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1997 …2023

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Personal profile


Colin Harvey is Professor of Human Rights Law in the School of Law, Director of the Human Rights Centre, a Fellow of the Senator George J Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice, an Associate Fellow of the Institute of Irish Studies and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. Professor Harvey is a Commissioner on the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission and a member of the Scientific Committee of the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights. 

Professor Harvey has served as Head of the Law School, a member of Senate, and as a Director of Research. Before returning to Queen’s in 2005 he was Professor of Constitutional and Human Rights Law at the University of Leeds. He has held visiting positions at the University of Michigan, Fordham University, and the London School of Economics and Political Science. He has taught on the George Washington University – Oxford University Summer School in International Human Rights Law, and on the international human rights programme at the University of Oxford.

He is on the Advisory Group of the ARINS Project (Royal Irish Academy and the Keough-Naughton Institute for Irish Studies at Notre Dame's Keough School of Global Affairs), the Advisory Group of the Future Relationships Project (Holywell Trust), a member of the Equally Ours Research Network, the Academic Panel at Doughty Street Chambers, and a Senior Research Associate, Refugee Law Initiative, School of Advanced Study, University of London.

Professor Harvey was a member of the REF2014 Law sub-panel and the REF2014 Equality and Diversity Advisory Panel. He served two terms as a Commissioner on the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission, and was a member of the Northern Ireland Higher Education Council.  

He is the General Editor of Human Rights Law in Perspective (Hart-Bloomsbury) and is on the editorial boards of Human Rights Law Review and European Human Rights Law Review. He has written and taught extensively on human rights and constitutional law, and recently led an ESRC funded project on the consequences of Brexit for Northern Ireland (https://brexitlawni.org/).

He has been involved in an extensive range of advisory roles, including invited expert at the Irish Convention on the Constitution on The Right of Citizens Resident outside the State to Vote in Presidential Elections, a participant in UNHCR’s Global Consultation on International Protection, a consultant to the Global Commission on International Migration on The Right to Leave in International Law, and a member of the JUSTICE Advisory Group on Law for Lawmakers. He has provided expert evidence to parliamentary committees in Ireland and the UK, for example, the Scottish Affairs Committee, Westminster Parliament, the Oireachtas Joint Committee on the Implementation of the Good Friday Agreement, and the Northern Ireland Assembly Committee for the Executive Office. 

Professor Harvey has published widely on human rights and constitutional law. His books include: Applying an International Human Rights Framework to State Budget Allocations: Rights and Resources (2014, Routledge, with Rory O’Connell et al.); Contemporary Issues in Refugee Law (2013, ed. Edward Elgar, with Satvinder Juss); Human Rights and Public Finance (2013, ed. Hart Publishing, with Aoife Nolan and Rory O’Connell); Rights in Divided Societies (2012 ed. Hart Publishing, with Alex Schwartz); Human Rights in the Community: Rights as Agents for Change (ed., 2005, Hart Publishing); Sanctuary in Ireland: Perspectives on Asylum Law and Policy (ed., with Ursula Fraser, 2003, Institute of Public Administration); Human Rights, Equality and Democratic Renewal in Northern Ireland (ed., 2001, Hart Publishing); Seeking Asylum in the UK: Problems and Prospects (2000, Cambridge University Press/Butterworths).

His has published articles in: European Human Rights Law ReviewHuman Rights Law ReviewInternational Journal of Refugee LawRefugee Survey Quarterly, Modern Law ReviewNorthern Ireland Legal QuarterlyCornell International Law Journal, Fordham International Law JournalPolicy & PoliticsJournal of Law and SocietySocial and Legal Studies and Public Law, Irish Yearbook of International Law, King's Law Journal, Irish Studies in International Affairs among others. He has been guest editor of several journal collections published in: International Journal on Minority and Group RightsJournal of Law and SocietyNorthern Ireland Legal QuarterlyCanadian Journal of Law and JurisprudenceRefuge - Canada's Periodical on Refugees, and European Human Rights Law Review.

He has a particular interest in public engagement, and has written extensively on constitutionalism and human rights for the media including in: The Irish TimesThe Guardian, Times Higher Education Supplement and a range of other widely accessible formats. Professor Harvey has undertaken funded research for the ESRC, British Academy, the Nuffield Foundation, Atlantic Philanthropies, and the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust, among others.

Selected Recent Publications

Colin Harvey, 'The 1998 Agreement: Context and Status' in Christopher McCrudden (ed) The Law and Practice of the Ireland-Northern Ireland Protocol (2022, Cambridge University Press) ch 2 

Colin Harvey, ‘Let the People Decide: Reflections on Constitutional Change and Concurrent Consent’ (2021) 32 Irish Studies in International Affairs 382

Colin Harvey, ‘Deliberating on the Constitutional Future: A Response to ‘A Modest Proposal: Building a Deliberative System in Northern Ireland’ by Jane Suiter’ (2021) 32 Irish Studies in International Affairs 278

Colin Harvey, ‘Popular Sovereignty, Irish Reunification and Change on the Island of Ireland’ in Maria Cahill, Colm Ó Cinnéide, Seán Ó Conaill, Conor O’Mahony eds, Constitutional Change and Popular Sovereignty: Populism, Politics and the Law in Ireland (2021, Routledge) ch 14

Colin Harvey & Anne Smith, ‘Designing Bills of Rights in Contested Contexts: Reflections on the Northern Ireland Experience’ (2020) 44 Fordham International Law Journal 357

Colin Harvey, ‘The Irish Border’ in Fabbrini (ed), The Law & Politics of Brexit: Volume II The Withdrawal Agreement (Oxford University Press 2020)

Colin Harvey and Mark Bassett, The Future of Our Shared Island: A Paper on the Logistical and Legal Questions Surrounding Referendums on Irish Unity (2019, Constitutional Conversations Group)

Colin Harvey and Mark Bassett, The EU and Irish Unity: Planning and Preparing for Constitutional Change in Ireland (2019, GUE/NGL European Parliamentary Group)

Colin Harvey ‘Mutual Respect? Interrogating Human Rights in a Fractured Union’ (2018) 29 King's Law Journal 216

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 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions


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