Human Rights at Birmingham Law School

70 years have passed since the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and today  – 10 December 2018 – Birmingham Law School observes Human Rights Day by reflecting upon and championing the research of academics in this field.

Birmingham law academics at a research away day

Whilst there is increasingly more work to be done in order to achieve human rights for all, the framework on human rights provides an important tool through which diverse and associated rights can be better secured.

The research pursued by our academics is far-reaching, interdisciplinary and contemporary in nature, with many researchers forging meaningful relationships with civil society activists and influencers, as well as holding advisory and committee positions within international organisations.

Europe, the EU, and Brexit

What consequences could departure from the European Union have for the human rights of those living in the UK? How are the rights of minorities protected within the EU? BLS academics have explored such issues and provided legal expertise on the topic of human rights associated with disruption to the Common Travel Area and the Good Friday Agreement. Their research has frequently featured in the public debate surrounding Brexit.

Meet the academics:

Women, Gender, and Sexuality

A number of academics have made significant contributions towards both legal and policy reform to better secure human rights for women, and address entrenched cycles of gendered inequality. The areas in which our scholars work ranges from Abortion Law Reform and reproductive and sexual rights, to gendered inequalities and experiences of poverty, access to justice, and conflict-related sexual violence. Feminist legal theory is featured throughout the scope of many academics’ research and has influenced the curriculum.

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Counter-Terrorism and the Exercise of Power

How do human rights fare in the face of counter-terrorist objectives? How can both state and non-state actors be held accountable for human rights abuses? Important questions concerning the use of force, hard-line immigration laws, and the violation of human rights in favour of political or economic gains are interrogated by our academics, sparking powerful and challenging debates.

Meet the academics:

Birmingham law academics at a research away day

Technological Advancement

In likeness with economic advancement, new technology, ethics, and human rights present fascinating interdisciplinary research, posing questions for the scope of future progress in various sectors and likely impact upon human rights. Surveillance, smart technologies, AI, ‘everyday cyborgs’, the use of AI in medical practice, as well as genome editing are all explored in-depth by our academics who contribute within the international arena on these topics.

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Health and Biomedicine

Interpretation of capacity, disability, vulnerability, and subsequent discrimination has prompted research into access to decision making, health care, and the laws that either enable or prevent satisfaction of human rights in such circumstances. In likeness with technological progression, our academics consider how advancements in health and biomedicine can and should incorporate human rights law, and whether political and legal reform is required in order to satisfy human rights.

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Ethics, Morality and the Law

Conceptions of ethics and morality have undoubtedly shaped the practice and theoretical sides of the law, and impassion those who see the need for change. In addition to the examples of the interrelation between ethics, morals, law and human rights listed above, academics at BLS also explore the common sentiment, moral inquiry, and value-based arguments that not only underpin human rights, but also ground the discipline and shape constitutional identity. Questions arising from these examinations have consequences for states’ legal obligations towards minority or religious rights holders.

Meet the academics:

The list is by no means exhaustive, further information about each of our academics can be found here. For further updates, follow the Law School on Twitter: @Bhamlaw