Richard Carver

LLM International Law

Richard Carver

One of the particular pleasures of taking this course – and a strength of this LLM overall – was the enormous range of experience and background of my fellow students

There were two main reasons I decided to take the LLM. The first was simply that I wanted to take the opportunity to do something rather more reflective than my regular work and to get back to studying (I am in my 50s and have not engaged in any formal study for 30 years). The second reason was that I wanted to understand better the intellectual framework within which my daily human rights work was situated. Of course, I hoped that this would help me to do my work better, but primarily I think my motive was just curiosity.

One of the particular pleasures of taking this course – and a strength of this LLM overall – was the enormous range of experience and background of my fellow students. I have worked for more than 20 years as a researcher in the human rights field, although I started my career as a journalist. I have worked at Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and ARTICLE 19. For the past 10 years I have been an independent consultant, working with various human rights organizations and UN agencies. My lecturers encouraged me to bring my own experience of human rights work into the classroom – something I was initially rather hesitant about. But while they were positive about my existing knowledge and experience, they also taught me an enormous amount about the precise skills involved in legal research and writing.

Since completing the LLM, part of my time is spent doing human rights consultancies, as before. For the rest I am an associate lecturer teaching human rights as part of the MA in Development and Emergency Practice at Brookes. The grounding that I now have in international law has allowed me to take on work that I would not previously have been qualified for. For example, I am currently developing a programme of litigation on the issue of counter-terrorism and human rights for an international organization. I have lectured at Harvard Law School and been invited to contribute to an edited volume produced by Harvard.