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Durham University

Durham Law School

Staff profile

Mr Aaron Baker, BA(Politics), Juris Doctor, BCL

Associate Professor (Reader) in Durham Law School
Harassment & Diversity Officer, Durham Law School
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 33 42821
Fax: +44 (0) 191 33 42801
Room number: PCL227
Member of the Human Rights Centre

Contact Mr Aaron Baker (email at


Aaron Baker spent the early part of his career as an employment trial lawyer. Having represented both employers and employees in disability, race, gender, and age discrimination cases for over five years, he left to read for the BCL at Oxford University (St Peters College) in 2000. At Oxford Aaron was named Vinerian Scholar (proxime accessit) in 2001, and was on the founding editorial board of the Oxford University Commonwealth Law Journal. After a year as a lecturer in law at Plymouth University, he was appointed lecturer in law at Durham University in 2002. He was promoted to senior lecturer in 2006, and Reader in 2011. His position is now called "Associate Professor (Reader)".

Aaron has published articles in several top refereed law journals, including the Modern Law Review, the American Journal of Comparative Law, Public Law, and the Industrial Law Journal. He has written on anti-discrimination dispute resolution, comparative dispute resolution, and anti-discrimination under the European Convention on Human Rights and the Human Rights Act 1998. He is the leading co-author of the highly popular and respected Smith and Wood's Employment Law, and is working on a monograph on Proportionality in the UK.


Anna Louise Knight, "The Conflict Between Law and Religion in Employment Discrimination"

Daniel Lowe, "Assessing the Universality of Human Rights in the Context of Health"

Hannah Saunders, "Legal Protection for People with Disfigurements in Employment and Education"

Teaching Areas

Employment and Labour Law
Anti-Discrimination Law
European Union Law

I Would Like to Supervise:

Projects on anti-discrimination jurisprudence, especially involving the following: (1) the use of comparisons to establish discrimination; (2) dress codes or religious practice issues where distinct treatment is argued not to be "less favourable"; (3) indirect or disparate impact discrimination.

Socio-legal projects involving communication between the legal system and other social systems, especially as regards human rights.

Projects involving counter-terror measures and constitutional or domestic human rights protections.

Employment law projects, especially involving work-life balance issues.

Disability law law projects, especially in relation to issues presented by autistic spectrum disorders.

Esteem Indicators

2015-2017: Professeur Visiteur at Université Paris Nanterre

2013-2016: Keynote speaker at various conferences of the Europäische Rechtsakademie (ERA) 

2013-2016: Consultant advisor to the Supreme Court of Albania (under the auspices of the Slynn Foundation)

2014: Appointed to second AHRC Award Panel

2013: Keynote Speaker at NHS/MacMIllan Conference on Returning to Work after Cancer

2012: Keynote speaker at Industrial Law Society AGM in London and Regional Meetings in Leeds and Newcastle

2011: Barrister Phillip Taylor MBE described 2010 "proportionality" chapter as "the gem of the book" at 2:08 of this video:

2010: Appointed to AHRC Award Panel for Collaborative Doctoral Awards Scheme

2010: External Subject Specialist for Review of Postgraduae Programmes in Law at Derby University

2007: AHRC Peer Reviewer 2007-2015

2006: Appointed Visiting International Scholar by the St Louis University School of Law for academic year 2006-2007

Grant Experience

Awarded United Kingdom Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) competitive research grant worth roughly £18,000 on the basis of an application given an ‘A+’ rating; the project, a study comparing proportionality and Article 14 ECHR under the HRA to US Equal Protection Clause jurisprudence, was successfully completed, with a final report rated ‘good’

Media Contact Subjects

Terrorism and Human Rights
Labour and Employment Law
Discrimination Law
US-UK Comparative Law: Public, Constitutional, Discrimination, and Labour
European Employment Law
European Human Rights Law

Media Appearances

Comments on government plans to extend period of detention for terrorist suspects from 28 to 42 days distributed on PA news wire on 24 January 2008

Interviewed live, about the detention of terrorist suspects, on BBC Radio Tees and Century Radio (25 January 2008)

Quoted in Morning Star: D. Coysh, ‘MPs rally to attack terror plans; Smith unveils ‘oppressive’ bill’ (25 January 2008)

Research Projects

Proportionality Beyond the Human Rights Act: this monograph, which has been in the works for some time owing to changes of direction dicatated by changes in the law (not least Brexit), should be published by Hart in 2018, and argues that structured proportionality should be and ultimately will become a fundamental doctrine of adjudication in the UK, and one that cannot be "deferred" away to the Executive branch. 

The Other Side of Proportionality: Weighing Impacts under the UK Human Rights Act: this was a now completed project acted as a precurser to the monograph above. It was funded by the AHRC and produced articles in the American Journal of Comparative Law, the Industrial Law Journal, and the Texas Wesleyan Law Review, as well as two book chapters.

Research Interests

  • Comparative Constitutional Law
  • Anti-Discrimination Law
  • Employment Law
  • European and Comparative Employment Law
  • Terrorism and Human Rights

Research Groups

  • Durham European Law Institute
  • Human Rights Centre
  • Institute of Commercial and Corporate Law

Research Projects

  • Grants

Selected Publications

Authored book

Chapter in book

Journal Article


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