bham.ac.uk

Birmingham Law School
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT


Dr. Kumar is a qualified Barrister and Solicitor from Canada and holds a doctorate from the University of Oxford.  She has published in the areas of globalisation theory and postcolonial legal studies as well as in the areas of human rights, international labour rights, and trade and development in international law. She has worked at the Constitutional Law Branch of the Ministry of Attorney General of Ontario in Toronto, Canada and as an Adjunct Professor at the Law Faculty, University of British Columbia. She has recently been a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Canada Centre for Global Security Studies, Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto and a Visiting Research Fellow at the London School of Economics.

Her work is interdisciplinary in nature - traversing the fields of constitutional law, philosophy of law (i.e. jurisprudence), and public international law. She is currently working on projects exploring: the Relationship between International Law and Revolution; Global Law, Global Constitutionalism; abd the Relationship between International Labour Rights Theory & International Human Rights.

Feedback and office hours

In the first semester of 2014-2015, my Office and Feedback Hours will be:

Fridays 2pm-4pm

Students are welcome to see me during these hours without an appointment. If you need to see me outside these hours, please email me to arrange another time.



  • 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.


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 in 2008 without corrections. She has recently been a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Canada Centre for Global Security Studies, Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto and a Visiting Research Fellow at the London School of Economics (Centre for International Studies).

Dr. Kumar’s international teaching experience includes the following: Jurisprudence (i.e. Philosophy of Law), Introduction to Law, and Comparative Constitutional Law (at the University of Oxford, UK); Critical Legal Reasoning (at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada); and Tort, Legal Skills, and LL.M. Writing Skills (at Durham University, UK). In 2011-2012, she was invited to deliver guest lectures for postgraduate law courses at Osgoode Hall Law School (Global Law in Context) and at the London School of Economics (LSE) (Rethinking International Law). 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.



  • Public Law
  • Advanced Constitutional Law 
  • Canadian Constitutional Law [Module Leader]
  • LL.M. Research Methods
  • Introduction to the Study of Law

Postgraduate supervision


  • Public International Law
  • Philosophy of Law
  • Global & Comparative Constitutionalism
  • International Legal History
  • International Human 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 several conference papers discussing this relationship 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. The present chapter she is writing explores the historical application of international legal norms and doctrines to revolutionary events  (in particular, the application of Hans Kelsen’s ‘doctrine of revolutionary legality’ to the Rhodesian Revolution cases, also called the Grundnorm cases). Her monograph attempts to provide an explanation of why revolution poses fundamental philosophical and practical problems for the discipline and future of international law, using historical and contemporary examples of international law’s encounter with revolutionary events.

In addition to her current work on international law and revolution, she is also a co-author  (with four other scholars) of a project on Global Law. This project is funded by The Institute for Global Law and Policy at Harvard Law School, Harvard University, USA, and is ongoing.

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


Chapters in Edited Collections:

Vidya S.A.Kumar, ‘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, Forthcoming).  (Peer Reviewed)

Journal Articles:

Vidya S.A.Kumar, ‘A Critical Methodology of Globalization: Politics of the 21st Century?’ (2003) Volume 10, Number 2 (Summer) Indiana J of Global Legal Studies http://ijgls.indiana.edu  (Peer Reviewed)

Vidya S.A.Kumar, ‘A Proleptic Approach to Postcolonial Legal Studies? A Brief Look at the Relationship between Legal Theory and Intellectual History’ (2004) Issue 2003 (2) Law, Social Justice and Global Development (Electronic Law Journal published by Warwick University, UK. http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/law/elj/lgd/2003_2/kumar/  (Peer Reviewed)

Vidya S.A.Kumar, LL.M. Thesis:  Comparative Constitutional Law and Ideology: The Mechanism Component of Ideological Critique. (2002). http://wwwlib.umi.com/cr/yorku/fullcit?pMQ75397

Back to top