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Dr Jane Rooney

Associate Professor in International Law

Associate Professor in International Law in the Durham Law School


I joined Durham Law School in September 2020. Prior to joining Durham, I was a Lecturer in Law at Bristol University (2016-2020). 



I am writing a book entitled, Feminist Revolt and the Constitution: Abortion Activism on the Island of Ireland. This project uses narrative interviews on peoples' experiences in reform of abortion law in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland to critically evaluate whether constitutions and constitutionalism can accommodate feminist demands. This book contributes to contemporary thinking on feminist constitutionalism. It critically engages with acts of revolt to argue for the existence of a feminist constituent power. The book argues that acts of feminist revolt include (i) Changing Subjectivities (ii) Diffusing, Ignoring, and Laughing at aggression (iii) Breaking the Law and Performing the Law. Further, feminist methodologies for a feminist constitutionalism are identified: acknowledging plural subjectivities in constituent power; pragmatism; and reckoning with the emotional and physical toll of a feminist constitutionalism. The book contains original data collected in the course of a British Academy funded research project: 'Bridging the Local and Global: Women’s Collectives and the ‘Spaces of Action/Reflection’'.


 Jane was co-author (with Dr Sheelagh McGuinness) of an impact case study submitted by Bristol University Law School to REF2021, which ranked 3rd in legal research in the UK, entitled: ‘Reforming Maternal Healthcare and the Decriminalisation of Abortion in Northern Ireland’.


Jane was Primary Investigator in the Society of Legal Scholars funded project: International Human Rights Law and Devolution in the UK. A special issue was published in the Northern Ireland Legal Quarterly which can be found here. The online webinars from the project can be found here. The project brings together scholars from across the devolved nations to consider the division of competence and responsibility for interpreting and ensuring the implementation of international human rights obligations. 


I am co-investigator on the project, The Extractive Industry and Foreign Security Network (with Dr Lee McConnell, Bristol University). Our project partner is NGO, Rights and Accountability in Development. We investigate the interactions between multinational corporations (MNCs) engaged in the extraction of natural resources and security forces. It explores the causes and effects of violence between security forces the act in the interests of MNCs local communities in resource-rich territories. We examine relevant legal and policy frameworks and aim to propose reforms aimed at remedying past harms and strengthening the observance of human rights. Please see our website for further information and research briefs.


She was awarded Hauser Global Research Fellow at the Centre for Human Rights and Global Justice, New York University 2020 and is an Associate of the Oxford Human Rights Hub. She was book review editor of the European Human Rights Law Review (2017-2022). She is an Academic Fellow of the Durham Energy Institute, Member of Public Interests in Private Relationships Network, Member of the Society of Legal Scholars and Member of The International Society of Public Law (ICON-S).


She is External Examiner at Edinburgh University and Deputy Chief Examiner at University of London.

Research groups
  • Law and Global Justice at Durham
  • Gender and Law at Durham
  • Human Rights Centre
Research Interests
  • Transnational Corporate Liability
  • Extraterritorial Application of Human Rights
  • Feminist constitutionalism
  • Devolution in the UK and International Law
Selected Grants

2022, £43236.80, CI, Arts andHumanities Research Council Networking Fund, the Extractive Industry and Foreign Security Network

2021, £27,188.00, CI, Equality Commission of Northern Ireland, EU developments in Equality and Human Rights: Impact of Brexit on the divergence of rights and best practice on the island of Ireland

2021, £9343.00, PI, British Academy Virtual Sandpit Follow-On Funding, Primary Investigator, Bridging the Local and Global: Women’s Collectives and the ‘Spaces of Action/Reflection

2019, £3000.00, PI, Society of Legal Scholars Small Projects and Events fund, ‘Devolution in the UK and International Law’ workshop

2019, £1000.00, PI, Internationalisation Strategic Fund, Bristol University, Hauser Global Research Fellow, Center for Human Rights and Global Justice

2019, £500.00, CI, Bristol University Strategic Research Fund, Partnership Launch: ‘Memorandum of Understanding between Bristol University and UN Population Fund Agency (UNFPA)

2018, £3000, CI, FSSL Gender Research Group, FSSL Health, Science and Technology Research Group, the Law School Strategic Research Fund, University of Bristol FSSL Strategic Research Fund, 'Global Challenges in Securing Reproductive Rights and the Empowerment of Women and Girls'

2012-2015: £36,000, Durham Law School PGR Scholarship.

Teaching and Administration

Jane teaches International Human Rights Law, Public International Law, EU Constitutional Law, International Criminal Law, and Public Law. She is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. She has lectured internationally including at the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice, NYU, and Hebron University, Palestine. Previously she was a mentor at the Human Rights Implementation Centre, Bristol Law School facilitating student participation in writing reports for international human rights organisations.

Jane welcomes PhD applications in public international law and international human rights law.

Jane has been Quality Coordinator and Faculty Liaison at Bristol University and Deputy Director of Admissions at Durham, leading on widening participation initiatives.


Authored book

Book review

Chapter in book

Journal Article

Other (Digital/Visual Media)


Supervision students