Dr Ben Warwick

Dr Ben Warwick

Birmingham Law School
Reader in Human Rights Law
Deputy Head of School (Education)

Contact details

Birmingham Law School
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Dr Ben Warwick’s research explores how economic factors affect human rights (and especially socio-economic rights). He is interested in the ways that laws and the institutions that enforce them change under such pressures. This has led him to write on the related questions of crisis, neoliberalism, and the reversal of rights protections. He is a specialist in international human rights, the United Nations human rights bodies, and human rights after Brexit (especially the Irish context).

His research is frequently used by governmental and non-governmental bodies nationally and internationally, and has been prominently reported in national print and news media. He is currently Co-Investigator on a £250k ESRC Governance After Brexit grant which is interrogating questions of identity and governance, and was shortlisted for the Vice Chancellors Emerging Impact Award.

Ben is on the European Parliament’s list of legal experts, an Associate of the Oxford Human Rights Hub, is Co-Coordinator of the Law and Society Association's Economic and Social Rights network, and a member of the Queen Mary Human Rights Law Review’s Review Board.


  • PhD, Durham University
  • LLM (Human Rights Law), University of Nottingham
  • LLB, Durham University


Ben Warwick joined Birmingham Law School in 2016 as Lecturer in Law. He holds an LLB degree from Durham University, and an LLM in Human Rights Law from the University of Nottingham. His PhD, from Durham University, was on the doctrine of non-retrogression in economic and social rights. He previously taught at Durham University during his three years as Graduate Teaching Assistant there. He became a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy in 2015.


  • Criminal Law
  • International Human Rights Law
  • Foundations in International Law & Globalisation
  • Contemporary Issues in International Law & Globalisation
  • Law in Action 1, Law in Action for Graduates (Module Leader)

Postgraduate supervision

Ben Warwick is interested in supervising research in the following areas:

Economic and social rights
International human rights and resources
Rights enforcement

Find out more - our PhD Law  page has information about doctoral research at the University of Birmingham.


Ben’s research interests lie within the broad field of human rights law. A primary strand of this research are the issues surrounding resource constraints and the implementation of economic and social rights. Working primarily with the international human rights framework, he has researched the circumstances in which 'backwards steps' (or ‘retrogression’) in rights protection might be taken. This research is particularly applicable to situations of crisis and where resource constraints occur through natural and economic disasters.

He has also undertaken research projects on, for example, the general obligations of the ICESCR, the performance of the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the right to food in the UK, neoliberalism, theories of emergency, and the right to education in armed conflict.


Recent publications


de Mars, S, Murray, C, O'Donoghue, A & Warwick, BTC 2018, Bordering Two Unions: Brexit and Northern Ireland. 1 edn, Policy Press. <http://www.oapen.org/search?identifier=1000392>


Warwick, BTC 2019, 'Unwinding retrogression: examining the practice of the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights? ', Human Rights Law Review, pp. 1–24. https://doi.org/10.1093/hrlr/ngz023

Wills, JJ & Warwick, BTC 2016, 'Contesting austerity: the potential and pitfalls of socioeconomic rights discourse', Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies, vol. 23, no. 2, pp. 629-664. https://doi.org/10.2979/indjglolegstu.23.2.0629

Warwick, BTC 2016, 'Socio-economic rights during economic crises: A changed approach to non-retrogression', International & Comparative Law Quarterly, vol. 65, no. 1, pp. 249-265. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0020589315000494

O’Donoghue, A & Warwick, BTC 2015, 'Constitutionally questioned: UK debates, international law, and Northern Ireland', The Northern Ireland Legal Quarterly, vol. 66, no. 1, pp. 93-104.

Chapter (peer-reviewed)

Warwick, BTC 2019, Debt, Austerity, and the Structural Responses of Social Rights. in I Banketas & C Lumina (eds), Sovereign Debt and Human Rights. Oxford University Press. https://doi.org/10.1093/oso/9780198810445.003.0021

Warwick, BTC 2019, Social Minima at the UN Treaty Bodies: Minimal Consistency? in T Kotkas, I Leijten & F Pennings (eds), Specifying and Securing a Social Minimum in the Battle Against Poverty. Hart Publishing.

Murray, C & Warwick, BTC 2019, The Strange Case of Northern Ireland’s Disappearing Rights in the EU-UK Withdrawal Negotiations. in European Yearbook on Human Rights.

Warwick, BTC 2018, A Hierarchy of Comfort? The CESCR’s Approach to the 2008 Crisis. in G MacNaughton & D Frey (eds), Economic and Social Rights in a Neoliberal World. Cambridge University Press.

Warwick, BTC 2017, Describing a Rights Realisation Hybrid: The Example of Socio-Economic Rights. in N Lemay-Hébert & R Freedman (eds), Hybridity: Law, Culture and Development. Routledge, pp. 205-217. <https://www.routledge.com/Hybridity-Law-Culture-and-Development/Lemay-Hebert-Freedman/p/book/9781138673427>

Fenwick, H, Guns, W & Warwick, BTC 2016, ABC v Ireland. in T Lavers & L Hodgson (eds), Feminist International Judgments. Hart Publishing.

Book/Film/Article review

Warwick, BTC 2015, 'Beth Goldblatt and Kirsty McLean (eds): Women’s Social and Economic Rights: Developments in South Africa Juta, Cape Town, 2011, 292 pp, Price £17 (PB), ISBN: 978-0-7021-8577-9', Feminist Legal Studies, vol. 23, no. 1, pp. 101-104. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10691-014-9262-4


Dajani, R, Flowe, H & Warwick, BTC 2021, 'Social and political justice hit by UK aid cuts', Nature, vol. 592, no. 7854, pp. 353-353. https://doi.org/10.1038/d41586-021-00955-7

Commissioned report

Murray, C, O'Donoghue, A & Warwick, BTC 2018, Discussion paper on Brexit. Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission, Dublin. <https://www.ihrec.ie/documents/discussion-paper-brexit/>

Murray, C, O'Donoghue, A, de Mars, S & Warwick, BTC 2018, Discussion paper on the common travel area. Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission, Belfast. <http://nihrc.org/publication/detail/discussion-paper-on-the-common-travel-area>

View all publications in research portal


  • International human rights
  • Austerity
  • Socio-economic issues and rights (e.g. social security benefits, food banks, work)
  • Brexit and Northern Ireland


  • International Human Rights
  • Austerity
  • Brexit and Northern Ireland

Policy experience

Experienced in consultation for third sector organisations, parliamentary committees, national and local politicians, and international bodies.