Robin Hickey


  • Room 01.008 - 75 University Road

    United Kingdom


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Personal profile


Robin teaches property and obligations. He is always pleased to hear from prospective research students, and welcomes enquiries about projects relating to these fields.

Robin was appointed Head of the School of the Law in April 2018. He was formerly Director of Education (2013-2016) and Acting Head of School (2016-2018).

Research Interests

Finders law, ownership, property, obligations, modern slavery, forced labour


Finalist, Inner Temple Book Prize 2011 (New Authors' Category)

Research Statement

Robin re-joined the School of Law at Queen's in 2013, having previously been a Senior Lecturer at Durham Law School and a lecturer in law at Queen's.

Robin’s research focuses on property, particularly on foundational concepts of property like “ownership” and “possession”, and how these interact with civil and criminal rules protecting property. He is currently working on a book exploring these themes (Possession and Entitlement, Hart Publishing).

Robin has special expertise in the law relating to lost and found things. His first book, Property and the Law of Finders (Hart Publishing, 2010) is the first full-length account of the legal position of finders, and was one of two books shortlisted for the Inner Temple Book Prize 2011 (New Authors' Category).

In another major current project, Robin seeks to apply common law perspectives on property to the problem of modern slavery. He was a founding member of the Research Network on the Legal Parameters of Slavery, which conducted research, funded by the AHRC, on Slavery as the Powers Attaching to the Right of Ownership. This Network brought together international academics and practitioners on slavery and property issues, with the aim of clarifying the modern definition of slavery in international law, and produced the Bellagio-Harvard Guidelines on the Legal Parameters of Slavery. The Network held two conferences at the Rockefeller Centre Bellagio and Harvard Law School, and published its findings in J. Allain (ed) The Legal Understanding of Slavery: From the Historical to the Contemporary(OUP, 2012). In addition to his published writing on the definition of modern slavery, Robin has presented widely on the issue nationally and internationally, including a plenary panel at the Association of Law, Property and Society Annual Meeting at Georgetown Law School in 2012.

External collaboration is an important feature of Robin’s work. In addition to the slavery project, he has recently edited two collections of essays - Moral Rhetoric and the Criminalisation of Squatting (Routledge 2014) with Lorna Fox-O’Mahony and David O’Mahony (Essex) and Landmark Cases in Property Law (Hart, 2015) with Simon Douglas (Oxford) and Emma Waring (York). Robin has also spent time as a visiting scholar at Harvard Law School, and an International Research Visitor at Melbourne Law School. Currently he is working on a project with Professor Matthew Harding of the Melbourne Law School on a project concerning discretionary decision making in property law and its compatibility with rule of law values.


Robin is a Casenotes editor of the Conveyancer, and a Board member of the Assocation for Law, Property and Society. He also has general interests in legal theory and history. He has served on the editorial board of the journal Jurisprudence (Hart Publishing), and is a member of the Council and Publications Committee of the Irish Legal History Society.

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 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 14 - Life Below Water
  • SDG 15 - Life on Land
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions


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