Rory O'Connell


  • Shore Road, Jordanstown Campus

    BT37 0QB Newtownabbey

    United Kingdom

  • 39 Citations
  • 3 h-Index
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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 was appointed TJI Director in 2014.  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 Internationa Human Rights Framework to State Budget AllocationsHuman Rights and Public FinanceLegal Theory in the Crucible of Constitutional Justice.

He is 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.  He is also a member of the GCRF Research Hub on Gender, Justice and Security. 

Rory is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, and teaches at both undergraduate and postgraduate level.

Rory studied at Tarbert Comprehensive School 1983-1988  and then studied law at University College Dublin (UCD), thanks to a scholarship. 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 Executive of the Committee on the Administration of Justice and is the former 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

Education/Academic qualification

PhD, European University Institute, San Domenico di Fiesole

1 Sep 199331 Dec 1997

Master, University College Dublin

1 Sep 19921 Sep 1993

Bachelor, University College Dublin

1 Sep 198830 Jun 1992

External positions



  • K Law (General)
  • Equality
  • Discrimination
  • Human Rights
  • Transitional Justice
  • Transformative Justice
  • Comparative Constitutional Law
  • Constitutional Law

Fingerprint 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.

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human rights Social Sciences
equality Social Sciences
ECHR Social Sciences
Law Social Sciences
right to work Social Sciences
EU Social Sciences
budget Social Sciences
case law Social Sciences

Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Research Output 1999 2018

Cinderella Comes to the Ball: Article 14 and the Right to Non-Discrimination in the ECHR

O'Connell, R., 9 Apr 2009, In : Legal Studies. 2009, p. 211-229

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
case law
20 Citations (Scopus)
Open Access
value judgement

Applying an International Human Rights Framework to State Budget Allocations: Rights and Resources

O'Connell, R., Nolan, A., Harvey, C., Dutschke, M. & Rooney, E., 13 Jan 2014, 1st Edition ed. London and New York. 240 p. (Routledge Research in Human Rights Law)

Research output: Book/ReportBook

human rights
social rights

Law’s Majestic Equality? Article 14, the First Protocol and Political Equality

O'Connell, R., 6 Feb 2018, The European convention on human rights and the principle of non-discrimination. Balboni, M. (ed.). p. 139-169

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

political right

Human Rights and Public Finance

Nolan, A. (ed.), O'Connell, R. (ed.) & Harvey, C. (ed.), 21 Oct 2013, 256 p.

Research output: Book/ReportAnthology

public finance
social rights
human rights

Activities 2014 2019

Law in the face of austerity: the role of human rights law in Austerity UK

Rory O'Connell (Participant)
20 May 2019

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventOrganising a conference, workshop, ...

The Good Friday Agreement and Brexit

Rory O'Connell (Participant)
13 May 2019

Activity: Other

Safewater for all

Rory O'Connell (Participant)
24 Oct 2019

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipating in a conference, workshop, ...

The Johnson Letter and Cross-community Agreement in Northern Ireland

Rory O'Connell (Participant)
4 Oct 2019

Activity: Other

Arts and Humanities Research Council Peer Review College member (External organisation)

Rory O'Connell (Chair)
9 Dec 20198 Dec 2023

Activity: MembershipMembership of committee

Press / Media

Interview with France 24 on political context of Northern Ireland

Rory O'Connell


1 media contribution

Press/Media: Expert Comment


Egyptian exile in England: a study in the mechanisms of contentious politics

Author: McKeever, D., Jun 2018

Supervisor: Ketola, M. (Supervisor), O'Connell, R. (Supervisor) & Braniff, M. (Supervisor)

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


Operationalising transformative justice in transitional societies: Applying the structural violence reduction matrix in Colombia

Author: McGill, D., Nov 2018

Supervisor: Collins, C. (Supervisor), O'Connell, R. (Supervisor), Lasslett, K. (Supervisor), Collins, C. (Supervisor), O'Connell, R. (Supervisor) & Lasslett, K. (Supervisor)

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis