New Appointment

Apr 04 2019 Posted: 10:25 IST


 Dr Maeve O’Rourke appointed to Lectureship in Human Rights Law

Dr Maeve O’Rourke has taken up a new position as Lecturer in Human Rights Law, and Programme Director of the Bachelor of Law and Human Rights degree programme. Dr O’Rourke will also lead the development of a new International Human Rights Law clinic and clinical training on our LLM programmes.

 Dr O’Rourke said:

“It is a privilege for me to join this internationally renowned centre of academic excellence and commitment to justice. I’m eager to learn from colleagues and to work with them and our students to strengthen understanding and protection of human rights in Ireland and around the world. I am particularly looking forward to welcoming our first cohort of BCL Law & Human Rights students this September, and to establishing a Human Rights Law Clinic here at the Centre.”

 Welcoming Dr O’Rourke’s appointment, Professor Siobhán Mullally, Director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights, said:

 “We are delighted to welcome Dr Maeve O’Rourke to the Irish Centre for Human Rights, School of Law here at NUI Galway. Dr O’Rourke is a renowned advocate and teacher, and the recipient of many honours and awards for her outstanding contribution to human rights research and practice. We are particularly excited to be launching the new undergraduate BCL Law and Human Rights programme, under Dr O’Rourke’s leadership, and to the development of the Human Rights Law clinic at the Irish Centre for Human Rights. Dr O’Rourke’s appointment continues to build on our commitment to teaching and advocacy in the field of human rights, and to world-class research that contributes to law and policy reform.”

Dr O’Rourke’s research interests lie primarily in the development of the rule against torture and ill-treatment in international human rights law, human rights protections for older people, access to justice and redress for systemic and so-called ‘historical’ human rights abuses, and human rights research and advocacy methods. She was awarded her PhD (entitled ‘Older People, Dignity and Human Rights: Towards the Development of the Rule against Torture and Ill-treatment in International Human Rights Law’) in 2018 from Birmingham Law School where she was supervised by Professor Fiona de Londras and Professor Rosie Harding.

From October 2017 to January 2019, Dr O’Rourke held the position of Senior Research and Policy Officer at the Irish Council for Civil Liberties. Maeve is a barrister at 33 Bedford Row, London, and she is registered as an Attorney at Law in New York State. She has previously practised family law, and between 2013 and 2014 she worked with Leigh Day solicitors representing 15,000 claimants from Bodo, Rivers State, Nigeria in their claim against Shell Petroleum Development Company in the Technology and Construction Division of the English High Court.

Since 2010 Dr O’Rourke has provided pro bono assistance to the voluntary advocacy groups, ‘Justice for Magdalenes’ and ‘Adoption Rights Alliance’, and she is currently a member of the research group, ‘Justice for Magdalenes Research’ ( She is co-director of the evidence-gathering initiative with Hogan Lovells LLP, ‘Clann: Ireland’s Unmarried Mothers and their Children: Gathering the Data’ ( Maeve’s legal research and public advocacy concerning Ireland’s Magdalene Laundries and the forced separation of unmarried families in Ireland during the 20th century has received international and national recognition; awards include UK Family Law Pro Bono Lawyer of the Year (2013), Ireland Fund of Great Britain ‘Forgotten Irish’ Award (2013), University College Dublin Inaugural Alumni Achievement Award in Law (2014), Ireland/United States Alumni Association Inaugural Emerging Leader Award (2015), Lord Mayor of Dublin Award (2016), and PILnet Local Pro Bono Impact Award (2018).

Dr O’Rourke has previously worked as a Consultant to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture, Professor Nils Melzer; Harvard Law School Global Human Rights Fellow at Equality Now; and researcher at the Harvard Law School Human Rights Program, the University of Minnesota Law School Human Rights Center and Just for Kids Law (UK).