Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences

Law academic conducts research project into National Human Rights Institutions

Monday, 03 April 2017

Politics EU

Dr Shirley Shipman is conducting a project looking at alternative dispute resolutions and National Human Rights Institutions in Europe.

Shirley has expertise in procedural justice and alternative dispute resolution. Her latest study has been a major project on alternative dispute resolution and the National Human Rights Institutes in Europe, funded by the Nuffield Foundation, working with Professor Lorna McGregor (Director of the Human Rights Centre, University of Essex) and Professor Rachel Murray (Director of the Human Rights Implementation Centre, University of Bristol).

This work carries out an analysis of roles played by the National Human Rights Institutes in resolving disputes. It is a novel area for investigation and involved the appointment of in-country research officers and extensive interviewing schedule to gather the data on processes and approaches.

Shirley had travelled widely - including Croatia, Netherlands, Belgium and Denmark - to interview the Human Rights Institute managers, as well as the staff of allied institutions, such as ombudsmen and ministry officials.

The research has generated perspectives on the functions exercised in practice by these bodies and has led to an examination of the consistency in standards applied across the different institutions found in the various national systems.

Shirley and her team colleagues have produced a draft Overview Report and a Mapping Report on the institutes. They have also drafted a policy paper on 'NHRI First Contact with Complainants: A Human Rights Based Approach to Triage and Referrals.'

Three academic articles have been prepared from the research:

· 'Developing Bespoke Fair Trial Standards for Ombudspersons: Dealing with Human Rights Complaints'

· 'Institutionalising Dispute Resolution for Human Rights Claims: Questions for National Human Rights Institutions, Equality Bodies and Ombudspersons'

· 'Human Rights Claims, Power Imbalances and Process Standards for Agreement-Based Alternative Dispute Resolution


    Dr Shirley Shipman is a Principal Lecturer within the School of Law.