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Human Rights Centre

Recent activities

In the 2012-13 academic year the HRC held more than a dozen research seminars, two major workshop/conferences and a PGR conference. Members of the HRC were active in impact and engagement activities across a range of topics (Schedule 7, defamation, TPIMs, intelligence and security oversight, abortion and the law) and enjoyed significant publishing and funding success. The HRC membership increased significantly across a number of disciplines and new PGR deputy directors initiated a successful reading group programme.

Leadership and Governance

Following a period of very successful leadership under Helen Fenwick and Roger Masterman the HRC co-directorship was taken over in September 2012 by Alex Williams and Fiona de Londras. The annual meeting was held on 24 October 2012. Following an open invitation to PGR students, two deputy PGR directors were appointed, Rumyana Grozdanova (PhD year 2) and Daniel Lowe (PhD year 2).


During the course of 2012-13 the membership of the HRC grew significantly both in terms of PGR students (associate members) and academic members. The new full (academic) members are drawn from numerous disciplines across the University including law. The HRC now has more than 40 full members from law, SGIA, anthropology, geography, modern languages and SASS. The full membership is here:

HRC Seminar Series

In 2012/13 there were more than a dozen HRC seminars, delivered by Antonia Layard (Birmingham), Catherine Turner (then UU), Tom Hickman (UCL), Rosa Freedman (Birmingham), Maria Dimova-Cookson (Durham SGIA), Angharad Closs-Stephens (Durham Geography), Christopher Knight (11KBW Chambers), David Anderson (the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation), Keiran Hardy (UNSW), Kirsty Hughes (Cambridge), Colin Murray (Newcastle), Sjur Dyrkolbotn (Durham Law), and Jason Haynes (Durham Law).

Workshops & Conferences

On 2-3 May 2013 the Durham HRC co-hosted a PGR conference entitled <span ><span >Human Rights: In Conflict <span >with LCD. The conference took place in Grey College and featured papers from 17 PGR students in Durham, most of whom were law PGRs. The conference included a dedicated panel co-organised with PGRs in SGIA, a keynote address from Prof Costas Douzinas of Birkbeck, and a publishing workshop with Merel Alstein of OUP. The conference was organised by Rumy Grozdanova, Daniel Lowe, Rob Taylor, and Alice Panepinto.

On 8 May 2013 Durham HRC hosted a workshop/conference co-sponsored by the HRC (with additional support from the SRF), Newcastle Law School and the SLS Civil Liberties section on the Bill of Rights Commission report with more than 40 people in attendance from universities all over the country. The event was organised by Alex Williams.

On 21 May 2013 the HRC hosted the kickoff meeting for the SECILE project ( with seven attendees from the UK, Ireland, Latvia and Norway. The meeting was hosted by Fiona de Londras.

On 12 June 2013 the HRC hosted an international workshop entitled <span ><span >Critical Debates in Counter-Terrorist Judicial Review <span >co-sponsored by a BA/Leverhulme small grant and UNSW. The workshop was organised by Fiona de Londras (Durham) and Fergal Davis (UNSW) and brought speakers from the UK, Netherlands, Denmark, Australia, the US, Canada and Hong Kong together in Durham to discuss the topic. The papers will be published in an edited collection by the same name, forthcoming with CUP in 2014.

PGR Events

The primary PGR event was the PGR conference (above). In addition, the reading group was organised and led by PGR students and met on four occasions during the year.

Impact, Engagement and Publishing

Over the course of 2012/13 the HRC and HRC members engaged in consultations on Schedule 7 (Choudhury, Fenwick & Phillipson), media regulation (Phillipson), enhanced TPIMs (Fenwick), abortion (de Londras & Graham), and prosecutorial guidelines (Phillipson). The members of the HRC continued to publish books, edited collections, peer reviewed articles and op-eds and to engage in media outreach.


Through his co-convenorship of the SLS civil liberties section Alex Williams secured support for a seminar on the Bill of Rights Commission co-organised by Durham HRC, Cambridge and Newcastle. Centre members also secured funding from numerous sources over the past year, including the British Academy (de Londras), European Research Council (Schuetze), FP7 (de Londras), and SLS research activities fund (Williams).