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Durham University

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Staff Profile

Dr Catherine Turner

Associate Professor in the Durham Law School
Co-convenor of Law and Global Justice at Durham, Durham Law School
Member of Durham Global Security Institute, Durham Law School
Member of Faculty of Health and Social Sciences Ethics Committee, Durham Law School
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 33 46864
Room number: PCL140

(email at


Dr Catherine Turner is an Associate Professor in law. She is the deputy director of the Durham Global Security Institute, and a member of the Law and Global Justice Research Cluster in Durham Law School. She was formerly the Chair of the Ethics and Data Protection Sub-Committee in Durham Law School and a member of the Faculty of Health and Social Sciences Ethics Committee. Prior to joining Durham Law School in 2013 Catherine was a member of Ulster University’s Transitional Justice Institute (2004 – 2012), where she taught on the LLM in Human Rights and Transitional Justice. She was also Director of the annual Summer School on Transitional Justice.

Research Interests

Catherine’s research focuses on international law and conflict. She has published extensively in the field of transitional justice, exploring the possibilities and the limitations of law as a framework for post conflict reform. Her book Violence, Law and the Impossibility of Transitional Justice (Routledge, 2016) pursues a comprehensive theoretical inquiry into the foundation and evolution of transitional justice, exploring the reasons for resistance to transitional justice and the ways in which law itself is complicit in perpetuating conflict. This book is the subject of Catherine’s ESRC IAA funded project ‘Why Deal with the Past? Addressing the Legacy of Conflict in Northern Ireland’.

In addition to her work on transitional justice Catherine writes on issues of post-conflict reconstruction, with a particular emphasis on ensuring effective participation in negotiation processes. She is the Guest Editor of a special section of Global Policy on the theme of Law and Negotiation in Conflict, bringing together academics and policy makers to explore how peace negotiations can be made more inclusive.

During Epiphany term 2016 Catherine spent time as a visiting scholar at the Institute for Global and International Studies at the Elliot School of International Affairs in Washington DC. While there she conducted research on the role of women as mediators under the Women, Peace and Security Agenda. This research builds on her background in mediation in Northern Ireland and her experience training women in mediation and dialogue skills to prepare them for participation in peace negotiations. A review of the talk can be found here.

Research Supervision

Catherine welcomes proposals from prospective MJur and PhD students in the fields of international law and conflict, broadly defined. This can include but is not limited to projects in the fields of transitional justice, mediation, peace negotiations and post-conflict constitutionalism.

She is also interested in hearing from potential students with projects on land law in the context of rural affairs and agriculture.

Research Interests

  • Public International Law
  • Transitional Justice
  • Post Conflict Reconstruction
  • Mediation
  • Critical Legal Theory

Teaching Areas

  • Conflict Intervention, Counter Insurgency and Conflict Diplomacy (MSc Defence Development and Diplomacy)

  • Law of the International Community

  • Conflict Mediation
  • International Humanitarian Law
  • Land Law

Selected Publications

Authored book

  • Turner, C (2016). Violence, Law and the Impossibility of Transitional Justice. Routledge.
  • Turner, C., Quinn, L., Murphy, T. & Shields, R. (2014). The Law of Property in Northern Ireland. Colourpoint Educational.

Chapter in book

  • Turner C (2016). Transitional Justice and Critique. In Research Handbook on Transitional Justice. Jacobs, D Edward Elgar.
  • Turner, C. & Houghton, R. (2015). Constitution Making and Post-Conflict Reconstruction. In International Law and Post-Conflict Reconstruction Policy. Saul, Matthew & Sweeney, James A. London: Routledge. 119-140.

Journal Article

  • Turner, Catherine (2018). Absent or Invisible? Women Mediators and the United Nations. Global Policy 9(2): 244-253.
  • Turner, C. (2016). Editorial Comment: Law and Negotiation in Conflict: Theory, Policy, Practice. Global Policy 7(2): 256-260.
  • Turner, C. (2015). Transitional Constitutionalism and the Case of the Arab Spring. International and Comparative Law Quarterly 64(02): 267-291.
  • Turner, C. (2013). Deconstructing Transitional Justice. Law and Critique 24(2): 193-209.
  • (2013). Flag Protests, Politics and Transition in Northern Ireland. Critical Legal Thinking
  • Zacharopoulou, A. & Turner, C. (2013). Peer assisted learning and the creation of a “learning community” for first year law students. Law Teacher 47(2): 192-214.
  • Turner, C (2011). Human Rights and the Empire of (International) Law. Law and Inequality 29(2): 313-342.
  • Turner, C (2010). Political Representations of Law in Northern Ireland. Public Law 451-459.
  • Turner, C (2008). Delivering Lasting Peace, Democracy and Human Rights in Times of Transition: The Role of International Law. International Journal of Transitional Justice 2(2): 126-151.
  • Campbell, C. & Turner, C. (2008). Utopia and the Doubters: Truth, Transition and the Law. Legal Studies 28(3): 374-395.
  • Ni Aolain, F & Turner, C (2007). Gender, Truth and Transition. UCLA Women's Law 229-279.

Other (Print)

  • Turner, C. & McWilliams, M. (2015). Women’s Effective Participation and the Negotiation of Justice: The Importance of Skills Based Training. Transitional Justice Institute Research Paper 15-03
  • (2013). The 'Right' to Protest on Northern Ireland's Streets. Human Rights in Ireland


  • Turner, C (2016), 'Has Transitional Justice Reached a Critical Juncture?, Critical Legal Conference - 'Turning Points'. Kent.
  • Turner, C (2016), 'Mapping a norm of inclusion in the Jus Post Bellum', Jus Post Bellum and the Justice of the Peace. The Hague, Netherlands.
  • Turner, C. (2013), The Importance of Theory as a Tool of Transitional Justice Research, International Studies Association. San Francisco, California, San Francisco CA.
  • Turner, C. (2012), Constituting a Nation: The Critical Concept of Democracy in Transition, Minerva Jerusalem Conference on Transitional Justice. Jerusalem, Jerusalem.
  • Turner, C (2012), Politics as Transitional Justice, Political Studies Association. Belfast, Belfast.
  • Turner, C. (2012), Public Space or Gated Community? Accessing the Garden of Transitional Justice, Critical Legal Conference - 'Gardens of Justice'. Stockholm, Stockholm.

Show all publications

Media Contacts

Available for media contact about:

  • International Law: Law and conflict
  • Human rights: Northern Ireland politics
  • Regional politics: Northern Ireland politics