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Durham Law School


Professor Helen Fenwick, LLB, BA

Professor in Durham Law School
Director of Academic Recruitment, Durham Law School
Ref Mentor, Durham Law School
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 33 42831
Fax: +44 (0) 191 33 42801
Room number: PCL121
Director of the Human Rights Centre

Contact Professor Helen Fenwick (email at

Research Supervision

Mr Chris Wood

Ms Rachel Cullen

Ms Katherine Thompson

Mr Faris Al-Anaibi

Mr Kevin Crawley

Mr Kaushik Paul

Mr Mustafa Akgun

Ms Tara Beattie

Ms Fiona Brimblecombe

Ms Judith Skillen


My research interest lies in the field of civil liberties and human rights. Within that field my main interests are in counter-terrorist law and policy, media freedom of expression (in particular contempt law, obscenity law and privacy law), public protest, and the influence of the European Convention on Human Rights under the Human Rights Act. The publications listed below, in particular my two single-authored books, concentrate on those areas. My current research focuses on counter-terrorist measures, media freedom of expression and judicial reasoning under the Human Rights Act.

I am interested in supervising research students (for PhDs or Mjurs) in the following areas:  The Human Rights Act, Bills of Rights, counter-terrorism law and policy, privacy and media freedom, hate speech laws, English contempt law or obscenity law.

Teaching Areas

Media Law
Civil Liberties and Human Rights

Organisation and Promotion of Research

  • Human rights Consultant for Doughty Street Chambers, ongoing
  • Member of the Commonwealth Scolarship Commission in the United Kingdom (2016-2023)
  • 2005-9 Director of Research, Durham Law School; responsible for the RAE submission and Chair of the Research Committee
  • Co-Director of the Durham University Human Rights Centre 2001-2012
  • Convenor of the Civil Liberties and Human Rights Subject Section for the Society of Legal Scholars 2002-2012



  • · 2016 (8th November) ‘Ankle tags, house arrest and forced relocation: how does Britain balance security and civil rights?’  The Conversation
    • 7.8.16 Raising The Bar 11am, BBC Radio 5 live - Series 2, Episode 3 on Terrorism
    • 29.6.16 20 min interview with Metro Radio on risk of ‘lone-wolf’ terror attacks in UK


    • 24.3.16a discussion on Islamic terrorism for Sputnik Radio 2 pm
    • 23.3.16 BBC Radio North East 8a.m. Breakfast Show live – on Brussels attacks and security measures including surveillance
    • 22.3.16 a live skype interview with Russia Today on counter-terror measures 11.50.
    • 22.3.16 Interview with Metro Radio on the Brussels attacks and their wider implications
    • 2016 (22nd March) ‘The explainer: What is COBRA?’ The Conversation 


    • 4.11.15 ‘surveillance powers and terrorism’ - interview Radio 5 Live 6.15 am



    • 2015 (29th May) UK Constitutional law group blog ‘HRA Watch: Reform, Repeal, Replace? Backing Down on HRA Repeal in the Queen’s Speech? De-railed Plans for Rapid Introduction of a British Bill of Rights’ 
    • 2015 (27th May) the Conversation 'Surveillance: the Investigatory Powers Bill in Queens Speech' 
    • 2015 (2nd April) Future Foreign Policy  'Disrupting the process of radicalisation via legislation to prevent young radicals leaving to fight for ISIS' 
    • 2015 (10th March) UK Constitutional law group blog ‘The Conservative stance in the 2015 election on the UK’s relationship with the Strasbourg Court and its jurisprudence – bluff, exit strategy or compromise on both sides?’ 



    • 2015 (January 8th) BBC Radio Tees live interview about the attacks at Charlie Hebdo
    • 2014 (September 2nd) Interview with Voice of Russia UK an international, English-language news station, on counter-terror measures proposed by Cameron 


    • 2014 (September 1st) Tyne Tees live radio interview on new counter-terror measures announced by David Cameron in the Commons
    • 2014 (31st August) Interview BBC Radio 5 Live concerning David Cameron's statement to the House of Commons on anti-terror legislation. 
    • 2014 (22nd August) Appeared on BBC News 24 to outline the existing laws available to the UK government to restrict the movement of UK nationals suspected of involvement with terrorist organisations.
    • 2014 (24th April) BBC South East Televised interview on British nationals fighting in Syria, terrorist offences.
    • 2014 (24th April) BBC 1 Live interview on British nationals fighting in Syria, terrorist offences 
    • 2014 (22nd January) Voice of Russia, Russia's World Service in London interview on TPIMs 
    • 2014 LBC Radio, live phone interview with Ken Livingstone and David Mellor on Britons travelling to Syria 4.4.15
    • 2013 (26th November) UK Constitutional Law Group Blog Prisoners’ voting rights, subsidiarity, and Protocols 15 and 16: re-creating dialogue with the Strasbourg Court?’ 
    • 2013 (11th December) Wall Street Journal interview on Lee Rigby murderers trial, reporter Alexis Flynn


    • 2013 (August 18) Christian Science Monitor (Boston) "Detention of journalist's partner highlights broad UK terror laws"
    • 2013 (June 16) Real Radio Interview on the possible response to the Boston bombings in relation to the London Marathon in terms of counter-terror precautions
    • 2013 (June 5) Inherently Human: Critical Perspectives on Law Gender and Sexuality Blog "Is Article 8 ECHR the feminist Article?"
    • 2013 (June 5) UK Constitutional Law Group blog “Article 8 ECHR, the ‘feminist Article’, women and a ‘Conservative’ Bill of Rights”
    • 2013 (March 21) UK Constitutional Law Group blog "The Report of the Bill of Rights Commission: disappointing Conservative expectations or fulfilling them?"
    • 2013 (15 March) Radio Teeside Interview on Jimmy Savile case and legal definitions of sexual harassment
    • 2012 (9 October) UK Constitutional Law Group blog ‘What’s wrong with s2 Human Rights Act?’
    • 2012 (7 April) UK Constitutional Law Group blog and the UK Human Rights Blog 'An appeasement approach in the European Court of Human Rights?'
    • 2012 (2 April) BBC Radio Newcastle on proposals for new powers to monitor communications
    • 2011 (13 Dec) Televised interview with Andrew Neil on BBC2 (broadcast Feb 2012) for 'Rights gone wrong?' outside European Court of Human Rights at Strasbourg about the ECHR and the future of the Human Rights Act
    • 2011 (1 Nov) UK Constitutional Law Group blog The Conservative anti-ECHR stance and a British Bill of Rights: rhetoric and reality; Conservative policy on the Human Rights Act: the role of the Bill of Rights' Commission and the aim of handing back autonomy to the UK in human rights matters
    • 2011 (3 Oct) BBC Newcastle phone interview on future of the Human Rights Act
    • 2011 (17 Oct) Contributed to discussion of contempt law - BBC Radio 4
    • 2011 (4 Oct) Contributed to Channel 4 News on announcement of a potential tightening of immigration rules in relation to deportation
    • 2011 (July) Interview on Radio Atticus, Australia, on proposals for 'Clare's Law'
    • 2008 Radio 4 interview on Handyside case
    • 2004 Interview on "Law in Action" BBC Radio 4 on Laporte - case on breach of the peace and rights to protest under the Human Rights Act
    • 2003 Interview on "Law in Action" BBC Radio 4 on the right of public protest

Consultancy/Expert Advice

UN workJune 2014: gave 2 presentations and led a working group at the UN workshop in Tunisia for representatives from MENA nations (Saudia Arabia, Lebanon, Yemen, etc) on developing a framework for freedom of information in their countries

  • In March and April 2013 worked on comments on the draft UNODC freedom of expression tool. Attended UNODC International Expert Group Meeting on 11-12 April, Vienna, Vienna International Centre, involving 50 international experts from law, from journalism and from NGOs from around the world, 1 for each country represented; the meeting was the main event in the UNODC Initiative on Promoting Responsible and Professional Reporting on Corruption on the basis of the UN Convention against Corruption. July 2013 draft document circulated: Promoting Responsible and Professional Reporting on Corruption on the Basis of the United Nations Convention against Corruption; provided comments on: Journalistic Source Protection and intimidation of journalists, especially at borders (example of Miranda and Sched 7 Terrorism Act 2000); the right of access to information; self-regulation of the press; ‘citizen journalism’.  The freedom of expression tool will be finalized and promulgated to all the UN member states in late 2013.
  • Law Commission ongoing work on reform of contempt law: relates to my three chapters on contempt in Fenwick and Phillipson Media Freedom under the Human Rights Act (2006,OUP), and to my chapter in Borrie and Lowe on Contempt (Lexis Nexis, 4th edn 2010). Law Commission: Contempt of Court: A Consultation Paper (No 209) (2012). Chap 4 referred extensively to the three chaps on contempt I wrote in Media Freedom. I also wrote, with G Phillipson, a briefing note on the consultation for the Commission in November 2012.
  • Gave evidence to the Joint Committee on the Draft Enhanced Terrorism Prevention Measures Bill (ETPIM Bill) on 24th October 2012. The Committee was conducting pre-legislative scrutiny on the draft Bill, and reported to Parliament on November 9th 2012 with its recommendations (Draft Enhanced Terrorism Prevention Measures Bill: Report HL Paper 70, HC 495, 27.11.12) which included a range of references to my evidence (at pp6,18,25,26,30, 31). 
  • Universities UK, AREC and University of Warwick working in partnership 24.4.13 - training session for research ethics officers, research assistants, IT personnel: Counter-terrorism law and security research
  • Expert advisor for Liberty 2006
  • Advice on counter-terrorist policy to Canadian High Commissioner 2006
  • Expert assessor OSCE ODIHR Roundtable, Warsaw 2006
  • Council of Europe: expert advice on criminal justice and public order laws, Armenia, 2008, Moldova 2001
  • 2001 - present Human Rights Consultant for Doughty Street Chambers, London

Research Interests

  • Counter-terrorist law and policy
  • Media freedom of expression (in particular contempt law, obscenity law and privacy law)
  • Public protest
  • Human Rights Act; proposals for a Bill of Rights

Selected Grants

  • 2010: £43,000 from EHRC, 2010 ‘Impact on Muslims of counter-terror measures’ Co-investigator with T Choudhury
  • 2002: THE HUMAN RIGHTS ACT AND LEGAL REASONING (£139128.00 from Arts & Humanities Research Board)
  • 2001: £70,000: convened Law Foundation Course for Qatari students 2000-1 in collaboration with Language Centre
  • 1992: £7,500: for relief from teaching and IT equipment from HEFCE 1992-3

Selected Publications

Authored book

Book review

Chapter in book

Conference Paper

Edited book

Journal Article


  • Fenwick, Helen. (2000). Civil Rights: New Labour, Freedom and the Human Rights Act. Longman.


  • Fenwick, H (2013), Post 9/11 UK counter-terrorism cases in the European Court of Human Rights: a ‘dialogic’ approach to rights’ protection or appeasement of national authorities?, Critical Debates on Counter-Terrorist Judicial Review. Durham, England, Durham.
  • Fenwick, H (2013), Setting the limits of political self-determination in democracies in relation to international human rights, Centre for International Law and HUman Rights. University of Lancaster, University of Lancaster.
  • (2013), The Bill of Rights Commission Report: disappointing Conservative expectations or fulfilling them?, Bill of Rights Commission Report: Where are we now?. Durham, England, Durham.
  • Fenwick, H (2013), The Bill of Rights Commission Report: Fulfilling Conservative expectations and airing Conservative plans, Society of Legal Scholars Annual Conference. Edinburgh, Edinburgh.
  • Fenwick, Helen. (2012), Counter-terror strategies, the roles of technology and accountability: mass camera surveillance in the UK as a case study, The Hague, The Netherlands The Hague.
  • Fenwick, Helen. (2011), Constructing suspect Muslim communities: UK preventive counter-terrorist strategies in conflict with human rights Keynote lecture, 25 Nov; Immigration & Integration in an Age of Austerity: Challenges and Opportunities, The London International Human Rights Congress 2011: 'Immigration & Integration in an Age of Austerity: Challenges and Opportunities'. Houses of Parliament, London, The Institute of Cultural Diplomacy, Houses of Parliament, London.
  • Fenwick, Helen. (2010), Counter-terror law and policy in the UK post 9/11: acceptance of extraordinary measures and the incremental return to adherence to ECHR human rights norms, Conference on Global Anti-Terrorism. Sydney, Australia, Sydney.
  • Fenwick, Helen. (2010), The Human Rights Act or a British Bill of Rights - riding back on human rights' protection?, The Human Rights Act – 10 years on. Salford, England, Salford.
  • Fenwick, Helen. (2009), Breach of the peace, the Human Rights Act and public protest, Modern Convention on Liberty. Belfast, UK, Belfast.
  • Fenwick, Helen. (2009), Current UK counter-terrorism policy: Responding to Belmarsh - the UK control orders regime, New York, USA (Cardozo Law School), Cardozo Law School, New York.
  • Fenwick, Helen. (2009), Marginalising human rights: breach of the peace, “kettling”, the Human Rights Act and public protest, SLS Centenary Conference. Keele, England, Keele.
  • Fenwick, Helen. (2009), Private Information and Public Places: Recent Developments in European and English Law, Luxembourg.
  • Fenwick, Helen. (2009), Re-defining the rights to liberty and due process in the context of counter-terrorism – the control order phenomenon, Freiburg, Germany, Max Planck Institute, Freiburg.
  • Fenwick, Helen. (2007), The Human Rights Act, Public Protest and Judicial Activism, The Individual vs. the State. Budapest, Hungary (Central European University), Central European University, Budapest.
  • Fenwick, Helen. (2006), Counter-terrorism Law and Policy in the UK: the changing balance between human rights and security, Warsaw Symposium on Terrorist Law and Policy. Warsaw, Poland, the Transatlantic Policy Consortium, Warsaw.
  • Fenwick, Helen. (2005), The Relationship between Freedom and Security in Europe, The British Perspective. Berlin, Germany, Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung Foundation, Berlin.
  • Fenwick, Helen. (2004), Fundamental rights and the UK’s anti-terrorist legal policy, international conference on Global Terrorism. Singapore, Malaysia, Singapore.
  • Fenwick, Helen (2004), Indefinite Detention without Trial - the “response” of Great Britain's legal order to September 11 2001: conflicts with fundamental rights, The European Anti-Terrorist Legislation and the protection of fundamental rights and liberties. Brussels, Brussels, Brussels.
  • Fenwick, Helen (2004), Part 4 ACTSA – recent developments, SLS conference. Sheffield, England, Sheffield.
  • Fenwick, Helen (2003), Breach of confidence after NIB v RTE, the Human Rights Act and the Convention, international symposium on Freedom of Expression. Dublin, Republic of Ireland, Dublin.
  • Fenwick, Helen (2002), Why bother with rights when public safety is at risk?, Hamlyn Lectures: Human Rights, Serious Crime and Criminal Procedure. London, England, London.
  • Fenwick, Helen. (2001), State Surveillance: in the Human Rights Act era, Human Rights Unit launch at University of Leeds. Leeds, England, Leeds.

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