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    United Kingdom

Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

I am happy to discuss potential PhD projects in the following areas: Transitional Justice; Truth recovery, Dealing with the past; Victims; Ex-Combatants; Reparations; Emotions; Dark tourism


Research activity per year

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Personal profile

Research Interests

Transitional Justice; Truth recovery and dealing with the past; Victims; Ex-Combatants; Reparations; Emotions; Dark tourism

Research Statement

Dr. Cheryl Lawther is a Senior Lecturer in Law and Director of the Human Rights Centre. She was previously a Lecturer in Criminology in the School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work and completed a post-doctoral research fellow in the School of International Relations, University of St Andrews.  From September 2016 - September 2017 Cheryl was seconded to The Senator George J. Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice, Queen's University Belfast as a Senior Research Fellow.  Her research interests are in the fields of transitional justice, truth recovery, victims, ex-combatants, reparations, emotions and conflict transformation.  


Her article “Securing’ the Past: Policing and the Contest over Truth in Northern Ireland’, British Journal of Criminology, 2010, 50, 3: 455-473 was awarded the Brian Williams Article Prize by the British Society of Criminology in July 2011.  This award is made in recognition of the best sole authored journal article by a ‘new’ scholar in the previous year.  A subsequent article - 'The Truth about Loyalty: Emotions, Ex-Combatants and Transitioning from the Past', International Journal of Transitional Justice, 2017, 11, 3:484-503 was shortlisted for the Socio-Legal Studies Association Article Prize. Her monograph Truth, Denial and Transition: Northern Ireland and the Contested Past  was published by the Routledge Transitional Justice Series in 2014. Cheryl's most recent book Research Handbook on Transitional Justice (co-edited with L. Moffett and D. Jacobs) was published by the Edward Elgar Research Handbooks in International Law series in 2017.


She is currently leading and working on a number of RCUK funded research projects. In late 2015 Dr. Lawther was awarded an AHRC Early Career Research Grant for a project on 'Voice, Agency and Blame: Victimhood and the Imagined Community in Northern Ireland' (with K. McEvoy, £250,000). Full details on the project and associated publications can be found on the project website - victimsandthepast.org  In November 2016, Cheryl became a Co-Investigator on the AHRC funded project 'Reparations, Resonsibilites and Victimhood in Transitional Societies' (with L. Moffett and K. McEvoy, £655,198). The project website can be accessed here - reparations.qub.ac.uk.  Finally, Dr. Lawther is leading a Department for Education - Global Challenges Research Fund pilot project on representations of victimhood at dark tourist sites, with a specific focus on Cambodia.


In addition to her scholarly committments, Cheryl is a trustee of the Human Rights Trust.


Further information on Cheryl's work and publications can be found on Research Gate and you can also follow her on Twitter @LawtherC 


Dr. Lawther has also contributed to a number of podcasts on her research which you can listen to through the following links:


 - 'Voice, Agency and Responsibility: Victimhood and Transitional Justice in Northern Ireland', Oxford Transitional Justice Research Seminar Series, 2018 https://podcasts.ox.ac.uk/voice-agency-and-responsibility-victimhood-and-transitional-justice-northern-ireland


 - 'Building an archive of, and for, victims in Northern Ireland', Atrocity's Archives: the Role of Archives in Transitional Justice, Faculty of Law, Oxford University, 28 March 2018.   https://www.law.ox.ac.uk/role-archives-transitional-justice/cheryl-lawther


 - ‘Victimhood and Political Generosity’, From Victims to Survivors: Voices from Below, Interdisciplinary Doctoral Research Group Annual Conference, Queen’s University Belfast,  29 May 2019



 - University College Cork Conversations with Criminologists, Conversation with Dr. Cheryl Lawther, 18 October 2019. 



- 'Truth Recovery in Northern Ireland', with Prof. Kieran McEvoy, QUB LawPod, 20 October 2020. http://lawpod.org/?name=2020-10-20_truth-recovery-ni.mp3 





PhD Law, Queen's University Belfast

MSSc Criminology (Distinction), Queen's University Belfast

BA Hons Politics (First Class Honours), Queen's University Belfast


Post Graduate Certificate in Higher Education Teaching, Queen's University Belfast

Fellow of the Higher Education Academy




In July 2011, I was awarded the Brian Williams Article Prize by the British Society of Criminology for my article "Securing' the Past: Policing and the Contest over Truth in Northern Ireland', British Journal of Criminology, 2010, 50, 3: 455-473.  This award is made in recognition of the best article published in the previous year by a 'new' scholar.


In 2018, my article 'The Truth about Loyalty: Emotions, Ex-Combatants and Transitioning from the Past', International Journal of Transitional Justice, 2017, 11, 3:484-503 was shortlisted for the Socio Legal Studies Association Article Prize.


In February 2020 I was awarded a Fulbright Irish Scholar Award. I will take up this position in the Human Rights Centre, Boalt Hall School of Law, Berkeley, University of California in January 2022. 




I currently convene and teach across the following modules:

LAW1021 Constitutional Law in Context

LAW1025 Criminal Law

LAW7810/8516 Theoretical Criminology

LAW7811/8518 Transitional Justice


I am a contributing lecturer to:

CSJ7007 The Legacy of Conflict


I currently supervise undergraduate and postgraduate dissertations for LAW3000 and LAW7832/7833/7835.


During the Summer semester, I contribute to the Senator George J. Mitchell Institute International Summer School in Conflict Transformation and Social Justice. 





Director, Human Rights Centre

Thematic Lead, Research Grouping on Human Rights and Public Law

Programme Director LLM Human Rights

Programme Director LLM Criminology and Criminal Justice

Member of School Research Committee

Member of Post Graduate Education Committee

Member of the School Research Ethics Committee

Advisor of Studies to LLM Students

Personal Tutor


Previous Administrative Roles: 

Member of the SSESW Research Ethics Committee (2013-2018)

Chair and Staff Liaison Officer of Staff Student Consultative Committee

Convenor of Inter-Disciplinary Doctoral Research Group

Member of Education Committee, Senator George J. Mitchell Institute




Expertise related to UN Sustainable Devlopment 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 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions


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