Rory O'Connell


  • York Street, Belfast Campus

    BT15 1AP Belfast

    United Kingdom

Calculated based on number of publications stored in Pure and citations from Scopus
1995 …2023

Research activity per year

If you made any changes in Pure these will be visible here soon.

Personal profile


Rory O'Connell joined the Transitional Justice Institute (TJI) and School of Law in 2013 as Professor of Human Rights and Constitutional Law. He is the Director of Development & Partnerships – School of Law  (appointed 1 September 2023). He held the role of TJI Director from February 2014 to February 2020, and Research Director for Law from July 2017 to September 2023.   

Rory's research and teaching interests are in the areas of Human Rights and Equality, Constitutional Law and Legal Theory. He has published in the International Journal of Constitutional Law, European Law Journal, Legal Studies, European Human Rights Law Review and other journals. His books include Applying an International  Human Rights Framework to State Budget Allocations (Routledge), Human Rights and Public Finance (Hart), Legal Theory in the Crucible of Constitutional Justice (Ashgate).

His latest book Law, Democracy and the European Court of Human Rights (Cambridge 2020) examines the role of democracy in the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights, exploring the potential to use the European Convention on Human Rights to argue for more deliberative, participatory and inclusive democratic practices. In 2021 he was awarded the Faculty Senior Distinguished Research Award. 

Rory has been actively involved in supporting PhD researchers and is currently on 5 supervision panels. He has supervised 14 PhD researchers through to award of PhD and has examined 20 PhD theses as external or internal examiner.

Rory was a member of the project team on the ESRC project ‘Brexit and Northern Ireland: The Constitutional, Conflict Transformation, Human Rights and Equality Consequences’ #BrexitLawNI. He is also a member of the SAFEWATER project funded by the ESPRC and a member of the LSE-led GCRF Research Hub on Gender, Justice and Security. He is a member of the AHRC Peer Review College. 

Rory is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, and has taught at both undergraduate and postgraduate level. He has taught Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; Dissertation Research Methods, Human Rights, Equality Law, Public Law & Constitutional Law, Comparative Law, EU Law, Torts, Jurisprudence.

Rory studied at Tarbert Comprehensive School and then studied law at University College Dublin (UCD). During his degree, he spent a year as an ERASMUS student at the Université de Rouen. In 1992, he graduated with a Bachelor of Civil Law (European Legal Studies) degree (First Class, Joint First Place) and received a UCD Open Postgraduate scholarship. He proceeded to write an LL.M. by thesis on The Irish Courts and Equality Before the Law, graduating in 1994, with First Class honours. He moved to the European University Institute (EUI), Florence to undertake a PhD on the theory of constitutional interpretation and graduated from the EUI in 1997, with Distinction. Rory's first lecturing post was in Comparative Law at Lancaster University Law School. From 2001 to 2013 he was a member of the Human Rights Centre, School of Law at Queen's University of Belfast.

Rory is on the committee of Scholars at Risk-Ireland (SAR-Ireland). Rory is on the Executive of the Committee on the Administration of Justice (CAJ). He was the editor of the RightsNI Blog.  He has been actively involved in promoting international mobility in education: he served as one of the members of the UK team of Bologna Experts and was Director of the European Union Funded Intensive Programme (IP) on ‘The Borders of Europe’ 2009-2011.

Rory tweets @rjjoconnell and has a website at

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 1 - No Poverty
  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Education/Academic qualification

PhD, Who's Afraid of Natural Law? , European University Institute, San Domenico di Fiesole

1 Sept 199331 Dec 1997

Award Date: 31 Jul 1997

Master, LLM Equality before the Law in the Irish Courts, University College Dublin

1 Sept 19921 Sept 1993

Award Date: 31 Dec 1993

Bachelor, Bachelor of Civil Law, (European Legal Studies), University College Dublin

1 Sept 198830 Jun 1992

Award Date: 30 Jun 1992

External positions

External Examiner, Sussex University

1 Sept 20191 Sept 2022

External Examiner, University College Dublin

1 Sept 20191 Sept 2022

Treasurer, Committee on the Administration of Justice (CAJ)

1 Sept 2017 → …

External Examiner, University of Nottingham

1 Sept 20141 Sept 2017

External Examiner, University of Strathclyde

1 Sept 20131 Sept 2017

External Examiner, Lancaster University

1 Sept 20121 Sept 2016

External Examiner, University College Cork

1 Sept 20121 Sept 2016

External Examiner, National University of Ireland, Galway

1 Sept 20091 Sept 2012


  • K Law (General)
  • Equality
  • Discrimination
  • Human Rights
  • Transitional Justice
  • Transformative Justice
  • Comparative Constitutional Law
  • Constitutional Law
  • Discrimination law
  • Equality law
  • Economic and social rights
  • Political rights
  • Democracy
  • Economic social and cultural rights


Dive into the research topics where Rory O'Connell is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.
  • 1 Similar Profiles

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

Recent external collaboration on country/territory level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots or