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Durham Law School

Staff profile

Dr Benedict Douglas

Assistant Professor in Law in the Durham Law School
Pastoral Tutor of St John's College

Contact Dr Benedict Douglas (email at


Benedict Douglas began lecturing in 2013, following his completion of a PhD investigating the practical application of moral philosophy to the interpretation of human rights at Durham University. Prior to this he gained a First Class LLB from the University of Hull, and obtained an LLM in Human Rights Law from University College London.

His research work is focused on the moral basis for the domestic application of human rights law. He seeks to understand the role of the principle of dignity within UK human rights interpretation, and the underlying reasons for the turbulent position of human rights in the UK using moral philosophy and the phenomenology of human identity.

At the moment he is writing on the role of choice and duty in rights interpretation, and the current and potential role of love as an interpretive principle in UK rights decisions and European Court of Human Rights judgements.

Benedict also enjoys water sports, adventure and writing in the third person.

Reseach Groups

The Center for Ethics and Law in the Life Sceinces
The Human Rights Centre

Teaching Areas

Intro to English Law and Legal Methods
Tort Law

Research Interests

  • Domestic and Comparative Constitutional Law
  • Human Rights Law
  • Jurisprudence

Selected Grants

  • 2014: 2014-2017 Human Cloning and Stem Cell Research Through the Medium of Law (Wellcome Trust, £29,961). PI: Pattinson CIs: Douglas & Kind.
  • 2009: PhD Studentship (Arts and Humanities Research Council)

Related Links


Chapter in book

  • Allen, Tom & Douglas, Benedict. (2011). Property Restitution. In Transitional Jurisprudence and the ECHR: Justice, Politics and Rights. Buyse, Antoine & Hamilton, Michael. Cambridge University Press.

Journal Article


  • Cross, K., Dean, L., Douglas, B., Price, B., Slocombe, K. & Seed, A. (2016). Chimp of Trial (Witness for the Defence). Cheltenham Science Festival, Cheltenham. Performed November 1999 until November 1999.
  • Cross, C, Dean, L, Douglas, B & Price, B (2015). Chimp of Trial (Witness for the Defence). Durham.
  • Douglas, Benedict (2011). The Human in Human Rights, with Reference to Dwarf Tossing and Alligator Wrestling. Newcastle, England.


  • Douglas, Benedict (2018), "He loved Big Brother" But What of the State's Love for the Citizen?, Constitutionalism, Scale and Tyranny. Durham, England.
  • Douglas, Benedict (2018), “I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that.” The importance of AI being able to say no, Regulating Intelligence: The Challenge of Consciousness in New Forms of Life. Newcastle, England.
  • Douglas, Benedict & Kind, Vanessa (2016), Modifying the Trolley Problem to Develop Understanding of Ethics, Society of Legal Scholars. Oxford, England.
  • Douglas, Benedict (2016), Safe Spaces of Inclusion and Exclusion and the Law, St Chad’s College Perspectives Programme. Durham, England.
  • Douglas, Benedict (2016), The Implications of the Nature of Being for Human Rights Protection, Intersubjectivity and Values. Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Lisbon, Portugal.
  • Douglas, Benedict (2016), The Phenomenology of Dignity - Why Dignity Discourse Alone Cannot Fix the UK's Human Rights Hostility, The Future of Human Dignity. Utrecht, Holland.
  • Douglas, Benedict (2015), Human Rights and Philosophical Underpinning of the Autonomy/Paternalism Debate, Young People with Mental Disorder - Is the Law Fit for Purpose?.
  • Douglas, Benedict (2014), Commentary on: Dr. Ilke Turkmendag, “It is just a battery: m(DNA) replacement and the right to know.”, New Technologies, Developments in the Biosciences and the New Frontiers of Human Rights. Durham, England, Durham.
  • Douglas, Benedict (2014), Let’s Get Metaphysical: Interpreting Article 8 using Sartre and Gewirth, Society of Legal Scholars. Nottingham, England, Nottingham.
  • Douglas, Benedict (2014), Why We Have & Need Human Rights, School Discussion. Ackworth, England.
  • Douglas, Benedict (2013), A Metaphysical Understanding of the Variable Extent of Privacy Protection under the European Convention on Human Rights, Fifth Northumbria Information Rights Conference. Newcastle, England, Newcastle upon Tyne.
  • Douglas, Benedict (2013), Lets Get Metaphysical: Article 8, Alan Gewirth and Jean-Paul Sartre, Staff Seminar. Durham, England.
  • Douglas, Benedict (2012), Killer Whales: A Question of Humanitee, Postgraduate Conference on Biosciences. Durham, England, Durham.
  • Douglas, Benedict (2012), School Workshop on Human Rights, Washington, England.
  • Douglas, Benedict (2012), The English Legal System, Workshop on the English Legal System, Case Management and Human Rights for the Thai Judiciary. Durham, England.
  • Douglas, Benedict (2012), The Songs of Angry Men: Why the Human Rights Act has not been Accepted, Borderlands Interdisciplinary Discussion Series. Durham, England.
  • Douglas, Benedict (2011), Was the Killing of Bin Laden Justified?, College Forum Durham, England.
  • Douglas, Benedict (2010), Humpty Dumpty and Convention Rights, Human Rights Centre Post-graduate Workshop. Durham, England, Durham.
  • Douglas, Benedict (2010), Nobody Tosses a Dwarf: The Interpretation of Human Rights, Ustinov Seminar Series. Durham, England.
  • Douglas, Benedict (2010), The Clothes We Stand Up In: Identity, Clothing and Streaking, Interdisciplinary Forum on Clothing. Durham, England.