School of Law

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Richard Watkins

PhD Student, Faculty of Social Sciences



Richard Watkins is a PhD Student in the School of Law. He studied for an LLB in Law and German at Cardiff University, and graduated in July 2012. As part of his undergraduate studies, Richard spent a year living in Germany. Studying at the University of Passau, he undertook modules in German Constitutional and Private Law, and presented a paper to a student seminar on the German legal concept of the reasonable man. For his undergraduate dissertation, Richard conducted a comparative evaluation of the status of royal property in the UK and the former Kingdom of Bavaria.

Richard came to Nottingham in 2012, to study for an LLM with a strong focus on international human rights law. His LLM dissertation was entitled 'Fame and the Right to Privacy' and concerned the UK Courts' application of the European Convention right to respect for private and family life to public figures. The dissertation examined the Courts' approach to balancing the right to privacy with the media's freedom of expression and the issue of horizontal effect of Convention rights. Richard graduated with Distinction in December 2013.

Since October 2013, Richard has been studying for a PhD in the School of Law. He is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. Richard serves as a representative on the Research Degrees Learning Community Forum in the School of Law, and is responsible for organising the PhD Seminar Series. In addition, Richard is co-convenor of the NILSC Security Group Roundtable series. In recognition of the progress made with his research and for his contribution to the postgraduate community, Richard was awarded a Dean Moore Endowed Postgraduate Prize in April 2016.

Expertise Summary

Teaching Summary

2015/16: Richard teaches undergraduate tutorials on Public Law (semester 2).

2014/15: Richard teaches undergraduate tutorials on Public Law (semester 2).

Research Summary

Theirs But to Do and Die: A Soldier's Right to Life in Armed Conflict

Richard's thesis seeks to determine how to guarantee soldiers' right to life under Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights. The thesis critically examines the European Court of Human Rights' case law on the scope of the Convention's application, and takes a doctrinal and philosophical approach to the negative, positive and procedural obligations imposed on states under Article 2.

Identifying the general principles in the European Court's right to life jurisprudence, the thesis examines a number of different case studies in which soldiers have been killed and articulates an approach by which the right to life can be guaranteed whilst not jeopardising military efficacy. This includes a new element of states' positive obligation to protect life and an implied armed conflict exception to the negative obligation to refrain from killing, as well as a new mechanism for investigating soldiers' deaths.

Research Supervisors: Associate Professor Marko Milanovic and Professor David Fraser

Funding Source: Arts and Humanities Research Council Studentship

Projected Completion Date: September 2016

Future Research

Upon completion of his PhD, Richard plans to continue researching into the question of soldiers' right to life, exploring some of the broader issues relating to his thesis.

School of Law

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