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Durham University

Durham Law School

Staff profile

Dr Alain Zysset

Assistant Professor in Public Law and Human Rights in the Durham Law School
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 33 46860
Room number: PCL224

Contact Dr Alain Zysset (email at


Alain joined Durham Law School as an Assistant Professor in Public Law and Human Rights in September 2017. He previously held postdoctoral positions in Oslo (PluriCourts, 2016-17), in Florence (Max Weber Fellowship, 2015-16) and Frankfurt-am-Main (Excellence Cluster Normative Orders on a fellowship of the Swiss National Science Foundation, 2014-15).

His doctoral thesis, also funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation, examined the practice of the European Court of Human Rights from the perspective of human rights theory. The thesis was defended summa cum laude at the Faculty of Law of the University of Fribourg (Switzerland) in 2013 and resulted in a monograph, The ECHR and Human Rights Theory (Routledge, 2016). The thesis was supervised by Prof. Samantha Besson.

Alain’s background is multidisciplinary. He holds graduate degrees in Philosophy (M.Sc in Philosophy and Public Policy, London School of Economics, 2008), History (M.A. in International History, Graduate Institute Geneva, 2010) and Law (LL.M., University of Toronto, 2014). He also held visiting positions at the Department of Philosophy of the University of Arizona (visiting scholar, January – April 2012) and at Osgoode Hall Law School (visiting professor, January – April 2015).

Alain’s areas of specialization include human rights law (in particular the ECHR), international criminal law (in particular crimes against humanity and genocide) and legal and political theory (in particular human rights theory, democratic theory and criminal law theory). His publications to date have aimed to place those core theoretical questions at the heart of international legal and judicial practice.

Research Interests

  • Human Rights Law
  • European Convention on Human Rights
  • Human Rights Theory
  • International Criminal Law
  • Crimes against Humanity
  • Criminal Law Theory
  • Legal and Political Theory


Journal Article