Postgraduate research

PhD opportunities in Global Law at Reading

Duration: 3 years full-time or 4-6 years part-time

Postgraduate students chattingThe School offers PhD supervision in wide a range of GLAR areas.

Reading has a vibrant doctoral research community in GLAR, working under the supervision of our various academic staff in the subject. We welcome high quality applications from all over the world and are proud of the School of Law's dynamic and thriving research culture, particularly in international law, human rights and EU law. Postgraduate research candidates benefit from dedicated resources and facilities, competitively awarded funding and first-rate supervision and support from members of the world-leading GLAR academic team. Doctoral candidates also play an active role in life within the School and are strongly encouraged to attend the wide range of events held.

Whether you want to study for a doctorate on the laws of war, minority rights, citizenship in the EU, international terrorism, EU external relations law, or any other GLAR-related subject, the School of Law can provide the supervision to help you successfully gain a PhD.  We also provide support in terms of helping you publish and present your work, and generally plan for your future career.

There are a range of funding opportunities for PhD applicants looking to study in the School of Law, and we will help you to prepare funding applications to give you the best chance of securing financial support. Find out about funding.

LLM in Global Law by Thesis

Duration: 1 year full-time or 2 years part-time

In addition to our doctoral programme, we also offer an LLM by Thesis in GLAR subjects.  This is a supervised research degree undertaken solely by thesis.

Current PhD projects


Behnam Balalimood Behnam Balalimood  

Behnam is a doctoral researcher at the School of Law, University of Reading, where he also teaches EU law. He first joined Reading in 2012 for the LLM in EU Law and Citizenship programme.

Behnam's research interests include EU immigration policy, EU civic citizenship, and the integration of migrants into the receiving society. His PhD research focuses on the EU Long-term Residents' Directive (2003/109) and the Tampere summit conclusions as the overarching EU immigration policy when the Directive was adopted. It examines the extent to which the Long-term Resident's Directive is in line with the Tampere conclusions, and explores the reasons for which the EU in adopting the Directive should have followed (and still should follow) the Tampere conclusions. In particular, why and to what extent the EU should grant long-term resident third-country nationals rights similar to those of EU citizens, and how granting such rights to long-term residents would facilitate their integration into the EU's society.

Follow me on Twitter: (@Behnam_Balali)

View my posters, media engagement, and publications on Academia

Law_PGR_student_FayeBird Faye Bird Islamic State’s Use of Forced Marriages and Sexual Slavery as a Weapon of War: A Critical Analysis of International Law in the Changing Landscape of Modern Day Warfare

Global attention is increasingly paid to the specific atrocities presently inflicted upon minority women in Syria and Iraq by militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL-Daesh). Following investigations in the Middle East, the United Nations Special Representative for Sexual Violence in Conflict observed that at the hands of the militant group 'younger women are examined to see if they are virgins, [the remaining] will end up being auctioned... like cattle'.

ISIL-Daesh's 'institutionalisation' of sexual violence through means of forced marriages and a slave trade is a key feature of this new, hybrid-war. The efficiency of this weapon has been heightened by the utilisation of modern technology, allowing for the global distribution of their online propaganda campaign, lending to their recruitment strategy, and ultimately increasing the systematic violence against women and girls. The primary aim of the research is to critically analyse the law of armed conflict in this context, considering the need for victims to appeal to transitional justice. Further, the research aims to address whether existing feminist jurisprudence stemming from the law of armed conflict, international criminal law and international human rights law can provide sufficient normative recommendations, or if in reality, the failures in the law stem from deep-rooted, structural inadequacies requiring more fundamental upheavals.

Faye has received her LLB from the University of Exeter and her LLM in International Law from the University of Reading. The research outlined above is funded by the AHRC through the South West and Wales Doctoral Training Partnership and is co-supervised across this DTP at the Universities of Reading and Exeter. In addition, Faye is a sessional lecturer on the LLB Criminal Law module at Reading, and is a member and co-ordinator of the Gender and Sexuality Research Network based at Reading, which is affiliated to the AHRC SWW-DTP supported Gender and Sexuality Research Cluster.

Max Byrne Max Brookman-Byrne Militarised Drones and Their Implications for International Law

The exponential growth in the use of drones for combat has the potential to change the way that armed conflict (and peace) is understood, making analysis of their impacts a particularly pressing concern. My research seeks to critically examine the relationship between the use of militarised drones and the development of international law. Rather than adopting the traditional questions that are asked of drones ('are they legal?', 'are they moral?') the work endeavours to understand what drones mean for international law, and how, considered dialectically, they pose a challenge to traditional understandings of international law and its constituent elements.

Max has an LLB from Surrey and an LLM from Birkbeck where he was Senior Editor of the Birkbeck Law Review. His PhD is funded by a studentship from the ESRC and he has presented his work at national and international conferences. He has published a peer-reviewed article in the Journal on the Use of Force and International Law dealing with the doctrine of intervention by invitation and extraterritorial drone strikes. In addition he works as a sessional lecturer in Constitutional Law, Jurisprudence, International Law Mooting and Legal Skills.

Natasha Georgiou Natasha A. Georgiou Energy Regulation in International Trade: Legal Challenges in EU-Russia Energy Relations from an Investment Protection Perspective

The objectives of Natasha's research are multiple but its general purpose is to examine the role of international law in EU-Russia energy relations. In particular, to assess whether multilateral energy trade regulation under the ECT and WTO provides an effective legal framework for EU-Russia energy relations, in the context of energy trade and investment. The study will therefore primarily attempt to answer the following research question: to what extent does international law address the gap in the current legal infrastructure and regulate energy in international trade from an investment protection perspective, now that Russia has withdrawn from the ECT. The project will also consider the alternative legal instruments proposed for EU-Russia energy co-operation and the options available following Russia's withdrawal from the ECT. In considering the alternatives, the study will analyse whether the TEP is capable of establishing an enforceable energy regulatory framework between the EU and Russia, in the context of energy trade and investment. The study will also examine whether the competence of the EU on inward FDI related matters and its growing decision making powers regarding investment negotiations and BITs, can ensure investment protection in EU-Russia energy relations.

Natasha holds a University of Reading School of Law Studentship and comes to the School of Law with several years experience as a Senior Legal Consultant/Associate at a top-tier firm in Cyprus where she predominantly worked on cross-border finance transactions with the emerging markets, in particular Russia and the CIS. Natasha has an interdisciplinary academic background with undergraduate degrees completed in South Africa, namely Law and English from the University of the Witwatersrand (WITS) and a BA Honours in Greek and Classical Studies from Rand Afrikaans University (RAU). Natasha also holds an LLM in Commercial and Corporate Law from the University of London.

Chris Evans Christopher Evans Rational Choice Theory and Nuclear Disarmament: Assessing the Theoretical and Practical Potential of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons

This thesis aims to analyse both the theoretical and potential impact of the recent Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), the first treaty to comprehensively prohibit the possession, testing and use of nuclear weapons. Although a wider nuclear weapons regulatory framework exists through the Non-Proliferation Treaty, Comprehensive Test-Ban Treaty along with areas such as IHL, this project will adopt rational choice theory to suggest firstly that the existing international law framework concerning nuclear weapons developed and is limited by the actions of rational actors.

The TPNW serves to challenge this recent stagnation in nuclear disarmament. By analysing the theoretical impact of the TPNW through a discussion of both its provisions independently and in comparison with weapons treaties including the Chemical and Biological Weapons Conventions, I intend to assess the impact that the TPNW may have in practice, while highlighting the opposition presented by the nuclear weapons states against the adoption of this treaty. This will answer my underlying question, what normative effect can the TPNW in facilitating disarmament in light of challenges and opposition it faces?

face Hoshman Ismail Genocide of the Yezidis within the context of Responsibility to Protect

My research attempts to understand the genocide of Yezidis within the context of Responsibility to Protect. It attempts to investigate the failure of the application of the RtoP in relation to Islamic State (IS, ISIS, ISIL, Daesh) genocide against the minority Yezidis in Iraq in August 2014.

Dr Damian Gonzalez-Salzberg Damian Gonzalez-Salzberg Queering the Subject of Human Rights Law: re-reading the case law of the European Court of Human Rights on sexual orientation and gender identity

Damian's research is concerned with the notions of sex, gender and sexuality within the field of human rights law. Working within the theoretical framework of Queer Theory, his research focuses on the regulatory power the law exercises over individuals' identities, including their gender and sexual identities. In particular, the work analyses how the European Court of Human Rights has exercised this regulatory power of the law. The main focus of the research is on how the Court's case law has constructed the legal understanding of sex, gender and sexuality of the European subject.

Damian is an Attorney-at-Law from Argentina, where he has worked on human rights law for both an NGO and the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights. He has been a GTA in International Law at the University of Buenos Aires and has worked on legal and political research both in academia and in a think-tank. Damian's legal work has been published in different peer-reviewed journals. Besides his law degree (UBA), he has an MA in Public Administration and Public Policy (York) and an MA in International Relations (IBEI). Damian holds a University of Reading Social Sciences Studentship.

David Leary David Leary The Security Council's Response to Terrorism and the Balance Between Liberty and Security under International Law

David's research will examine the relationship between obligations created by the UN Security Council in response to the threat posed by terrorism and the balance between liberty and security as reflected under international human rights, humanitarian and refugee law. He will explore the degree to which the Council's 'legislative' approach following the events of 11 September 2001, generating universally binding legal norms without geographic or temporal limitation, may influence or encroach upon existing standards under international law, or inhibit their development, with particular regard to rules restricting the preventive detention of terrorism suspects and prohibiting their expulsion where there exists a risk of mistreatment or torture overseas.

David holds a Graduate Teaching Assistantship in the Law School and teaches on the Legal Skills module in the LLB. He assisted with the preparations for a conference held by the School of Law regarding the recent conflict between Russia and Georgia and the implications of these events for the international legal order. David did his undergraduate Law degree at the University of Bristol and his LLM in International Business Law at the University of Liverpool.

face Stephen Samuel Diplomats, Practitioners, Scholars: A Study of the Multiple Roles Played by International Lawyers in Public International Law

Steve will be studying international lawyers in their many guises from diplomats to judges. The term "international lawyer" is often used by experts and the general public alike. Yet, both the term and the people that identify themselves with those terms have neither been clearly defined nor understood. Comprising theoretical and empirical methodologies, his thesis proposes some new ways in which this highly specialised and influential actor of the international legal system can be understood.

Steve is a Singaporean who first joined Reading for the LLM in International Law and World Order programme. Along with his doctoral work, he tutors in the International Law Mooting module and regularly works as a research assistant for different academic staff in the School.

face Wanni Teo EU External Co-operation on Counter-Terrorism: A Fundamental Rights Perspective on Information Sharing

Wanni's research examines the EU's external co-operation in policing and security matters, specifically the sharing of information about individuals between the EU and third countries to counter-terrorism and organised crime. The project uses cross-border information sharing arrangements such as airline passenger data transfers as case studies, investigating the protection of the rights to privacy and non-discrimination in such activities. It examines the pro-active policing measures employed by the EU and its Member States, including the gathering, processing and transfer of personal information in the context of law enforcement co-operation with private entities. Wanni's research seeks to contribute to the debate about government use, sharing and control of individuals' information.

Wanni comes to the Law School after several years' practice in legal policy, human rights and counter-human trafficking. Wanni completed her Master's and undergraduate degrees at Australian universities. Her research is undertaken with the support of a University of Reading Social Sciences Research Studentship. She is one of the tutors for the LLB Legal Skills module.

face Hiba tul Waheed The International Protection of Minority Rights in Pakistan

Hiba's research examines to what extent international human rights law protects the rights of religious minorities in Pakistan. More specifically, it assesses the quality of the relevant international and domestic legal frameworks on minority rights, as well as their respective enforcement mechanisms, illustrated by a case study of the treatment of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in Pakistan. This, in turn, is likely to contribute to our current understanding of the impact of the existing international protection mechanisms on domestic law. The research aims to make an original contribution to knowledge through the study of the implementation of international norms on the religious freedom in Pakistan, and through the in-depth focus on the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in Pakistan.

Hiba completed her LLB and LLM at the University of Surrey. Her research is undertaken with the support of a University of Reading Scholarship.

Liam Bagshaw Liam Bagshaw  

Despite disasters killing around 1.3 million people in the last twenty years, and extreme weather events becoming more intense and frequent due to climate change, law governing and defining state responsibility for such events still remains at a nascent stage.

My research aims to help contribute to resolving this issue by using the three-pillar framework and theoretical roots of the responsibility to protect doctrine to add greater structure and specific content to a state's obligations relating to the prevention and response to disasters.

Liam has a quite multidisciplinary academic background, he originally did a BA in Creative and Critical Writing at the University of Winchester, before doing an MSc in International Relations at Royal Holloway University, and finally an LLM in Global Crisis, Conflict, and Disaster Management at the University of Reading. Because of this background his research is interdisciplinary in nature, combining international relations and international law.

Twitter - @LMBagshaw

Recent successfully defended PhDs

  • Stuart Davis (2015): Cross-Border Recognition of Same-Sex Marriages and Registered Partnerships in the European Union
  • Nora Honkala (2015): (Mis) Understanding Forced Marriage: International Law, Rights and Their Limits in Asylum Seeker Women's Cases
  • David Yuratich (2014): The Court of Justice of the European Union's approach to EU democracy
  • Joy Reddy (2013): The Law of Non-International Armed Conflict and Organised Armed Groups
  • Clemens Rieder (2012): Cementing Solidarity in EU Health Care Law: The Role of Rights and the ECJ
  • Tim Moorhead (2011): Values and Legal Order: The Institutional Role of the European Court of Justice
  • Rosalynd Roberts (2011): The Relationship between the International Criminal Court and the United Nations Security Council
  • Anan Al Sheik Haidar (2010): Regionalising International Criminal Justice with Particular Reference to the Middle East
  • Francis Grimal (2009): Threats of Force: International Law and Strategy
  • Anneke Smit (2008): The Limits of Housing and Property Restitution and Return: Case Studies of Georgia and Kosovo
  • Becca Sampson (2008): Childrens' Rights as International Law


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School of Law:

Ph:+44(0)118 378 6568

Fx:+44(0)118 378 4543


Any initial expressions of interest in postgraduate research at Reading can also be directed to the School's Deputy Director of Postgraduate Research,
Mr Matthew Windsor: m.r.windsor

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Key information

Visit the School's postgraduate research page or key information on postgraduate research in law at Reading. 

Doctoral research topics

To see the wide range of GLAR topics on which we can offer supervision, visit the 'GLAR staff' page, which lists individual staff expertise.


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