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Dr Benedict Douglas

Assistant Professor in Law

AffiliationRoom numberTelephone
Assistant Professor in Law in the Durham Law SchoolPCL135 
Assistant Professor in Law in Durham CELLS (Centre for Ethics and Law in the Life Sciences)  


Benedict Douglas attempts to work out what it means to be human and what this means for the place of human rights within the UK Constitution. When not reading or writing, this often looks suspiciously like he is gazing absentmindedly into space.

He completed a PhD at Durham, unfortunately putting the thesis synopsis into the title box on the form. Before this, as a result of excellent and patient teaching, he had gained a First Class Law Degree from the University of Hull, after which he spent a fascinating year at University College London obtaining an LLM in Human Rights Law.

His first academic article highlighted the absence of human dignity in UK human rights law, and explained the origin and effect of this oversight in the context of the initial hostility to the Human Rights Act. After Dr Tom Hannant pointed out there was more work to do, Benedict published a subsequent article analysing the moral basis of the UK Constitution and its relation to the widely accepted foundation of human rights in individual freedom. This article revealed that the Constitution’s conception of people as duty bearers explained the domestic political duty-based anti-Human Rights Act rhetoric, and some judicial interpretations of human rights.

After Dr Henry Jones described him as the department hippy, and realising we define ourselves by our relationships as well as our choices, Benedict wrote an article looking at the relationship between love, the law and human rights.

He is currently using phenomenology to critique the UK Constitution against our nature as human beings.

He currently supervises two PhD students:

- Felix Boon who is writing a cutting edge PhD on causation liability for automated vehicles.
- Joy Twolome who is writing a fascinating PhD on the phenomenology of human rights.

He is welcomes PhD proposals related to his current or past research, or the use of phenomenology to analyse any area of law.

Benedict also enjoys water sports, adventure and writing in the third person.

Reseach Groups

The Center for Ethics and Law in the Life Sceinces
The Human Rights and Public Law Centre

Teaching Areas

Introduction to English Law and Legal Methods
UK Constitutional Law
Tort Law

Research interests

  • Domestic and Comparative Constitutional Law
  • Human Rights Law
  • Phenomenology
  • Jurisprudence

Research groups

  • Centre for Ethics and Law in the Life Sciences
  • Durham Centre for Law and Philosophy
  • Durham Centre for Law and Philosophy
  • Human Rights Centre


Chapter in book

  • Allen, Tom & Douglas, Benedict. (2011). Property Restitution. In Transitional Jurisprudence and the ECHR: Justice, Politics and Rights. Buyse, Antoine & Hamilton, Michael. Cambridge University Press.

Journal Article


  • Cross, K., Dean, L., Douglas, B., Price, B., Slocombe, K. & Seed, A. (2016). Chimp of Trial (Witness for the Defence). Cheltenham Science Festival, Cheltenham.
  • Cross, C, Dean, L, Douglas, B & Price, B (2015). Chimp of Trial (Witness for the Defence). Durham.
  • Douglas, Benedict (2011). The Human in Human Rights, with Reference to Dwarf Tossing and Alligator Wrestling. Newcastle, England.


  • Douglas, Benedict (2022), A Human Constitution, Law Research Seminar. Hull, England.
  • Douglas, Benedict (2022), Human Foundations of Constitutional Architecture, The Constitutional Architecture of these Islands. International Society of Public Law Great Britain and Ireland Chapter, Online.
  • Douglas, Benedict (2020), Love as a Human Rights in Medical Treatment, Feminist Ethics of Care and the Doctor-Woman medical encounter: What Love has to do with it?. Rome.
  • Douglas, Benedict (2019), What's love got to do with it?, Irish Association of Law Teachers. Limerick, Ireland.
  • Douglas, Benedict (2019), What's love got to do with it?, Society of Legal Scholars. University of Central Lancashire, England.
  • Douglas, Benedict (2018), “I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that.” The importance of AI being able to say no, Regulating Intelligence: The Challenge of Consciousness in New Forms of Life. Newcastle, England.
  • Douglas, Benedict (2018), "He loved Big Brother" But What of the State's Love for the Citizen?, Constitutionalism, Scale and Tyranny. Durham, England.
  • Douglas, Benedict (2016), The Implications of the Nature of Being for Human Rights Protection, Intersubjectivity and Values. Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Lisbon, Portugal.
  • Douglas, Benedict & Kind, Vanessa (2016), Modifying the Trolley Problem to Develop Understanding of Ethics, Society of Legal Scholars. Oxford, England.
  • Douglas, Benedict (2016), The Phenomenology of Dignity - Why Dignity Discourse Alone Cannot Fix the UK's Human Rights Hostility, The Future of Human Dignity. Utrecht, Holland.
  • Douglas, Benedict (2016), Safe Spaces of Inclusion and Exclusion and the Law, St Chad’s College Perspectives Programme. Durham, England.
  • Douglas, Benedict (2015), Human Rights and Philosophical Underpinning of the Autonomy/Paternalism Debate, Young People with Mental Disorder - Is the Law Fit for Purpose?.
  • Douglas, Benedict (2014), Commentary on: Dr. Ilke Turkmendag, “It is just a battery: m(DNA) replacement and the right to know.”, New Technologies, Developments in the Biosciences and the New Frontiers of Human Rights. Durham, England, Durham.
  • Douglas, Benedict (2014), Let’s Get Metaphysical: Interpreting Article 8 using Sartre and Gewirth, Society of Legal Scholars. Nottingham, England, Nottingham.
  • Douglas, Benedict (2014), Why We Have & Need Human Rights, School Discussion. Ackworth, England.
  • Douglas, Benedict (2013), Lets Get Metaphysical: Article 8, Alan Gewirth and Jean-Paul Sartre, Staff Seminar. Durham, England.
  • Douglas, Benedict (2013), A Metaphysical Understanding of the Variable Extent of Privacy Protection under the European Convention on Human Rights, Fifth Northumbria Information Rights Conference. Newcastle, England, Newcastle upon Tyne.
  • Douglas, Benedict (2012), Killer Whales: A Question of Humanitee, Postgraduate Conference on Biosciences. Durham, England, Durham.
  • Douglas, Benedict (2012), The Songs of Angry Men: Why the Human Rights Act has not been Accepted, Borderlands Interdisciplinary Discussion Series. Durham, England.
  • Douglas, Benedict (2012), School Workshop on Human Rights, Washington, England.
  • Douglas, Benedict (2012), The English Legal System, Workshop on the English Legal System, Case Management and Human Rights for the Thai Judiciary. Durham, England.
  • Douglas, Benedict (2011), Was the Killing of Bin Laden Justified?, College Forum Durham, England.
  • Douglas, Benedict (2010), The Clothes We Stand Up In: Identity, Clothing and Streaking, Interdisciplinary Forum on Clothing. Durham, England.
  • Douglas, Benedict (2010), Nobody Tosses a Dwarf: The Interpretation of Human Rights, Ustinov Seminar Series. Durham, England.
  • Douglas, Benedict (2010), Humpty Dumpty and Convention Rights, Human Rights Centre Post-graduate Workshop. Durham, England, Durham.

Supervision students