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Assoc Professor Liam Thornton

Assoc Professor

Liam Thornton

Associate Professor
UCD Sutherland School of Law
01 716 4129
University College Dublin, UCD Sutherland School of Law, Sutherland School of Law Belfield Dublin 4


My core research interests examine a number of key themes, focusing mainly on the intersections between human rights, state control, socio-economic rights and migration. An underlying theme of my current research interests is on governmentality and control of groups within society that political systems deem problematic (with a particular focus on asylum seekers and immigrants). I have a fascination with systems of governance and how these can be used (sometimes at the same time) as a delivery mechanism to ensure protection of human rights, yet also as a means of control and supervision of those persons deemed 'problematic' by society. Legal Systems Dr Catherine O'Sullivan (UCC), Dr Tanya Ni Mhuirthile (DCU) and I have co-authored a new textbook on the Irish legal system: Fundamentals of the Irish Legal System: Law, Policy and Politics. Irish social security law and asylum seekers I am examining how the non-legislative direct provision system in place for asylum seekers is permitted to operate in light of constitutional fundamental rights protections, statute, and administrative law. My research makes use of internal (unpublished) practice directions/memos (obtained under the Freedom of Information Act) and examines how and why the system of direct provision developed and continues to operate. European law, social security, asylum/migration European human rights law (Council of Europe) and European Union law are increasingly concerned with the protection of socio-economic rights of asylum seekers. My research focuses on how this occurred and the normative basis for protection of certain minimum socio-economic rights. It is hoped that this research will contribute to more general debates on socio-economic rights as legally enforceable rights. International human rights law While a strong supporter of international human rights law, I engage in critiques of current institutional supervision of human rights by the multitude of treaty based human rights bodies. My research focuses on the lack of clarity as to the precise scope and content of international human rights laws/norms, in particular as regards socio-economic rights.


Showing 1-5 out of 5
Exploring Direct Provision: 20 Years On
University College Dublin (UCD)
1 Apr 2019 - 30 Sep 2020
Human Rights Commissions as Law Reformers
University College Dublin (UCD)
10 Jul 2017 - 28 Feb 2019
OBRSS Research Support Scheme
University College Dublin (UCD)
1 Nov 2016 - 31 Oct 2020
A Report on the European Convention on Human Rights Act 2003 and the European Charter of Fundamental Rights: Evaluation & Review
The Law Society of Ireland
1 Nov 2014 - 30 Jun 2015
Common Ground: Sharing Across Models of Experiential Legal Education
University College Dublin (UCD)
1 May 2013 - 31 Oct 2014