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Dr Elizabeth O'Loughlin

Associate Professor in Public Law and Human Rights

Associate Professor in Public Law and Human Rights in the Durham Law School+44 (0) 191 33 42834
Co-Director of the Human Rights and Public Law Centre in the Durham Law School


Dr Elizabeth O’Loughlin joined Durham Law School as an Assistant Professor in Public Law and Human Rights in 2019. She has previously worked at City University, the University of Sheffield, and the University of Leeds. She has held visiting positions at Melbourne Law School, where she was a Kathleen Fitzpatrick Visiting Fellow in Comparative Constitutional Law, and at the Kenya Section of the International Commission of Jurists in Nairobi. She holds a PhD from the University of Manchester, where she worked on a European Research Council-funded study entitled ‘A Sociology of the Transnational Constitution’. She also holds an LLM (by research) from the European University Institute and an LLB from the University of Leeds. During her time at Manchester, she was founding director of the Manchester International Law Centre’s Women in International Law Network.

At Durham, Elizabeth teaches on public law and human rights modules across the undergraduate and postgraduate taught programmes. She served as co-director of the Human Rights Centre between 2019-2021 and was Director of Undergraduate Admissions in 2020-2021. She is co-convenor of the Public Law Section of the Society of Legal Scholars. 

Elizabeth is a public lawyer who researches in the fields of comparative constitutional law and English administrative law (in which she is developing an independently funded profile). Her comparative work has focussed upon constitutional reform in Kenya. Her administrative law work employs empirical approaches to the understanding of judicial reivew. She actively engages in the judicial reform landscape in the UK, and is commonly called upon for her expertise in empirical approaches to administrative law, having been invited to deliver training on designing legal content analysis studies to the Research Team of the Public Law Project, and to sit as an academic member of their seminars on evidence in judicial review reform. In 2021, in her role as co-director of the Durham Human Rights Centre she co-hosted a public event with the Independent Human Rights Act Review Panel.

Elizabeth is presently working on two research projects. First, she is expanding her doctoral research on constitutional reform in Kenya, with a particular focus upon the role of constitutional adjudication in responding to the long shadow cast by colonialism in the new constitutional order. Second, she is presently Principal Investigator on a Nuffield Foundation-funded project entitled Transparency and Judicial Review: An empirical Study of the Duty of Candour . This multi-method project will provide key insights into how the duty of candour operates in practice, generating a robust evidence base to inform practice and policy development. As part of the project, she is managing two Postgraduate Research Associates to deliver a systematic content analysis empirical study of the duty of candour in judicial review decisions.

She welcomes approaches for supervision from prospective doctoral candidates in any of her research interests.


Research interests

  • Comparative Constitutional Law
  • Empirical approaches to public law
  • The relationship between International law and Constitutional Law
  • UK Administrative Law

Esteem Indicators

  • 2000: Co-convenor, Society of Legal Scholars Public Law Section:
  • 2000: DLS Staff Award for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion:
  • 2000: Melbourne Law School Kathleen Fitzpatrick Visiting Fellowship: Funded by the Australian Research Council, and awarded to outstanding female doctoral and female early career researchers.


Book review

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Edited book

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Supervision students