Human Rights Law Centre

European Human Rights Law Unit

The Unit undertakes research, teaching, training and consultancy work on European human rights law.

It focuses on the European Convention on Human Rights, the European Social Charter, the European Torture Convention, the European Framework Convention for the Protection of Minorities and the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights. It covers both the international systems that operate these instruments and their implementation at the national level.

The Unit also arranges conferences and workshops on European human rights issues and teaches European Human Rights law as part of the Centre's International Human Rights Law Short Course.

The Unit also gives opportunities to students to contribute to its work through its internship and student research assistance programmes for University of Nottingham LLM students and graduates. 

The Unit's key projects include:

UK Fundamental Rights Reports (FRANET)

The Unit prepares reports and studies on social and legal issues, promotion and protection of fundamental rights in the UK for the EU Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA)


Unit head: Professor David Harris, HRLC Co-Director


  • Marie Auter, Research Assistant,
  • Carla Buckley, Research Fellow,
  • Laura Wills, Research Officer

Interns and Student Research Assistants also contribute to the Unit's projects. 


The Execution of Judgments of the European Court of Human Rights

The Human Rights Law Centre’s European Human Rights Law Unit is engaged in a project to analyse and critique the Council of Europe procedures for the execution of judgments of the European Court of Human Rights and the remedial steps taken by states found by the Court to be in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights. The output will be proposals for reform and recommendations for ‘best practice.’ The justification for the project is that the Council of Europe procedures have been the subject of criticism and states have in many cases been slow to implement judgements or not implemented them at all..

The first step in the project was an expert workshop on The Execution of European Court of Human Rights Judgements organised by the Centre in partnership with the Council of Europe’s Department for the Execution of Judgments of the European Court of Human Rights (Execution Department) that was held at the University in September 2017. Click  here to read the transcript of the proceedings. The results of the workshop were presented by Professor David Harris and Judge Paul Mahoney at a Council of Europe workshop in Strasbourg in December 2018.

In April 2019, Robert Linham, the UK Deputy Permanent Representative to the Council of Europe, presented a paper on “The Execution of Court Judgments: a Government View” to the Centre’s Annual Nottingham Student Conference. A paper on NGO participation in the execution process was presented at the same Conference by Elif Erken, a PhD student at the University of Utrecht. 

Following these activities, the next stage of the project will be interviews with key individuals. The outcome of the project will be articles published in academic journals and a report to the Council of Europe, the latter being distributed to government representatives of member states, NGOs and other interested parties. The project is being undertaken by Professor Harris and by Carla Buckley, Centre Research Fellow. Carla has experience of working in the Execution Department in Strasbourg, reviewing the implementation of judgments in preparation for the human rights meeting of the Committee of Ministers in which the execution of judgements is monitored.



D.J. Harris, M. O'Boyle, E.P. Bates and C. Buckley, Harris, O'Boyle and Warbrick: Law of the European Convention on Human Rights, 4th ed. (Oxford University Press, 2018). 

An up-to-date and comprehensive account of Strasbourg case law and its underlying principles, this book facilitates an in-depth understanding of this fascinating area of law.

Yearbook of the European Convention for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment

The Unit edits the  annual volumes of the Yearbook, which are now published by BRILL. The Yearbook contains the reports by the European Torture Committee, government responses thereto and other materials that record the progress of the Convention and its Committee.



Unit Head expertise

Professor David Harris specialises in public international law, international human rights law and UK civil liberties law.

His publications include:

  • Harris, O'Boyle and Warbrick, The Law of the European Convention on Human Rights
  • Harris, The European Social Charter
  • Gomien, Harris and Zwack, Law and Practice of the European Convention on Human Rights and the European Social Charter
  • Burchill, Harris and Joseph, eds., The ICCPR and UK Law
  • Harris and Livingstone eds., The Inter-American System of Human Rights
  • Burchill, Harris and Owers, eds., Economic, Social and Cultural Rights: Their Implementation in UK Law
  • Bailey, Harris and Jones, Civil Liberties: Cases and Materials
  • Harris, Cases and Materials on International Law

He was a member of the Committee of Independent Experts, European Social Charter 1990-96. He has been a human rights consultant for the UN, the Council of Europe and other organisations and taken part in EU human rights dialogues with China and Indonesia.

Useful links

Human Rights Law Centre

School of Law
University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

+44 (0)115 846 8506