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Dr Liam Thornton


Liam Thornton

Lecturer/Assistant Professor
UCD Sutherland School of Law
01 716 4129
University College Dublin, UCD Sutherland School of Law, Sutherland School of Law Belfield Dublin 4


Dr Liam Thornton is a lecturer in law the School of Law, UCD. In UCD, Liam teaches on a number of undergraduate and graduate courses, including Introduction to the Irish Legal System, Asylum and Refugee Law, Social Inclusion Law and ECHR Law. Liam was previously Director of Clinical Legal Education in UCD School of Law (2012-2015) and Widening Participation Officer (2015-2017) in UCD School of Law, where he led initiatives to ensure equitable access for all persons to UCD law degrees. In particular, Liam took the lead in designing QQI-FET (formerly FETAC) entry routes into DN600 Law and DN610 Business and Law degrees.On Liam's website , you can find Liam's latest blog posts on human rights law and policy in Ireland, consult open-access versions of his publications, explore his consultancy work completed for a large number of organisations, as well as access his political and policy contributions, and media engagements. Liam has a strong interest in social justice and law, and researches in areas relating to immigration law, social security law, European law and human rights law. Liam was previously the social security sub-editor for the Bulletin of Northern Ireland Law and has published on issues relating to human rights, social security law, children's rights and immigration law in a number of journals including the Journal of Social Security Law, the Irish Journal of Family Law, Northern Ireland Legal Quarterly, Refuge: Canadian Periodical on Refugee Studies, the Irish Yearbook of International Law, and the Irish Law Times. In addition, Liam has published several peer-reviewed book chapters in edited book collections. Liam also has acted in a number of editorial roles, with his most recent co-edited book on The ECHR and Ireland (Bloomsbury, 2015) and previously was the Book Reviews Editor for the Irish Yearbook of International Law and co-editor of a special issue of the Northern Ireland Legal Quarterly (2011) on the Convention on the Rights of the Child at 21. Liam is the co-author of two books. The ECHR and EU Charter of Fundamental Rights in Irish Courts, published by the Law Society in 2015, which he co-authored with Professor Suzanne Kingston (UCD). Liam's most recent co-authored book, Fundamentals of the Irish Legal System: Law, Policy and Politics, co-authored with Dr Tanya Ni Mhuirthile (DCU) and Dr Catherine O'Sullivan (UCC). Liam has also carried out tendered research for the Law Society of Ireland, the Irish Human Rights Commission, the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission and the Odysseus Network/European Commission, as well as pro-bono research for legal practitioners and leading national non-governmental organisations. Liam obtained a first class honours BCL (International) degree and his PhD from the Faculty of Law and the Centre for Criminal Justice and Human Rights in University College Cork. Liam has also obtained a Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education Practice (PgCHEP) from University of Ulster and is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. Liam's PhD research was supervised by Professor Siobhán Mullally (UCC) and funded by the Irish Research Council for Humanities and Social Sciences. Liam's PhD examined reception conditions for asylum seekers in Ireland and the United Kingdom and explored the legal and administrative measures utilised to exclude asylum seekers from mainstream social assistance systems. Prior to taking up his position in UCD, Liam was Research and Policy Officer in the Irish Human Rights Commission (2008-9) and a lecturer in law in University of Ulster (2009-2012).


  • Lecturer in Law
    University of Ulster16 Feb 2009 - 31 Aug 2012
  • External Examiner (Law)
    London Metropolitan University, Law, London, United Kingdom1 Jan 2020 - 30 Nov 2023
  • External Examiner (Law)
    University of Bradford, School of Law, Bradford, United Kingdom1 Oct 2019 - 31 Aug 2024
  • External Examiner (Law)
    Athlone Institute of Technology, Business and Managment, Athlone, Ireland1 Jan 2016 - 31 Dec 2019
  • External Examiner (Law)
    Cork Institute of Technology, Business and Humanities, Cork, Ireland1 Sep 2015 - 31 Aug 2018
  • External Examiner (Law)
    Waterford Institute of Technology, Applied Arts, Waterford, Ireland1 Sep 2013 - 31 Aug 2015
  • Programatic Review Panel Member for LLB/Law Degrees
    Dublin Business School, Law, Dublin, Ireland1 May 2014 - 31 May 2014
  • External Examiner (Law)
    University College Cork, Adult Education, Cork, Ireland1 Sep 2011 - 31 Aug 2013
  • Assistant Lecturer in European Union Law
    University College Cork, Law, Cork, Ireland1 Sep 2006 - 1 Jun 2009


  • Research and Policy Officer
    Irish Human Rights Commission3 Jun 2008 - 30 Jan 2009


  • BCL
    University College Cork
  • PhD
    University College Cork
  • PgCHEP
    University of Ulster


  • English
    Can read, write, speak and understand
  • Spanish; Castilian
    Can read, write, speak and understand