Professor Helen Quane
Legal Studies
Telephone: (01792) 295113
Room: Office - 022
Ground Floor
Richard Price Building
Singleton Campus

Helen completed a postgraduate degree in Public International Law at the London School of Economics prior to completing a PhD on Rights-based Approaches to Inter-Communal Conflict at University College London. Her principal research interests relate to issues of a normative and structural nature in international human rights law, notably, issues of minority protection, self-determination and the interplay between global, regional and national human rights regimes in the formation and implementation of human rights norms. Currently, she is working on a number of research projects including one on legal pluralism and international human rights law and a second on human rights in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Helen’s research has been published in leading journals such as the Oxford Journal of Legal Studies, Harvard Human Rights Journal, the International and Comparative Law Quarterly, Virginia Journal of International Law and the British Yearbook of International Law.

Areas of Expertise

  • Self-determination
  • Minority rights
  • Rights of Indigenous Peoples
  • Legal pluralism


  1. 'Roadmaps or roadblocks to reconciling religious law and human rights: Lessons from the ASEAN States'. In Protecting the Powerless, Curbing the Powerful (part of the SEAHRN Human Rights and Peace in Southeast Asia Series). Thailand: Southeast Asian Human Rights Studies Network (SEAHRN).
  2. Navigating Diffuse Jurisdictions: An Intra-State Perspective. In Oxford Handbook on Jurisdiction in International Law. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  3. 'The Significance of an Evolving Relationship: ASEAN States and the Global Human Rights Mechanisms'. Human Rights Law Review 15(2), 283-311.
  4. International Human Rights Law as a Catalyst for the Recognition and Evolution of Non-State Law. In Michael A. Helfand (Ed.), Negotiating State and Non-State Law: The Challenges of Global and Local Legal Pluralism. (pp. 111-133). Cambridge University Press (part of the American Society of International Law (ASIL) Studies in International Legal Theory collection).
  5. Silence in International Law. British Yearbook of International Law 84(1), 240-270.

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  • LAA333 International Law - Principles and Procedures

    In this module we examine a range of core topics that are essential to an understanding of the international legal system. We begin by analysing the nature and evolution of international law. Is international law really law? If it is law, is it effective? We then look at how international law is created and the range of State and non-State actors with rights and obligations under this system of law. The relationship between international law and national law is examined with particular reference to the UK and how one can use international law in proceedings before our national courts. The module concludes with an examination of the means used for the peaceful resolution of disputes within this legal system.

  • LAA334 International Law - Substantive Topics

    In this module, we analyse several substantive areas of international law. We focus on state responsibility, jurisdiction, sovereign immunity, use of force and the protection of individuals and groups under international law. We examine not only the relevant legal principles in these areas but also the current challenges to these principles, competing policy considerations and the prospects for further development in these areas of international law. Throughout, we consider the political, diplomatic, economic and other non-legal factors that can influence the interpretation and enforcement of international law.

  • LAAM00 International Human Rights Law

    This module examines the current international system for protecting human rights and the challenges it faces. It analyses the key international instruments for the protection of human rights, the mechanisms for monitoring and improving State compliance with these instruments and the UN reform agenda in this particular area. Several key areas of substantive law are examined from a thematic perspective, namely, the right to respect for physical integrity, identity, effective participation in public life and self-determination. Within these areas, issues that are relevant to the protection of all human rights are examined such as how one can reconcile conflicts between the rights of different individuals or groups as well as the conflicts between these rights and the wider interests of society, for example, in the development sphere or in dealing with terrorist threats. Throughout the course, the political, economic and other non-legal considerations that influence the application and development of international human rights law are examined.

  • LAAM06 Human Rights and Identity

    The rise of identity politics and the increasing significance of religious and cultural beliefs present significant challenges as well as opportunities for the development and effective enforcement of international human rights law. In this module, students explore the multifaceted nature of the relationship between identity and international human rights law. The module begins by examining the evolution of international human rights law concerning the protection of identity, the underlying rationales for this protection and its potential implications especially in terms of nation building, resource considerations, development strategies and the principle of non-discrimination. It then analyses the nature and level of protection afforded to religious, ethnic and linguistic identity under international human rights law. Attention focuses on the manner in which the right to respect for identity is formulated and the range of obligations it imposes on States. It also focuses on the circumstances in which the State may impose restrictions on the right in order to protect the rights of others and the wider interests of society. Throughout the module, the various dimensions to the relationship between identity and human rights are made explicit and evaluated in terms of the impact of this relationship on the development of international human rights law and its practical application on the ground.

  • LAAM11 Dissertation

    This compulsory module provides students with the opportunity to undertake an in-depth and critical examination of an area of law in which they are particularly interested. Supervision will be provided in accordance with the procedures set out in the LLM Human Rights Handbook. Students should refer to the Handbook for information on supervision.


  • Access to medicines-an examination of trade law and human rights«br /» (current)

    Student name:
    Other supervisor: Prof Helen Quane
    Other supervisor: Dr Arwel Davies
  • Cyber Warfare: Rules and Regulations for States (current)

    Student name:
    Other supervisor: Prof Stuart Macdonald
    Other supervisor: Prof Helen Quane
  • Respecting Human Rights and the Rule of Law in cyberspace: The challenges posed by trans-border access to data in criminal cases (current)

    Student name:
    Other supervisor: Prof Stuart Macdonald
    Other supervisor: Prof Helen Quane
  • 'The compatability of closed material proceedings with the ECHR standards of fairness' (awarded 2017)

    Student name:
    Other supervisor: Prof Stuart Macdonald
    Other supervisor: Prof Helen Quane