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Professor, Lancaster Law School, Lancaster University

Prof. James A. Sweeney's research is about the after-effects of conflict: principally human rights in transitional democracies, and the rights of refugees. His monograph, 'The European Court of Human Rights in the post-Cold War Era: Universality in Transition' was published in hardback by Routledge in November 2012, and in paperback in 2014. His work on the human rights of failed asylum seekers was cited by the House of Lords in the case of R (on the application of M) v Slough BC [2008] UKHL 52, by the Court of Appeal in R. (on the application of SL) v Westminster City Council [2011] EWCA Civ 954, and most recently in R. (on the application of Refugee Action) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2014] EWHC 1033 (Admin). In the latter case Home Secretary Theresa May was found to have acted irrationally by freezing the level of cash support to be provided to asylum seekers to meet their essential living needs, for the financial year 2013/14, at the rates which had applied since 2011.

Prof. Sweeney regularly provides advice to international human rights and similar organisations, most recently UN Women in Kosovo, in summer 2018. He has acted as an expert advisor to the Council of Europe in relation to freedom of assembly projects in Armenia, Azerbaijan (with the Venice Commission), Georgia, and Kosovo. In March 2011 he delivered human rights legal training to judges of the Ukrainian Supreme Court as part of a UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office project. Likewise in 2013 and 2014 he convened a series of workshops on human rights and judicial interpretation for the Constitutional and Supreme Courts of Kosovo, on behalf of the FCO. Throughout 2009 he acted as an expert advisor to the EU's Committee of the Regions as it prepared its Opinion on reforms to the Common European Asylum System.

Prof. Sweeney joined Lancaster University Law School in 2013. Prior to that, he has worked at Durham, Newcastle and Hull. From 2011-2013 he was Deputy Director of Durham Global Security Institute.


  • –present
    Professor, Lancaster Law School, Lancaster University