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.
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Flegg A & Boyle K (2022) Economic, Social and Cultural Rights: International Legal Obligations - An Explainer [Briefing - Economic, Social and Cultural Rights Part One]. Nuffield Foundation. Access to Justice For Social Rights: Addressing The Accountability Gap. London.
Boyle K, Camps D, English K & Ferrie J (2022) The Practitioner Perspective on Access to Justice for Social Rights: Addressing the Accountability Gap. Nuffield Foundation. Access to Justice for Social Rights: Addressing the Accountability Gap. London.
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.
Flegg A & Boyle K (2022) The UK's unmet legal needs: a comparative study of legal aid and the social rights gap. Nuffield Foundation. Access to Justice For Social Rights: Addressing The Accountability Gap. London.
Boyle K & Camps D (2022) A Human Rights Lens: Reclaiming the Narrative for Social Rights as Legal Rights. In: Adler M (ed.) A Research Agenda for Social Welfare Law, Policy, Practice and Impact. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.
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
Boyle K & Busby N (2021) Human Rights and Devolution: Devolution as a Vehicle for Human Rights Protection and Progress. Human Rights Consortium. Edinburgh. https://hrcscotland.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/Final-Devolution-and-Human-Rights-Dev-as-a-vehicle-for-HR-protection-and-progress-Sept-2021.pdf
Boyle K (2021) Academic Advisory Panel Briefing Paper Access to Remedy – Systemic Issues and Structural Orders 30 November 2020. National Task Force on Human Rights Leadership. The Scottish Government.
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
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
Boyle K (2020) The Right to an Effective Remedy and Accountability in the Privatisation of Public Services: United nations convention on the rights of the child (incorporation) (Scotland) bill. European Human Rights Law Review, 2020 (6), pp. 610-623.
Boyle K (2020) Economic and Social Rights Law: Incorporation, Justiciability and Principles of Adjudication. Routledge Research in Human Rights Law. Abingdon: Routledge: Taylor & Francis Group. https://www.routledge.com/Economic-and-Social-Rights-Law-Incorporation-Justiciability-and-Principles/Boyle/p/book/9781138298880
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
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
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/
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/
Boyle K (2019) The First Minister’s Advisory Group on Human Rights Leadership: A New Path Forward on Incorporation of Economic, Social Cultural and Environmental Rights. European Human Rights Law Review, 2019 (4), pp. 361-373.
Boyle K & Cochrane L (2018) The Complexities of Human Rights and Constitutional Reform in the United Kingdom; Brexit and a Delayed Bill of Rights: Informing (on) the Process. Northwestern Journal of Human Rights, 16 (1), pp. 22-46. https://scholarlycommons.law.northwestern.edu/njihr/vol16/iss1/2
Boyle K & Hughes E (2018) Identifying routes to remedy for violations of economic, social and cultural rights. The International Journal of Human Rights, 22 (1), pp. 43-69. https://doi.org/10.1080/13642987.2017.1390304
Boyle K (2018) Models of Incorporation and Justiciability for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Scottish Human Rights Commission. Edinburgh. http://www.scottishhumanrights.com/media/1809/models_of_incorporation_escr_vfinal_nov18.pdf
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
Boyle K (2017) Submission to the Joint Committee on Human Rights on Implications of EU (Withdrawal) Bill. UK Parliament. EUB0018. London: UK Parliament. https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/jt201719/jtselect/jtrights/774/77407.htm#_idTextAnchor005
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/
Boyle K (2016) Re-conceptualising Socio-economic Rights in Transitional Justice Societies. Journal of Law, Social Justice and Global Development, 20 (2). https://warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/law/elj/lgd/lgd_issue_2016_2/katie_boyle_2016_2.pdf
Boyle K (2016) Submission to the Joint Committee on Human Rights on Human Rights Implications of Brexit. House of Lords and House of Commons. HBR0042. London: UK Parliament. https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/jt201617/jtselect/jtrights/695/695.pdf
Boyle K & Cochrane L (2016) Brexit and a British Bill of Rights: Four Scenarios for Human Rights. [Blog Post] 17.05.2016. http://ukandeu.ac.uk/explainers/brexit-and-a-british-bill-of-rights-four-scenarios-for-human-rights/
Boyle K (2016) The legitimacy of the EU referendum requires that citizens are informed of the implications of their decision. [Blog Post] 22.04.2016. http://www.democraticaudit.com/2016/04/22/the-legitimacy-of-the-eu-referendum-requires-that-citizens-are-informed-of-the-implications-of-their-decision/
Boyle K (2016) What are the consequences for human rights if we change our relationship with Europe?. [Blog Post] 13.04.2016. http://ukandeu.ac.uk/explainers/what-are-the-consequences-for-human-rights-if-we-change-our-relationship-with-the-eu/
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/
Boyle K (2015) Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in Northern Ireland: Legitimate and Viable Justiciability Mechanisms for a Conflicted Democracy. In: Diver A & Miller J (eds.) Justiciability of Human Rights Law in Domestic Jurisdictions. Cham, Switzerland: Springer, pp. 173-195. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-24016-9_8
Boyle K (2015) Submission to the Scottish European and External Affairs Committee on implications of repeal of Human Rights Act in Scotland. The Scottish Parliament. Edinburgh: Scottish Parliament. http://www.parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/CurrentCommittees/94228.aspx
Equality and Human Rights Commission (2015) Is Britain Fairer?: The State of Equality and Human Rights in Britain. Boyle K (Data Manager) Equality and Human Rights Commission. Manchester. https://www.equalityhumanrights.com/en/publication-download/britain-fairer-2015
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
Tierney S & Boyle K (2014) Human Rights in Transition: The Proposed Interim Constitution for Scotland. [Blog Post] 04.08.2014. https://www.centreonconstitutionalchange.ac.uk/publications/research-briefings/human-rights-transition-proposed-interim-constitution-scotland
Boyle K (2014) Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in Ireland: Models of Constitutionalisation. Irish Community Development Law Journal, 3 (1), pp. 33-48. http://www.communitylawandmediation.ie/irish-community-development-law-journal/volume-3-issue-1-economic-social-and-cultural-rights-in-practice.564.html
Boyle K (2014) Scotland in Transition: the Scottish Government's Proposed Interim Constitution and the Scottish Independence Bill. [Blog Post] 21.06.2014. https://ukconstitutionallaw.org/2014/06/21/katie-boyle-scotland-in-transition-the-scottish-governments-proposed-interim-constitution-and-the-scottish-independence-bill/
Tierney S & Boyle K (2013) Yes or no, 2014′s Scotland referendum carries significant constitutional implications. [Blog Post] 08.11.2013. http://www.democraticaudit.com/2013/11/08/yes-or-no-2014s-independence-referendum-carries-real-constitutional-implications/
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.