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Dr Irene Wieczorek

Associate Professor in EU Law

Associate Professor in EU Law in the Durham Law School


Irene is an Associate Professor in European Union Law at Durham Law School, having joined in October 2019 as Assistant Professor. She is also affiliated to the Durham European Law Institute, having previously served as co-Director (2019-2021) and to the Global Policy Institute. During her time at Durham Irene has been Co-Director of Equality Diversity and Inclusion, and decolonisation contact point for Durham Law School. In this framework she has received funding from the Faculty of Health and Social Science to carry out a research project, with the support of students intern on "EU Law, Decolonisation and Brexit". From September 2023 until August 2025, she will be working as a PI on an AHRC funded project titled "Brexit's impact on transfers of prisoners: A shift in balance between criminal policy objectives and individuals' rights?"

Irene is a fellow of the Royal Society for Arts and Science, a member of the European Criminal Law Academic Network, and an Associated, and Managing Editor to the New Journal of European Criminal Law, one of the leading publications in this field.

Prior to coming to Durham, she was a post-doctoral research associate at the University of Cambridge, and at the Université Libre de Bruxelles, sponsored by the Wiener Anspach Foundation (2016-2019). In 2014 she was the recipient of the European University Institute - Academy of European Law Diploma

Irene holds a PhD from the Université Libre de Bruxelles and the Vrije Universiteit Brussels, a M.A. in European Interdisciplinary Studies from the College of Europe (PO), a LLM from the University of Trento (IT), and from the University of Maastricht (NL), and an LLB from the University of Trento (IT) and from the Université Paris 13 (FR).

She has been a visiting scholar at the Max Plank Institute for the Study of Crime Security and Law (DE), and at the European University Institute (IT), and invited guest lecturer at the LUISS University Guido Carli (Rome), the Waseda University (Tokyo), the Fondaçao Getulio Vargas (Rio de Janeiro), the Institute for European Studies - Université Libre de Bruxelles (Brussels). 

Irene welcomes approaches for supervision from prospective doctoral students in her areas of expertise, and in particular any aspect of EU Criminal Law.

Grants awarded
  • In 2021 Irene received an AHRC a Research Engagement and Development Fellowship for a project titled "Brexit's impact on transfers of prisoners: A shift in balance between criminal policy objectives and individuals' rights?" (£ 190.000)
  • In 2018 Irene received the the Flemish National Council (FWO) three-year Post-Doctoral Scholarship, which she declined to take up her post at Durham Law School.

Irene is an EU law scholar with a focus on the field of European Criminal law, and transnational cooperation in the fight against crime more in general. She is particularly interested in the legitimacy and constitutional dimension of such cooperation which she explored with respect to dimensions of the EU Area of criminal justice. A first stream of her research is theoretical analysis, from an EU constitutional law and a criminal legal theory perspective, of EU legal harmonisation processes in criminal matters. This work includes her early publications on subsidiarity with Hart and in the German Law Journal, her monograph, “The Legitimacy of EU Criminal Law (Hart 2020)”, which was recently quoted by Advocate General Priit Pikamäe, as well as her recent publication in the European Journal of criminal policy and research. The second stream is an investigation of the constitutional framework and the empirical realities of transnational judicial cooperation, especially transfer of prisoners. This includes her work carried out in Cambridge and published in the Maastricht Journal of European and Comparative law, and will be further explored in her AHRC grant. The last stream focuses on the protection of EU values in the external dimension of EU cooperation in criminal matters. This includes her work on EU-Japan cooperation with the New Journal of European Criminal Law, the European Law Review and Routledge. Finally, Irene has recently developed an interest in comparative legal education which has been explored in her forthcoming publications on EU Law teaching outside Europe and decolonisation.

Research interests

  • Comparative Criminal Law
  • Comparative legal education
  • Decolonising Legal Education
  • EU Constitutional Law
  • EU Criminal Law
  • Transnational criminal law


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