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Kirsten Roberts Lyer

Associate Professor, Central European University

Kirsten Roberts Lyer is a specialist in international human rights law and policy. Kirsten is an Associate Professor at the Department of Public Policy, where she teaches courses on the Rule of Law and Human Rights.

Kirsten is a recognised expert on National Human Rights Institutions and co-authored a leading publication on NHRIs published with Oxford University Press (2021).

Kirsten's research research examines how to protect and strengthen independent state-level institutions that are vital to the promotion and protection of human rights worldwide. Her recent publications and policy contributions have focussed on the creation and development of effective NHRIs, parliamentary engagement with human rights, and academic freedon (university autonomy). In 2022, she co-authored University Autonomy Decline: Causes, Responses, and Implications for Academic Freedom, Routledge (2022).

In addition to her research, her expertise is sought by international organisations such as the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), International IDEA and the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights, on the establishment and strengthening of National Human Rights Institutions and Ombudspersons, as well as on parliamentary engagement with human rights. She has been an independent expert on fundamental rights for the European Commission and sat on the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs' Non-Governmental Standing Committee on Human Rights. She was also an advisor on human rights policy to a member of the Irish houses of parliament.

Kirsten has extensive experience as a policy expert and international lawyer for over 16 years before joining the Department of Public Policy in 2016. This included as a Director at the Irish Human Rights Commission, Ireland's NHRI, and as a legal officer in Trial Chamber I of the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. She has also worked in Ireland's diplomatic mission to the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, at the European Court of Human Rights, European Court of Justice and for Amnesty International.

Kirsten obtained her PhD in human rights at The Dickson Poon School of Law, King's College London, where she was a Dickson Poon Scholar and established the Project on Effective Parliamentary Oversight of Human Rights with Dr. Philippa Webb. She has an M.Litt. in International Criminal Law from Trinity College Dublin, and a Bachelor's in Law from University College Dublin. For the 2012-2013 academic year, Kirsten was a Visiting Researcher at Harvard Law School.


  • 2016–present
    Associate Professor of Practice, Central European University


  • 2016 
    King's College London, PhD
  • 2002 
    Trinity College Dublin, M.Litt