• Room 07.011 - Main Site Tower

    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

Personal profile

Research Statement

Dr. Cheryl Lawther is a Reader in the School of Law and a Fellow of the Senator George J. Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice. She is the former Director of the Human Rights Centre at Queen's University Belfast.

Dr. Lawther is an internationally recognised researcher in the field of transitional justice and has published extensively on truth recovery and dealing with the past, victims, ex-combatants, reparations and the use of atrocity sites.

Cheryl's key publications include the monograph Truth, Denial and Transition: Northern Ireland and the Contested Past (Routledge, 2014). She is the lead editor for the Research Handbook on Transitional Justice (with L. Moffett), published by Edward Elgar in 2017 and with a second edition commissioned and published in 2023. Cheryl has published journal articles in a range of leading socio legal publications, including, amongst others, Social and Legal Studies, the International Journal of Transitional Justice, British Journal of Criminology, Journal of Human Rights in Practice, International Journal of Human Rights Practice, International Review of Victimology, Journal of Genocide Research and Policing and Society.

Cheryl is currently leading and working on a number of UKRI funded research projects. In late 2015 she 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 these collaborative projects, Cheryl has had significant success in securiing research fellowships. These include a Fulbright Irish Scholar Award (2020) (based at the School of Law, UC Berkeley) and a British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship (2022-2023). This latter award will facilitate the writing of a monograph on the construction and reproduction of victimhood in transitional justice, under contract with Oxford University Press.


Board Memberships

In addition to her scholarly committments, Cheryl is actively engaged with a number of victim focused and human rights organisations in civil society. Specifically, she is a:

 - Member of the Victims' Payments Board (2022 - ongoing);

 - Member of the Victims' Commissioners Advisory Panel (2022 - ongoing);

 - Trustee of the Human Rights Trust (2013 - ongoing);

 - Former Vice Chair and Treasurer of the Committee on the Administration of Justice (2012-2018).



Post Graduate Certificate in Higher Education Teaching 2014. QUB

Fellow of the Higher Education Academy 2014.

PhD in Law 2010. Pass with no corrections. QUB

MSSc Criminology 2007. Distinction. QUB

BA Hons Politics 2006. First Class Honours. QUB


Dr. Lawther's work has garnered significant success and scholarly recognition. Key achievements include:

 - British Academy Mid Career Fellowship (2022-2023).

 - Fulbright Irish Scholar Award (2021, School of Law UC Berkeley).

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

 - 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.  Awarded for: “Securing’ the Past: Policing and the Contest over Truth in Northern Ireland’, British Journal of Criminology, 2010, 50, 3: 455-473.



Leadership and Administrative Roles

Chair of School of Law Research Ethics Committee (2023 - ).

Theme lead for Transitional Justice Research Cluster (2023 - ).

Co-lead for QUB - Boston College Partnership (2023 - ).

Member of North America Strategy Group (2023 - ).

External examiner, MPhil Conflict Resolution and Reconciliation, Trinity College Dublin (2023 - ).

Director of the Human Rights Centre, QUB (2020 - 2022).

Theme lead for Human Rights and Public Law Research Cluster (2020 - 2022).

Programme Director, LLM International Human Rights Law (2018-2021).

Programme Director, LLM Criminology and Criminal Justice (2018-2021).

Programme Director, LLM Human Rights and Criminal Justice (2018-2019).



Current Teaching

Constitutional Law in Context (PGT, MLaw, Module Convenor)

Transitional Justice (PGT, LLM, Module Convenor)

Punishment, Justice and Legacy (PGT, LLM)

Criminology Theory and Practice (UG, LLB)


Previous Teaching

Constitutional Law in Context (UG, LLB, Module Convenor)

Criminal Law (UG, LLB)

Theoretical Criminology (PGT, LLM, Module Convenor)


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 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions


Dive into the research topics where Cheryl Lawther 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