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Durham University

Durham Law School

Staff profile

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 2002-201

Digital Media

Selected Media Appearances

  • 26.9.17 interview with New Scientist on Schedule 7 Terrorism Act powers
  • 3.6.17 Gave paper jointly with Lord Justice Laws, Cumberland House, Berkshire, symposium on ‘Extremism: A Warning from History’
  • 24.6.17 Presentation on UK counter-terror measures to UN Expert group meeting on combating racism, xenophobia and discrimination in the context of counter-terrorism, Budapest
  • Week of 22.5.17 range of interviews with regional radio stations and newspapers on counter-terror measures and the Manchester attack
  • 31.3.17 interview about the UK’s counterterrorism laws in relation to the first British woman to join a female militia in Syria The Times
  • 23.3.17 Interview for Brazilian newspaper Folha de São Paulo on the attacks in London
  • 3.1.17 interview with BBC Radio 4 World at One, at 1.15, and BBC Radio 5 Live about Ryan Lock who died in Syria fighting ISIS; relevance of counter-terror measures
  • 30.11.16 ‘The Role of Parliaments in Overseeing Measures Implemented to Prevent and Counter Violent Extremism’ for members and staff of the Assembly of Kosovo and parliamentary delegations from Western Balkan countries, Pristina, Kosovo
  • 28-29 April 2016: my work on non-trial-based counter-terror measures presented in an international conference at the Maison française d'Oxford: "The Rule of Crisis: Crisis legislation, emergency and rule of law from a comparative standpoint" 
  • 7.8.16 Raising The Bar 11am, BBC Radio 5 live - Series 2, Episode 3 on Control orders and counter-terrorism
  • 29.6.16 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 8 a.m. Breakfast Show live – on Brussels attacks and security measures including surveillance
  • 22.3.16 a live skype interview with Russia Today, 11.50 on the Brussels attacks and counter-terror measures.
  • 22.3.16 Interview with Metro Radio on the Brussels attacks and their wider implications
  • 16.2.15 Interview with Wall Street Journalon use of CCTV, surveillance in Europe generally and the attacks in Copenhagen, journalist Schechner, Sam
  • 11.2.15 Interview with the Guardian, for piece by Emine Saner on British nationals returning from fighting not for ISIS, but against ISIS (with the Kurdish YPG army)
  • 22.8.14 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.
  • 24.4.14 BBC South East Televised interview on British nationals fighting in Syria, terrorist offences.
  • 24.4.14 BBC 1 Live interview on British nationals fighting in Syria, terrorist offences 
  • 14.11.14 Live interview with Julia Hartley-Brewer LBC ‘Use of temporary exclusion orders against returnees from Syria and seizure of passports’
  • 4.4.15 LBC Radio, live phone interview with Ken Livingstone and David Mellor on Britons travelling to Syria
  • 11.12.13 Wall Street Journal interview on Lee Rigby murderers trial, reporter Alexis Flynn
  • 19.8.13 Aftenposten (Norwegian) Camerons høyest betrodde sendt for å presse The Guardian

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

Research Groups

Durham Law School

  • Centre for Criminal Law and Criminal Justice
  • Durham European Law Institute
  • Gender & Law at Durham
  • Human Rights Centre

Centre for Criminal Law & Justice


Research Projects

  • Grants

Selected Publications

Authored book

Book review

Chapter in book

  • Fenwick, H (Published). ‘Reconciling international human rights law with executive non-trial-based counter-terror measures: the case of UK temporary exclusion orders’. In The Rule of Crisis: Crisis Legislation, Emergencies and the Rule of Law. Auriel, P Springer.
  • Fenwick, H (Published). An ECHR right to access a registered partnership? In The Future of Registered Partnerships. Hayward, H & Sherpe, J Intersentia.
  • Fenwick, H (Published). Media freedom of expression at the Strasbourg Court: current predictability of the standard of protection offered. In The Routledge Companion to Media and Human Rights. Tumber, H & Waisbord, S Routledge.
  • Fenwick, H (2018). Criminalisation and quasi-criminalisation of terrorism: emerging trends and tensions with human rights law in the UK. In Oxford Handbook of Criminal Process. OUP.
  • Fenwick, H (2017). Feminist version of the judgment in ABC v Ireland. In International Law Feminist Judgments. Lavers, T & Hodson, L Hart.
  • Fenwick, Helen (2015). Enhanced Subsidiarity and a Dialogic Approach - Or Appeasement in Recent Cases on Criminal Justice, Public Order and Counter-Terrorism at Strasbourg Against the UK?. In The UK and European Human Rights A Strained Relationship?. Ziegler, Katja S., Wicks, Elizabeth & Hodson, Loveday Oxford: Hart. 194-213.
  • Fenwick, H (2014). 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? In Critical Debates on Counter-Terrorist Judicial Review. de Londras, F & Davies, F Cambridge University Press.
  • Fenwick, Helen. (2013). Conservative anti-HRA rhetoric, the Bill of Rights "solution" and the role of the Bill of Rights Commission. In The United Kingdom's statutory Bill of Rights constitutional and comparative perspectives. Masterman, R. & Leigh, I.D. Oxford: Oxford University Press for the British Academy.
  • Fenwick, Helen. (2013). Origins of Rights and Freedoms. In Halsbury's Laws. Lord Mackay of Clashfern (series editor) & Falkowski, D. (consultant editor) LexisNexis Butterworths. 88A.
  • Fenwick, Helen. (2013). The Human Rights Act. In Halsbury's Laws. Lord Mackay of Clashfern (series editor) & Falkowski, D. (consultant editor) LexisNexis Butterworths. 88A.
  • Fenwick, H (2013). The Human Rights Act and Article 5 ECHR. In Puri and Treasaden, Forensic Psychiatry. Hodder Arnold.
  • Fenwick, Helen. (2013). The role of unincorporated human rights standards in English law. In Halsbury's Laws. Lord Mackay of Clashfern (series editor) & Falkowski, D. (consultant editor) LexisNexis Butterworths. 88A.
  • Fenwick, Helen. (2012). Replacing the Human Rights Act with a British Bill of Rights: creating greater Parliamentary autonomy on human rights matters. In Confronting the Human Rights Act: contemporary themes and perspectives. Kang-Riou, Nicolas, Milner, Jo & Nayak, Suryia Routledge. 291-326.
  • Phillipson, Gavin. & Fenwick, Helen. (2012). UK counter-terror law post 9/11: initial acceptance of extraordinary measures and the partial return to human rights norms. In Global Anti-Terrorism Law & Policy (2nd ed). Ramraj, V. Hor, M. Roach, K. & Williams, G. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 481-513.
  • Fenwick, Helen. (2010). Introduction. In Supperstone, Goudie & Walker: Judicial Review. General Editors: Sir Michael Supperstone; James Goudie QC; and The Honourable Mr Justice Walker. Editor for the Fourth edition: Helen Fenwick. London: LexisNexis.
  • Fenwick, Helen. & Phillipson, G. (2010). UK Control Orders as a Counter-Terrorism Strategy: reading down liberty and due-process rights. In The Impact of Contemporary Security Agendas against Terrorism on Criminal Law and Law Enforcement. Max Planck Institute.
  • Fenwick, Helen. (2007). Judicial Reasoning in Clashing Rights cases; Introduction; Conclusion. In Judicial Reasoning under the Human Rights Act. Phillipson, G. & Masterman, R. (eds) Cambridge University Press.
  • Fenwick, Helen & Baker, Aaron (2006). Constructing the Terrorist Suspect: Proactive Counter - Terrorist Strategies in Conflict with Human Rights. In International Conference on 'Criminal Justice Under Stress: Transnational Perspectives'. Chandrasekharan Pillai, K.N. Indian Law Institute. 113-127.
  • Fenwick, Helen. & Phillipson, G. (2005). Legislative over-breadth, democratic failure and the judicial response: fundamental rights and the UK’s anti-terrorist legal policy. In Global Terrorism. Ramraj, V., Hor, M. & Roach, K. Cambridge University Press.
  • Fenwick, Helen. (2003). The reaction of Great Britain's legal order to September 11 2001. In Terrorismus und Recht – Der wehrhafte Rechtsstaat. Munich: Hanns Seidel Foundation.
  • Fenwick, Helen. (2002). Responding to 11 September: Detention without trial under the Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001. In Superterrorism. Freedman, L Prof. Wiley. 80-104.
  • Fenwick, Helen. (1998). Introduction to Professor Andrew Ashworth's The European Convention on Human Rights and English Criminal Justice: Ships which pass in the Night? In The Public Law of Europe and the Common Law of the UK. Andenas, Dr M. Keyhaven Publications. 215-226.

Edited book

Journal Article


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


  • Fenwick, H (2017), Presentation on UK counter-terror measures, UN Expert group meeting on combating racism, xenophobia and discrimination in the context of counter-terrorism. Budapest, Hungary.
  • Fenwick, H & Lord Justice Laws (2017), Statutory 'Prevent' duties of universities, Extremism: A Warning from History. Cumberland House, Berkshire.
  • 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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