Professor Katie Boyle

Chair of International Human Rights Law

Law Stirling

Professor Katie Boyle

Share a link

About me

About me

Professor Katie Boyle is a qualified constitutional and human rights lawyer and Chair of International Human Rights Law at the University of Stirling. She has published extensively on economic and social rights law and served as Expert Advisor to NGOs, governments, parliaments and the United Nations. She is co-Director of the MSc in Human Rights and Diplomacy. This is the only Human Rights and Diplomacy programme in the world taught in partnership with the leading training body of the United Nations: the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR)

Professor Boyle's research address violations of economic, social and cultural rights. ESC rights relate to issues such as housing, health care, education, employment and social security. Her recent monograph, "Economic and Social Rights Law: Incorporation, Justiciability and Principles of Adjudication" (2020), features as part of the International Association of Constitutional Law Emerging Scholarship Series, (available at https://bit.ly/2Nf32zw ).

Professor Boyle has led a number of funded projects with the Economic and Social Research Council, the Scottish Human Rights Commission, and the Nuffield Foundation. She is currently Principal Investigator of a UK wide project funded by the Nuffield Foundation (£338,000.00) to examine the accountability gap in access to justice for social rights in each of the UK's jurisdictions.

Professor Boyle was appointed as an expert on the First Minister’s Advisory Group on Human Rights Leadership in 2018. The group's remit was to consider how Scotland can be an international leader in human rights and its recommendations are being implemented by a National Task Force. Professor Boyle now advises the National Task Force as a member of the Academic Advisory Panel. Other recent expert appointments include Scotland's UNCRC Incorporation Advisory Group and working with the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Adequate Housing on access to justice issues. Professor Boyle's research was cited by the United Nations here: https://undocs.org/A/HRC/40/61

Professor Boyle has worked nationally and internationally on ESC rights during periods of constitutional transition including work funded by the British Academy in Colombia and Brazil. Her research is now being translated into Spanish as part of the Chilean constitutional referendum process. Professor Boyle has been appointed as National Reporter to the International Congress of Comparative Law in Paraguay (2022) by the British Association of Comparative Law. Her work has featured in reporting procedures to the UN and she has worked with national human rights institutions, including most recently with the Scottish Human Rights Commission on a project exploring the incorporation of international human rights law in Scotland (see here: https://www.scottishhumanrights.com/media/1809/models_of_incorporation_escr_vfinal_nov18.pdf ).

Prior to joining Stirling Professor Boyle qualified as a constitutional lawyer with the Government Legal Service for Scotland before completing a PhD at the University of Limerick, Ireland. Previous appointments include ESRC Research Fellow, Centre for Constitutional Change at the University of Edinburgh and Senior Lecturer in Law at the University of Roehampton, London.

Award

Research Funding Award, Economic and Social Research Council
Collaborative PhD Award with Scottish Human Rights Commission and University of Glasgow, 2019-2022 £50,000

Research Funding Award, Economic and Social Research Council
Economic and Social Research Council
Human Rights in Transition, UK in a Changing Europe, 2016, £10,000

Research Funding Award, Is Britain Fair? The state of equality and human rights
Equality and Human Rights Commission
https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/…inReport_acc.pdf
2015, £135,000

Research Funding Award, Nuffield Foundation, Access to Justice for Social Rights: Addressing the Accountability Gap
The Nuffield Foundation
https://www.nuffieldfoundation.org/…countability-gap
2019-2022, £338,000

Research Funding Award, Scottish Human Rights Commission
https://www.scottishhumanrights.com/…vfinal_nov18.pdf
Models of Incorporation and Justiciability for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, 2018, £14000

Visiting Fellow, Essex Human Rights Centre
University of Essex
Human Rights Centre

Visiting Fellow, Mansfield College, University of Oxford
University of Oxford

Visiting Research Fellow, Irish Centre for Human Rights, National University Ireland Galway
National University of Ireland - Galway
https://www.nuigalway.ie/irish-centre-human-rights/

Appointment to Academic Advisory Panel to the National Task Force on Human Rights Leadership
Scottish Government
https://www.gov.scot/…ry-panel-papers/

Appointment to First Minister's Advisory Group on Human Rights Leadership
Scottish Government
https://humanrightsleadership.scot/
Appointed to advise the First Minister on incorporation models for economic, social and cultural rights.

Appointment to United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child Incorporation Advisory Group
Scottish Government and Scotlands Commissioner For Children & Young People
https://www.gov.scot/groups/childrens-rights-working-group/

Visiting Researcher, Bonavero Institute of Human Rights, University of Oxford
University of Oxford


Community Contribution

Consultant, Independent Review of Administrative Law, Human Rights Consortium
https://hrcscotland.org/…le_a4_v2_web.pdf
Expert advice on the Independent Review of Administrative Law:

Expert Advice, Right to Adequate Housing
Scottish Government
Scottish Government

Expert Advice, Scottish Mental Health Law Review
https://www.mentalhealthlawreview.scot/
Expert advice on economic, social and cultural rights


Event / Presentation

Human Rights and Devolution: Devolution as a Vehicle for Human Rights Protection and Progress

Human Rights Consortium Scotland, 6 September 2021

Scottish Parliament, Equalities and Human Rights Committee, Human Rights Reform in Scotland
https://www.scottishparliament.tv/…ee-march-29-2018
Invited Evidence Session (Oral), 29 March 2018

Incorporating International Human Rights in Scotland, Scottish Human Rights Commission
Invited Speaker, Edinburgh, 21 May 2018

Principles of Social Rights Adjudication
Conference Presentation, ESRANUKI, University College London, 6 December 2018

Re-conceptualising constitutionalism and deliberating economic and social rights: legitimate and viable alternatives in contemporary constitutional theory
Socio-legal Studies Association Annual Conference, University of Lancaster, 7 April 2016

A New Human Rights framework for Scotland? Models of Incorporation and Justiciability for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
United Kingdom (UK) Government and Scottish Government
Invited Speaker, Government Legal Service, 13 February 2019

House of Lords EU Justice Sub-Committee, Human Rights Implications of Brexit
UK Parliament
https://parliamentlive.tv/…053e?in=10:46:26
Oral Evidence (invited), 26 March 2019

The Role of Human Rights Law in Responding to Austerity
Ulster University
Invited Speaker, 20 May 2019

UK National Reporter, 'The justiciability of economic social and cultural rights'
Invited speaker, appointed by British Association of Comparative Law, International Congress of Comparative Law, Paraguay 23-28 October 2022

United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Adequate Housing , New York
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
https://undocs.org/A/HRC/40/61
Invited Evidence, Incorporation and Justiciability: Access to Justice for ESC Rights, April 2019

Social Rights Adjudication in the UK and Comparatively, State Capacity and Inequality
Universidade de Brasilia and The British Council
Conference Presentation, British Council Newton Fund, Brazil, 15 September 2017

Access to Justice for Social Rights: Addressing the Accountability Gap
Conference presentation, Social and Legal Studies Association, online, 27-30 March 2021

Ad Hoc Committee on Bill of Rights, 'Comparative, International and Devolved Best Practice'
Northern Ireland Assembly
http://www.niassembly.gov.uk/…/dr-katie-boyle/
Written Evidence

Ad Hoc Committee on Bill of Rights, Oral Evidence
Northern Ireland Assembly
https://niassembly.tv/tag/bill-of-rights/
Invited Evidence Session (Oral) 17 September 2020

Chair, Beveridge’s five giants revisited from a human rights perspective, Institute of Health and Society, 24 April 2019
Newcastle University

Challenges and Innovative Solutions to Human Rights Reform
United Kingdom (UK) Government and Scottish Government - Governance & Communities - Legal Services
https://bit.ly/3sq8oup
Invited Lecture, Government Legal Service for Scotland, 23 February 2021

Constitutionalising a Social Minimum
University of Edinburgh
Global Justice Academy and International Institute for the Sociology of Law, Onati, Spain, 29 June 2017

Dealing with Land Destitution and Structural Inequalities in Transitions
The British Council
Javeriana University, Bogota, Colombia, 25-28 February 2015

Developments in Human Rights: Implications of Constitutional Change
Invited Speaker, Scottish Public Law Group Annual Conference, Edinburgh 13 June 2016

Economic and Social Rights Law, Incorporation, Justiciability and Principles of Adjudication
Invited Speaker, International Association of Constitutional Law: Emerging Scholarship in Social Rights (Book Series), 18 February 2021

Equalities and Human Rights Committee, UNCRC (Incorporation) (Scotland) Bill
https://www.scottishparliament.tv/…november-12-2020
Scottish Parliament, Oral Evidence, 12 November 2020

Equalities and Human Rights Committee, UNCRC (Incorporation) (Scotland) Bill,
https://dspace.stir.ac.uk/…C%20Evidence.pdf
Scottish Parliament, Written Evidence , 12 November 2020

Expert Roundtable with Judiciary, Human Rights Leadership Forum, Judicial Institute
Invited Speaker, Edinburgh, 10 September 2018


External Examiners and Validations

Irish Research Council

International Board of Assessors

Horizon Europe Expert Evaluator
European Commission

Economic and Social Research Council
Economic and Social Research Council
Peer Reviewer


Professional membership

Society of Legal Scholars
Member

Solicitor (non-practicing)
Law Society of Scotland

Trustee
http://justfair.org.uk/what-we-do/
Just Fair, Economic and Social Rights NGO

Coordinator/ Director, Economic and Social Rights Academic Network (UK and Ireland)
https://esranuki.wordpress.com/about/

Council of Europe, European Social Committee, Human Rights Research Network

Fellow
Higher Education Academy


Professional qualification

Constitutional and Human Rights Lawyer
United Kingdom (UK) Government, UK Parliament, Scottish Parliament and Scottish Government

Qualification as constitutional and human rights lawyer with Government Legal Service for Scotland


Research (1)

Professor Boyle's research interests engage with the theory and practice of human rights, in particular economic and social rights. Economic and social rights relate to issues such as housing, health care, education, employment and social security. Violations of the rights tend to impact on some of the most marginalised groups in society, including women, children, ethnic minorities, the disabled and the elderly among other minority groups. Her research focusses on how rights can be made legally enforceable, in particular through formal legalisation, incorporation (embedding international law domestically) and justiciabiity (adjudication in court). Her monograph, entitled "Economic and Social Rights Law: Incorporation, Justiciability and Principles of Adjudication" was published with Routledge in 2020. The monograph draws on principles of deliberative democracy theory that address the critiques of social rights adjudication. This work acts as a theoretical and practical foundation to further explore how to better support access to justice for violations of rights.

Following on from this work Katie secured funding from the Nuffield Foundation to lead a UK wide project on Access to Justice for Social Rights: Addressing the Accountability Gap (2019-2022 £338,000.00). https://www.nuffieldfoundation.org/access-justice-social-rights-addressing-accountability-gap

This project examines the accountability gap in access to justice for social rights in each of the UK's jurisdictions. It considers what kind of barriers are faced when people experience violations of the right to an adequate standard of living - including in relation to housing, social security, food and fuel poverty. The results of this research will seek to address gaps in theory and practice around enhancing access to justice as well as questioning what the conception of 'justice' means in the context of social rights.

The practical impact of Katie's research can be seen in proposed reform of law and policy around the enforcement of rights. For example, the research features in the recommendations of the First Minister's Advisory Group on Human Rights Leadership, the UNCRC Incorporation Advisory Group and the publications and strategies of human rights institutions, including the Scottish Human Rights Commission and the Equality and Human Rights Commission. The models of incorporation proposed in Professor Boyle's research have been adopted by civil society, parliament and government processes. For example, Boyle's multi-institutional approach to incorporation has been adopted by the National Task Force in Human Rights Leadership and the The UNCRC (Incorporation) (Scotland) Bill 2020 relies on Dr Boyle's written and oral evidence, including government amendments to ensure remedies for violations of children's rights are made effective in accordance with international human rights law.

Professor Boyle's research has been funded through a number of competitive funding streams including the Nuffield Foundation, the Economic and Social Research Council, the British Council, the Equality and Human Rights Commission, the Scottish Human Rights Commission, the Scottish Human Rights Consortium and the Northern Ireland Human Rights Consortium.

Projects

Access to Justice for Social Rights: Addressing the Accountability Gap
PI: Professor Katie Boyle
Funded by: The Nuffield Foundation

Outputs (48)

Outputs

Research Report

Boyle K & Flegg A (2022) The Right to Food in the UK - An Explainer [Briefing - Economic, Social and Cultural Rights Part Four]. Nuffield Foundation. Access to Justice For Social Rights: Addressing The Accountability Gap. London.

Research Report

Boyle K & Flegg A (2022) The Right to Adequate Housing in the UK - An Explainer [Briefing - Economic, Social and Cultural Rights Part Three]. Nuffield Foundation. Access to Justice For Social Rights: Addressing The Accountability Gap. London.

Research Report

Boyle K (2022) The access to justice journey. Nuffield Foundation. Access to Justice For Social Rights: Addressing The Accountability Gap. London.

Research Report

Boyle K & Flegg A (2022) The Right to Social Security in the UK - An Explainer [Briefing - Economic, Social and Cultural Rights Part Two]. Nuffield Foundation. Access to Justice For Social Rights: Addressing The Accountability Gap. London.

Book Chapter

Boyle K, Silva V & Contreras Orrego V (2021) Modelos de Incorporación de los Derechos Económicos, Sociales y Culturales: Aprendizajes Para el Proceso Constituyente en Chile. Echeto A (Translator) In: Contreras Orrego V, Silva V, Casla K, Cisterna Gaete P, Delgado Schneider V & Sepúlveda M (eds.) Derechos sociales y el momento constituyente de Chile: Perspectivas globales y locales para el debate constitucional. Tomo II: Mecanismos de garantía de los derechos sociales. Santiago, Chile: Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, pp. 99-117. https://doi.org/10.53110/AVTV1058

Research Report

Boyle K (2021) Academic Advisory Panel Briefing Paper: Access to Justice for Economic, Social, Cultural and Environmental Rights Principles of Adjudication 1 September 2020. National Task Force on Human Rights Leadership. The Scottish Government. https://www.gov.scot/binaries/content/documents/govscot/publications/factsheet/2021/01/national-taskforce-for-human-rights-leadership-academic-advisory-panel-papers/documents/aap-paper-katie-boyle---access-to-justice/aap-paper-katie-boyle---access-to-justice/govscot%3Adocument/AAP%2BPaper%2B-%2BNationalTaskforce%2B-%2BKatie%2BBoyle%2B-%2BAccess%2Bto%2BJustice.pdf

Research Report

Boyle K (2021) Academic Advisory Panel to the National Taskforce for Human Rights Leadership: The Meaning and Content of Duties to be Considered for Inclusion in the Bill. National Task Force on Human Rights Leadership. Scottish Government. https://www.gov.scot/binaries/content/documents/govscot/publications/factsheet/2021/01/national-taskforce-for-human-rights-leadership-academic-advisory-panel-papers/documents/aap-paper-katie-boyle---meaning-and-content-of-duties/aap-paper-katie-boyle---meaning-and-content-of-duties/govscot%3Adocument/AAP%2BPaper%2B-%2BNationalTaskforce%2B-%2BKatie%2BBoyle%2B-%2BMeaning%2Band%2BContent%2Bof%2BDuties%2B-%2BJuly%2B2020%2B%25281%2529.pdf

Book Chapter

Boyle K (2020) Principles of ESR Adjudication. In: Economic and Social Rights Law: Incorporation, Justiciability and Principles of Adjudication. Routledge Research in Human Rights Law. London: Routledge, pp. 1-45. https://www.routledge.com/Economic-and-Social-Rights-Law-Incorporation-Justiciability-and-Principles/Boyle/p/book/9781138298880

Research Report

McCrudden C, Boyle K, Dickson B, Harvey C, McNeilly K & Moffett L (2020) Economic and Social Rights in Northern Ireland: Models of Enforceability. Human Rights Consortium Northern Ireland. Belfast. http://www.humanrightsconsortium.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/ESR-in-NI-Models-of-Enforceability-Report.pdf

Research Report

Boyle K (2020) Comparative International and Devolved Best Practice, Ad Hoc Bill Committee on a Bill of Rights Written Evidence , 8 September 2020. Northern Ireland Assembly, Ad Hoc Committee on a Bill of Rights. Northern Ireland. http://www.niassembly.gov.uk/assembly-business/committees/2017-2022/ad-hoc-committee-on-a-bill-of-rights/written-briefings/dr-katie-boyle/

Book Chapter

Boyle K (2019) Constitutionalising a Social Minimum as a Minimum Core. In: Kotkas T, Leijten I & Pennings F (eds.) Specifying and Securing a Social Minimum in the Battle Against Poverty. Human Rights Law in Perspective. London: Hart Publishing, pp. 261-280. https://www.bloomsburyprofessional.com/uk/specifying-and-securing-a-social-minimum-in-the-battle-against-poverty-9781509926046/

Policy Document

Boyle K (2018) First Minister's Advisory Group for Human Rights Leadership, "Recommendations for a new human rights framework to improve people’s lives". Miller A (Editor) First Minister, Scottish Government. Edinburgh. https://humanrightsleadership.scot/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/First-Ministers-Advisory-Group-on-Human-Rights-Leadership-Final-report-for-publication.pdf

Book Chapter

Boyle K & Tierney S (2016) A Tale of Two Referendums: Scotland, the UK and Europe. In: Birkinshaw P & Biondi A (eds.) Britain Alone: The Implications and Consequences of United Kingdom Exit from the EU. European Monographs, 96. Alphen aan den Rijn, The Netherlands: Kluwer Law International. https://lrus.wolterskluwer.com/store/product/britain-alone-the-implications-and-consequences-of-united-kingdom-exit-from-the-eu/

Website Content

Boyle K & Cochrane L (2016) Rights Derived from EU Law: Informing the Referendum Process. [Blog Post] 13.04.2016. https://ukconstitutionallaw.org/2016/04/13/katie-boyle-and-leanne-cochrane-rights-derived-from-eu-law-informing-the-referendum-process/

Research Report

Tierney S & Boyle K (2014) An Independent Scotland: The Road to Membership of the European Union. Economic and Social Research Council. Edinburgh: University of Edinburgh. https://www.centreonconstitutionalchange.ac.uk/publications/research-briefings/independent-scotland-road-membership-european-union

Teaching

Teaching

Professor Boyle is co-director of the MSc in Human Rights and Diplomacy. This is the only Human Rights and Diplomacy programme in the world taught in partnership with the leading training body of the United Nations: the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR). It is designed to prepare future leaders in the field through an intense programme taught by the leading researchers and practitioners from across the globe. More details are available here: https://www.stir.ac.uk/courses/pg-taught/human-rights-and-diplomacy/

Previous subjects taught by Professor Boyle include the Comparative Protection of International Human Rights (postgraduate Masters level); Public Law; Constitutional Law; Civil Liberties; Human Rights Law at International, Regional (EU and Council of Europe), National (both Ireland and the UK) and devolved level (Human Rights at sub-state level - Scotland and Northern Ireland); Human Rights for Community Development; Land Law; Company Law (to the Revenue Commissioners); Music and the Law including Intellectual Property (Masters Level); Lawyering Skills (negotiation, mediation, advocacy, legal drafting, advocacy and pleadings); Law of the European Union; and Medical Law.