Book launch: State Responsibility for Modern Slavery in Human Rights Law

Event date
8 March 2023
Event time
17:00 - 18:30
Oxford week
HT 8
Nissan Lecture Theatre - St Antony's College

Marija Jovanovic, Lecturer at the Essex Law School and Human Rights Centre, University of Essex

Philippa Webb, Professor of Public International Law at King’s College London and a barrister at Twenty Essex

Davor Derenčinović, judge of the European Court of Human Rights

Virginia Mantouvalou, Professor of Human Rights and Labour Law at UCL, Faculty of Laws

Aké Achi



Notes & Changes

This is a hybrid event. It will be held in-person at Nissan Lecture Theatre, St Antony's College. There will be a wine reception after the event. To attend the event online, register here

Please note that this event may be recorded.

The Bonavero Institute of Human Rights is delighted to host the launch of the book, State Responsibility for Modern Slavery in Human Rights Law, written by Dr Marija Jovanovic.  

The book analyses the role and responsibility of states for addressing ‘modern slavery’ against the backdrop of international human rights law. It explores the dynamic between criminal law and human rights law and reveals the different ways these legal domains work to secure justice for victims. The book considers the range of practices referred to as 'modern slavery' and their mutual relationships, the positive obligations of states established by international human rights tribunals owed to individuals subject to modern slavery, and the standards for assessing state responsibility in these situations. In addition to providing a comprehensive critique of the existing human rights jurisprudence, this book offers a roadmap for the future development of law on this subject emphasizing the limits of human rights law as a tool for addressing modern slavery.



Dr Marija Jovanovic

Dr Marija Jovanovic is a Lecturer at the Essex Law School and Human Rights Centre, University of Essex. Her research focuses on modern slavery at the intersection of different legal regimes, such as human rights law, criminal law, labour law, immigration law, international trade law, and business regulation. Marija holds DPhil, MPhil, and Magister Juris degrees from the University of Oxford, and a law degree from Serbia. She previously held a Postdoctoral Fellowship in ASEAN Law and Policy at the National University of Singapore and worked as a Lecturer at the University of Kragujevac and University of Belgrade. Beyond academic work, she consults for international and non-governmental organizations including the Council of Europe, UNODC, USAID, CIDA, the AIRE Centre, and the Modern Slavery Policy and Evidence Centre.


Philippa Webb

Philippa Webb

Philippa Webb is Professor of Public International Law at King’s College London and a barrister at Twenty Essex. She is an Academic Visitor at the Faculty of Law of the University of Oxford and a Visiting Fellow at Exeter College. Philippa served as the Special Assistant and Legal Officer to Judge Rosalyn Higgins GBE QC during her Presidency of the International Court of Justice and held positions in the International Criminal Court and United Nations Headquarters. She has been Principal Investigator on a British Academy-funded project on State Responsibility for Modern Slavery. She was counsel in the UK Supreme Court case Wong v Basfar [2022] UKSC 20 that led to a change in the law on diplomatic immunity in order to enhance accountability for modern slavery. Her publications include: The Right to a Fair Trial in International Law (2020, with Amal Clooney) with the accompanying travaux préparatoires to Article 14 of the ICCPR (2021), Oppenheim's International Law: United Nations (2017, with Rosalyn Higgins, Dapo Akande, Sandy Sivakumaran, and James Sloan), The Law of State Immunity (2015, with Lady Hazel Fox QC) and  International Judicial Integration and Fragmentation (2015). Philippa is on the board of the Clooney Foundation for Justice and serves on the editorial boards of the International & Comparative Law Quarterly, the Leiden Journal of International Law, the Journal of International Criminal Justice and the Oxford University Undergraduate Law Journal


Professor Davor Derenčinović


Prof. Davor Derenčinović is a judge of the European Court of Human Rights. He held various positions in the Council of Europe, including in the Council of Europe Multidisciplinary Group on Corruption, the Council of Europe Multidisciplinary Group on International Action Against Terrorism, and the European Committee on Legal Cooperation of the Council of Europe. He was a member, Vice President and President of the Council of Europe Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (GRETA). He authored and co-authored five monographs, ten textbooks and multiple papers, and edited three books. His books include Corruption Myth (2001) and Theory of a Joint Criminal Enterprise - Challenges and Controversies (2012). He previously held positions in various expert groups and committees in Croatia, as well as a member of the National Preventive Mechanism for Prevention of Torture, the Ethics Committee in the election of members of the European Parliament from the Republic of Croatia, the Ethics Committee in the Election for the Croatian Parliament, and the President of the Pardons Commission of the President of the Republic of Croatia. He holds PhD and Magister Scientiarum  from the Zagreb Faculty of Law, where he also taught. He was a visiting lecturer in various universities,  including Sciences Po Paris, University of Rijeka, University J.J.Strossmayer in Osijek, University of Sarajevo (and University of Mostar). 

Virginia Mantouvalou


Virginia Mantouvalou is Professor of Human Rights and Labour Law at UCL, Faculty of Laws. Her research has appeared in leading journals, and her latest monograph Structural Injustice and Workers’ Rights is coming out with OUP in 2023. Her most recent co-edited book, Philosophical Foundations of Labour Law (with Hugh Collins and Gillian Lester), was published by OUP in 2018. She has received several awards for her research, including a British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship and a UCL Provost Award for Public Engagement for her research collaboration with the NGO Kalayaan (working on the rights of domestic workers). Her work has been cited by courts, including the Constitutional Court of South Africa and the European Court of Human Rights. She is Articles Co-Editor of the Modern Law Review, member of the editorial board of the Stanford Studies in Human Rights, Co-Editor of the UK Labour Law Blog and the Studies in Law and Social Justice and was Joint Editor of Current Legal Problems. She has held visiting positions at Georgetown University Law Centre in Washington DC and the Universite Libre de Bruxelles. She has worked as specialist advisor to the UK Joint Committee on Human Rights and as consultant for the ILO and the Council of Europe, and is Chair of Kalayaan.

Maayan Niezna


Maayan Niezna is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Modern Slavery and Human Rights at the Bonavero Institute of Human Rights, and a Fellow of the Modern Slavery Policy and Evidence Centre. Her research focuses on trafficking for labour exploitation and the regulation of labour migration. She holds PhD in Law from Kent Law School, MSc in Human Rights from the London School of Economics, and LL.B in Law and Philosophy from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Prior to her doctoral studies, she led the legal work on trafficking at the Hotline for Refugees and Migrants-Israel, and worked on issues related to trafficking at the Office of the National Anti-trafficking Coordinator, Israeli Ministry of Justice, and UNHCR. Her work on trafficking and slavery has been cited by NGOs, policymakers, and Israel’s Supreme Court.

Aké Achi 


Photo of Aké Achi

Aké Achi is a former child labourer from the Ivory Coast with an experience similar to human trafficking for labour in France. He holds a BSc in International Relations from Kingston University and an LLM in International Human Rights Law from Birmingham City University. He is currently studying to become a qualified 'labour migration law' solicitor.

Earlier this year, Aké was elected to the Executive Committee of the Human Rights Lawyers Association. His experience in the labour movement led him to start the Litigant In-person Services to support unrepresented migrant workers because their issues are not top priority Trade Unions. In 2022, he received Barbri Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE) Public Interest Scholarship. Aké also set up the Black Europeans Working Group, which led to the formation of the Black Europeans Organisation to Tackle Bureaucratic Discrimination against EU Citizens from BAME backgrounds. He is also working with his brother, a former child labourer on a cocoa farm, on Kidz At Work project, an awareness-raising campaign to highlight the negative impact of the EU blanket ban on child labour and products made using child labour, which they argue will exacerbate vulnerability to the worst form of exploitation.

Found within

Human Rights Law