Nicholas Bamforth

Nick BamforthI have been Fellow in Law at Queen’s since 1999. As a faculty member, I have previously served as Associate Dean for Undergraduates for one year (2018-19), and at university level I have been an elected member of the University Council (2006-2010), Junior Proctor (2010-11) and an elected member of the Nominating Committee for the Vice-Chancellorship. Within my College, I was Secretary of the Governing Body from 2004-10 and 2012-19, and since then I have been Statutes and Bylaws Officer (I believe the only other Queen’s Fellow to have done the Secretaryship job for as long was twentieth-century constitutional theorist Geoffrey Marshall).   

 My research and teaching interests lie in constitutional law, public law and human rights law, including in particular non-discrimination. I have authored or co-authored three books on discrimination (two relating specifically to sexual orientation discrimination) and I am currently working on a co-authored text on UK human rights law and on a comparative monograph on judicial arguments concerning same-sex marriage.

 The Associate Dean for Equality and Diversity role is something new and forward-looking, building on some excellent foundations previously set by colleagues. When studying Law as an undergraduate and then on the BCL, a topic which particularly interested me was the extent to which the legal system’s formal equality led in practice to different groups being treated in a fair and dignified fashion. This concern was probably shaped by studying and reflecting on the law’s formal features at the same time as coming out as a gay man and becoming increasingly aware of the practical consequences of having an underpinning medical condition (type 1 diabetes). Practical matters of this type have influenced my subsequent thinking about law and particular areas of law, and it is perhaps an interesting question to consider whether such a link was inevitable and what the answer tells us about how we understand the nature of law.  

In any event, I hope that the creation of the Associate Dean for Equality and Diversity role will have important practical consequences within the faculty, bringing equality and diversity issues to the forefront in all our considerations.