Professor Rory O'Connell

Professor of Human Rights & Constitutional Law

School of Law

Belfast campus

Room BC-07-218,
2-24 York Street,
BT15 1AP,

Transitional Justice Institute

Professor of Human Rights & Constitutional Law

Professor Rory O'Connell


Rory O'Connell joined the Transitional Justice Institute (TJI) and School of Law in 2013 as Professor of Human Rights and Constitutional Law. He is the Director of Development & Partnerships – School of Law (appointed 1 September 2023). He held the role of TJI Director from February 2014 to February 2020, and Research Director for Law from July 2017 to September 2023.

Rory's research and teaching interests are in the areas of Human Rights and Equality, Constitutional Law and Legal Theory. He has published in the International Journal of Constitutional Law, European Law Journal, Legal Studies, European Human Rights Law Review and other journals. His books include Applying an International  Human Rights Framework to State Budget Allocations (Routledge), Human Rights and Public Finance (Hart), Legal Theory in the Crucible of Constitutional Justice (Ashgate). His latest book Europe, Law and Democracy (Cambridge) will be published in 2020.

He was a member of the project team on the ESRC project ‘Brexit and Northern Ireland: The Constitutional, Conflict Transformation, Human Rights and Equality Consequences’ #BrexitLawNI. He is also a member of the SAFEWATER project funded by the ESPRC and a member of the GCRF Research Hub on Gender, Justice and Security.

Rory is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, and teaches at both undergraduate and postgraduate level.

Rory studied at Tarbert Comprehensive School 1983-1988  and then studied law at University College Dublin (UCD), thanks to a scholarship. During his degree, he spent a year as an ERASMUS student at the Université de Rouen. In 1992, he graduated with a Bachelor of Civil Law (European Legal Studies) degree (First Class, Joint First Place) and received a UCD Open Postgraduate scholarship. He proceeded to write an LL.M. by thesis on The Irish Courts and Equality Before the Law, graduating in 1994, with First Class honours. He moved to the European University Institute (EUI), Florence to undertake a PhD on the theory of constitutional interpretation and graduated from the EUI in 1997, with Distinction. Rory's first lecturing post was in Comparative Law at Lancaster University Law School. From 2001 to 2013 he was a member of the Human Rights Centre, School of Law at Queen's University of Belfast.

Rory is on the Executive of the Committee on the Administration of Justice and is the former editor of the RightsNI Blog.  He has been actively involved in promoting international mobility in education: he served as one of the members of the UK team of Bologna Experts and was Director of the European Union Funded Intensive Programme (IP) on ‘The Borders of Europe’ 2009-2011.

Rory tweets @rjjoconnell and has a website at

Research Opportunities

Research Opportunities with Professor Rory O'Connell
Title Closing Date
Law Research Programmes N/A