Tom Hadden joined what was then the Faculty of Law in 1969, having obtained a Candidature en Philosophie et Lettres at the Université Libre de Bruxelles, degrees in Moral Sciences and Law at the University of Cambridge and a PhD at the Cambridge Institute of Criminology. In the 1970s he initially taught company law and welfare law and worked with his long-time colleague Kevin Boyle on monitoring the implementation of emergency law and associated abuses by the security forces. In the 1980s along with Kevin Boyle he switched his focus to potential political solutions to the Northern Ireland problem, publishing influential reports to the New Ireland Forum in 1984 and a Penguin Special entitled Ireland: a Positive Proposal in 1985. From 1985 to 1990 he served on the Standing Advisory Commission on Human Rights and then from 1999 to 2005 on the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission working on the proposed Bill of Rights for Northern Ireland. In the 2000s he worked with the UN Working Group on Minorities on the balance between separate provision for minority communities and the need to foster integration in sectors like policing, employment and housing. After formal retirement in 2005 he took up a visiting professorship at the Transitional Justice Institute at the University of Ulster where he worked with Louise Mallinder and others on the production of the Belfast Guidelines on Amnesty and Accountability in 2013. In 2015 he was appointed to an Honorary Professorship at the University of Kent and has recently worked on consultancies for the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights on freedom of movement for persons fleeing from conflict. He continues to teach on a voluntary basis on the Human Rights Masters Programme, which he helped to initiate in 1990, currently for the course on Counter-terrorism and Human Rights.
His most significant publications have been: Company Law and Capitalism (Law in Context series, 1972 & 1976); Ten Years on in Northern Ireland: the legal approach to political violence (with Kevin Boyle and Paddy Hillyard)(1982); Ireland: a Positive Proposal (with Kevin Boyle)(Penguin 1985), Northern Ireland Housing Law (with David Trimble)(SLS 1985); A Responsibility to Assist: Human Rights Policy and Practice in European Union Crisis Management Operations (a COST report edited with others, Hart 2009); Fighting Corporate Abuse: beyond predatory capitalism (edited with others)(Pluto 2014); and more recently chapters on ‘Human Rights in an Age of Mass Migration’ (2017); ‘Amnesties and Transitional Justice’ in the Research Handbook on Transitional Justice (Edward Elgar 2017); and ‘Armed Groups and Emergent States: filling the gaps in international law’ in the 2019 Hague Yearbook of International Law (2022).