Non-Credit Course: Research Training on Police Use of Force Legislation & Jurisprudence

The Bonavero Institute seeks to enrich the human rights experience of Oxford students, and to assist them to develop careers in the broad field of human rights. Its “Gateways to Human Rights Research and Practice” initiative aims to deepen student engagement with the institute’s research projects and to provide insights into human rights practice. Several programmes form part of this initiative: Non-credit Courses on Human Rights Strategy, various opportunities for Human Rights Mooting, the Collaborative Legal Aid Clinics at HMP Huntercombe and at UK prisons holding foreign national women and our Summer Fellowship Programme.

Research Training on Police Use of Force Legislation & Jurisprudence


In collaboration with the Bonavero Institute of Human Rights, the Centre for Human Rights at the University of Pretoria (UP) is further developing its online repository for national legislation and related caselaw on police use of force. Students who participate in the programme will research how excessive or indiscriminate use of force by the police or other law enforcement agencies is prosecuted in each State, along with convictions and sentences. The analysis of the relevant laws and caselaw will be undertaken based on the principles of international human rights law.

The project covers all 197 States (as recognised by the UN Secretary-General) as well as Kosovo and Western Sahara. It went live in 2017 at Similar websites managed by the UP Centre for Human Rights concern national laws on counterterrorism law ( and on the right of assembly worldwide ( Since 2017, Oxford students participating in Bonavero non-credit courses have made significant contributions to these projects.

Content of the project

This research training programme will provide students with training on research and analysis on use of force legislation and jurisprudence. Each country profile comprises a number of separate sections:

- Constitutional provisions

- Key treaties (at global and regional level)

- National legislation

- Police oversight

- Caselaw and views of UN treaty bodies

All relevant laws and rules in the constitution, penal code, and dedicated legislation of each State are collected and analysed. The relevant laws are also made available for download on the website, in both the original language and an English translation (if available).

The research should seek to identify any recently adopted legislation, regulations, or standing operating procedures on police use of force which are not already included on the country profiles. In addition, the research will identify relevant caselaw on police use of force in each of the countries with summaries and analysis of key judgments.

Convenor: Professor Stuart Casey-Maslen, Extraordinary Professor, University of Pretoria (South Africa)

Coordination: Sarah Norman, Programmes Administrator, Bonavero Institute of Human Rights

Profile of participants

  • Research skills: Graduate and undergraduate law students at the University of Oxford; graduate students of other disciplines with a law degree or demonstrated experience in legal human rights research. While some legal background is preferred, it is not essential: an interest in the topic is equally valuable.
  • Language skills: Any non-English language skills are valuable, but especially those with skills in Arabic, Chinese, French, Indonesian, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish.

The work of the students will be specifically acknowledged and thanked on the website (unless of course anonymity is preferred).

Time schedule

Any student wishing to assist with country research will be invited to attend a briefing at the Bonavero Institute by Prof. Casey-Maslen on Thursday 25 January 2024, from 3pm to 5pm.

The students will then be asked to conduct preliminary research on jurisprudence relating to terrorism law in one or more States and to submit it by end of day on Monday 19 February 2024.

Prof. Casey-Maslen will subsequently organise one-on-one feedback meetings with each student.

A general review and discussion will take place on Monday 4 March 2023, from 3pm to 5pm.

Following the finalisation of the research, Prof. Casey-Maslen will upload the research results onto the website.


Interested students should send a short email attaching their CV and indicating their interest (either generally or in a particular country or countries) to: by Monday 22 January 2024 (noon). They will be notified of their selection by 24 January.


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