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Associate Professor in the Durham Law SchoolPCL140+44 (0) 191 33 46864


Dr Catherine Turner is an Associate Professor of International Law and Deputy Director of the Durham Global Security Institute. Her work sits at the intersection of international law and global policy in the field of international peace and security. She has a particular interest in peace mediation as a tool for the prevention, management and resolution of armed conflict. She has published extensively in the fields of peace mediation and transitional justice, focusing on promoting more inclusive approaches to peace and justice in her home Northern Ireland and internationally.

From 2022-2024 Catherine will be a Leverhulme Trust Fellow, researching on the concept of peace mediation. 

Catherine has consulted widely on inclusive leadership and increasing participation in peace processes for international organisations, governments and charities, including UN Women, the International Peace Institute, the Mediterranean Women’s Mediator Network, Beyond Borders Scotland, and Conciliation Resources. She has extensive experience as a practitioner, trainer and facilitator in mediation and good relations both in Northern Ireland and internationally. She has designed and delivered bespoke training in women’s leadership in peace mediation, as well as training and facilitation in transitional justice and peace mediation for women from conflict affected states across the world.

Catherine holds an LLB from Trinity College Dublin, an LLM in Public International Law from the London School of Economics, and a Phd in Law from Queen’s University Belfast. She is currently a trustee and Co-Chair of the Board of Belfast based NGO Mediation Northern Ireland. She is also a member of the Board of the Brussels based MediatEUr (The European Platform for International Mediation and Dialogue).

Research Interests

 Catherine's research focuses on the role of international law and conflict, specialising in how the law regulates matters of war and peace, including international humanitarian law, peace mediation, and transitional justice. Her work is inherently interdisciplinary, focusing on the thematic area of peace and security and the ways in which the law interacts with other discplines. In Michaelmas Term 2019 Catherine led an Institute of Advanced Study Major Project Fellowship on Mediation for the 21st Century: Connecting the Local and the Global. This project focused on understanding conflict, and mediation, from the perspective of those who are affected by it, asking how mediation may need to adapt to accommodate the realities of 21st Century conflict.

Catherine has particular interest and expertise in women's participation in mediation, and through her research she has articulated specific gaps in the mediation literature that make women institutionally invisible. This work has helped to reframe the contrbution of women and women's leadership to the field of peace and security, as well as interrogating the inherently exclusionary nature of traditional mediation practice. As such her work is was at the forefront of thinking that connects WPS with mediation theory rather than simply peace process literature.

.She is a member of the editorial board of Global Policy

Research Supervision

Catherine welcomes proposals from prospective MJur and PhD students in the fields of international law and conflict, broadly defined. This can include but is not limited to projects in the fields of transitional justice, mediation, peace negotiations and women, peace and security.

Research interests

  • Transitional Justice
  • Public International Law
  • Women Peace and Security
  • Post Conflict Reconstruction
  • Peace Mediation
  • Critical Legal Theory

Research groups

  • Gender & Law at Durham
  • Human Rights Centre
  • Law and Global Justice at Durham

Awarded Grants

  • 2019: Women in Mediation: Beyond the Rhetoric of Inclusion(£13920.00 from Foreign and Commonwealth Office)
  • 2014: Law and Negotiation in Conflict: Theory, Policy and Practice(£5000.00 from Modern Law Review)
  • -0001: Advancing Women in High-Level Mediation(£0.00 from ESRC Centre for Social and Economic Research on Innovation in Genomics (INNOGEN))

Esteem Indicators

  • 0000: Northern Ireland Consultative Group on Women, Peace and Security.: Irish Secretariat, Belfast.

Media Contacts

Available for media contact about:

  • International Law: Law and conflict
  • Human rights: Northern Ireland politics
  • Regional politics: Northern Ireland politics


Authored book

Chapter in book

Edited book

  • Turner,C & Waehlisch, M (2021). Rethinking Peace Mediation: Challenges of Contemporary Peacemaking Practice. Bristol University Press.

Journal Article


  • Turner, C. (2013), The Importance of Theory as a Tool of Transitional Justice Research, International Studies Association. San Francisco, California, San Francisco CA.
  • Turner, C. (2012), Public Space or Gated Community? Accessing the Garden of Transitional Justice, Critical Legal Conference - 'Gardens of Justice'. Stockholm, Stockholm.
  • Turner, C (2012), Politics as Transitional Justice, Political Studies Association. Belfast, Belfast.
  • Turner, C. (2012), Constituting a Nation: The Critical Concept of Democracy in Transition, Minerva Jerusalem Conference on Transitional Justice. Jerusalem, Jerusalem.


  • Poutanen, Johanna & Turner, Catherine (2021). Overcoming Essentialisation: Understanding and Supporting Women's Diverse Roles in Peace Processes. CMI- Martti Ahtisaari Peace Foundation.
  • Turner, Catherine & Swaine, Aisling (2021). At the Nexus of Participation and Protection: Protection Related Barriers to Women's Participation in Northern Ireland. International Peace Institute.
  • Turner, Catherine & Bell, Christine (2021). Increasing the Representation of Women Peace Mediators: Collaborative Leadership Models for Ensuring Equality. UN Women.
  • Bell, Christine & Turner, Catherine (2021). Models for Women's Inclusion in Track One Mediation, Peace and Transition Processes. UN Women.

Supervision students