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Ms Aikaterini Koula

Part-Time Tutor


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Part-Time Tutor in the Durham Law School  



Aikaterini is a Doctoral Researcher at Durham Law School. She commenced her PhD studies at Durham in October 2016. Aikaterini studied Law at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece and holds two LLM degrees; one in International Law from the University of Bristol and a second one in International and European Energy Law from Democritus University of Trace, Greece. As an LLM student at the University of Bristol, she was a member of the Human Rights Law Clinic and provided pro-bono legal research assistance to organisations working on human rights legal issues. She is a Fellow of Higher Education Academy and qualified lawyer and member of the Serres Bar Association. ... see more

Current Research

Under the primary supervision of Dr Anashri Pillay, along with Professor Aoife O’Donoghue, she is conducting research on the status of Human Rights Defenders at the international level and the obstacles to the work and life of HRDs. Aikaterini’s research focuses on three main sectors: The first part is devoted to the definition of human rights defenders: she critiques the UN definition of ‘human rights defenders’ and introduces her approach, which provides a better understanding of who is a defender. Another sector she deals with is the ways in which the defenders’ rights are violated. That part focuses on the distinction between violations through legislative measures and through extra legal actions. The last part discusses the intersection between the international refugee regime and human rights defenders and especially the extent to which the refugee regime overlaps defenders and how the former deals with refugees who are also human rights defenders.

Research interests

  • International Human Rights Law
  • Social Rights
  • Migration and Refugee Law


Conference Paper

  • Koula, Aikaterini-Christina (2018), Violations of Defenders' Rights through Criminalisation, 2018 ACUNS Annual Meeting. Rome, Italy.

Journal Article

  • Koula, Aikaterini Christina (2001). The UN Definition of Human Rights Defenders: Alternative Interpretative Approaches. Queen Mary Human Rights Law Review 5(1): 1, 20.


  • (2017). Early Career Researcher Symposium Human Rights Defender Hub, Centre for Applied Human Rights, University of York. York, England.


  • Koula, Aikaterini Christina (Accepted), The Definition of the term 'Human Rights Defenders: Alternative Interpretative Approaches, 2019 Annual Meeting of Law and Society Association. Washington DC, USA.
  • Koula, Aikaterini - Christina (2018), Misapplication of Legislation as a Means of Targeting Human Rights Defenders, 2018 Annual Meeting Law and Society Association. Toronto, Canada.
  • Koula, Aikaterini Christina (2017), The definition of Human Rights Defenders, UCL Post Graduate and Early Careers Conference. London, England.
  • Koula, Aikaterini- Christina (2017), Who is a Human Rights Defender? Critique of the UN definition, Durham Annual PGR Law Conference 'Defending Individual Rights'. Durham, England.


  • Chan,Liying, Koula, Aikaterini Christina & Orchard, Maria (2014). Report on Torture and Discrimination. Univeristy of Bristol, Human Rights Law Clinic.