School of Law

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Aoife Nolan

Professor of International Human Rights Law, Faculty of Social Sciences



Aoife Nolan, LL.B (Dublin), PhD (EUI), joined the School of Law as Professor of International Human Rights Law in 2012. Since September 2015, Aoife has co-directed the Rights and Justice Research Priority Area, the world's largest cluster of rights and justice scholars, involving over 700 members from 22 different University centres. On 30 November 2016, Aoife was elected as an independent expert to the Council of Europe's European Committee of Social Rights, the leading European monitoring mechanism on economic and social rights. She is also Director of the Human Rights Law Centre's Economic and Social Rights Unit. From 2013-15, she was Academic Lead of the interdisciplinary University of Nottingham Children and Childhood Network and the Nottingham Summer School on Child Rights. She is currently a Hauser Senior Global Research Fellow at the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice at NYU School of Law.

She has published extensively in the areas of human rights, particularly in relation to economic and social rights and children's rights, as well as on constitutional law. Her 2011 monograph Children's Socio-economic Rights, Democracy and the Courts won the IALT Kevin Boyle Book Prize and was shortlisted for the Birks Book Prize. She was founding coordinator of the Economic and Social Rights Academic Network UKI (ESRAN-UKI) and has been a member of the Coordinating Committee of the Academic Network on the European Social Charter (ANESC-RACSE). She is a member of a number of Editorial Boards, including those of the Human Rights Law Review, the International Human Rights Law Review and the International Journal of Children's Rights.

In addition to previous full-time positions at Durham Law School and Queen's University Belfast, she has taught at a range of international institutions, including the Geneva Academy on International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights, the University of Groningen and the Global School on Socio-economic Rights at Harvard University and the University of Oslo. During the course of her research work, she has been a Visiting Foreign Scholar at Fordham University School of Law, New York, a Visiting Research Fellow at Columbia University Law School, New York, and Thomas Addis Emmet Fellow in Public Interest Law at the University of Washington, Seattle. In 2013, she was a Visiting Researcher at the Socio-economic Rights and Administrative Justice Project, Faculty of Law, Stellenbosch University and Visiting Research Professor at the Centre for Children's Rights, School of Education, Queen's University Belfast. In 2015, she was a Visiting Professor at the Faculty of Law and Criminology at the Université Catholique de Louvain and, in spring 2017, a Visiting Professorial Fellow at UNSW Law.

Aoife has worked with and acted as an expert advisor to a wide range of international and national organisations and bodies working on human rights issues, including UN Special Procedures, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, the Council of Europe, the World Bank and multiple national human rights institutions. She has served as Senior Legal Officer with the ESC Rights Litigation Programme of the Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions. In 2007-8, she was Human Rights Adviser to the Working Group on Economic and Social Rights, including Relevant Equality Issues of the Northern Ireland Bill of Rights Forum. In early 2008, she provided legal advice to members of the International NGO Coalition for an Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. She is a member of the Coordinating Committee of the ESCR-Net Case-Law Database. She has been an advisor to, amongst others, UNICEF UK, the Children's Commissioner for England, the Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and the Right to Education Project. She is a trustee of Just Fair: Justice and Fairness through Human Rights.

Details of Aoife's media activities can be found here.

Teaching Summary

Economic and Social Rights

Regional Human Rights Law

International Human Rights Law

Children's Rights

Law, Development and the International Community

UK Public Law

Research Summary

For more information on Aoife's research, please see her SSRN Author page:

A selection of podcasts of presentations given by Aoife Nolan can be found below:

'Human Rights, Constitutions and Austerity' (presentation given at Amnesty International Ireland Conference A Deficit of Protection - Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in Ireland, Dublin (November 2012))

'The Human Rights Impacts of the Economic Crisis' (interview given at conference New Horizons on Economic and Social Rights Monitoring, Madrid (March 2012))

Migrants' Access to Goods and Services in the Context of International Human Rights Law' (presentation given at Centre on Migration, Policy and Society (COMPAS), University of Oxford (February 2012))

'Models of Constitutional Economic, Social and Cultural Rights' (presentation given at Irish Conventional Constitution meeting on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, Dublin (February 2014))

Follow Aoife Nolan on Twitter @commentator01

Recent Publications

  • AOIFE NOLAN, ROSA FREEDMAN and THÉRÈSE MURPHY, eds., 2017. The United Nations Special Procedures System Brill/Martinus Nijhoff.
  • AOIFE NOLAN, 2017. Children's Economic and Social Rights. In: TON LIEFAARD, URSULA KILKELLY and STEPHEN HOADLEY, eds., International Law on the Rights of the Child Springer. (In Press.)
  • AOIFE NOLAN, 2017. Putting Children Back at the Heart of Housing: A Commentary on Grootboom. In: HELEN STALFORD, KATHRYN HOLLINGSWORTH and STEPHEN GILMORE, eds., Children's Rights Judgments: From Academic Vision to New Practice (In Press.)
  • AOIFE NOLAN and URSULA KILKELLY, 2016. Children’s Rights under Regional Human Rights Law – A Tale of Harmonisation?. In: C. BUCKLEY, A. DONALD and P. LEACH, eds., Towards Convergence in International Human Rights Law: Approaches of Regional and International Systems Brill/Martinus Nijhoff. 296-322

PhD supervision

I am interested in supervising students in the following areas:

  • children's rights
  • economic and social rights
  • international human rights
  • women's rights
  • comparative constitutional human rights law

Current PhD Students include:

School of Law

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