Helen McDermott

Research Fellow, Human Rights for Future Generations Programme (Armed Conflict)

Other affiliations

Faculty of Law


Helen McDermott is a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at the Law Faculty, University of Oxford. As part of the Oxford Martin Programme on Human Rights for Future Generations, Helen is undertaking research on law and armed conflict.

Helen was admitted to the New York State Bar in 2010; she holds a Ph.D. in international human rights law from the Irish Centre for Human Rights, National University of Ireland, Galway, an LL.M. in international criminal law, a Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of Arts.

Before coming to Oxford in January 2015, Helen lectured public international law on the LL.M. programme at Griffith College, Dublin (2014-2015). She has taught modules in international human rights law and international humanitarian law at the Irish Centre for Human Rights, NUI Galway (2011 &2012) and was a Scholar in Residence at the Center for Human Rights & Global Justice, NYU (2014).  In 2010, Helen interned with the Center for Constitutional Rights, NY.

Helen has published articles on aspects of international human rights law, international humanitarian law and the rules on interstate force. Her research interests predominately lie in the relationship between the international legal frameworks and the issue of legal indeterminacy in the context of armed conflict. Helen’s current research seeks to address, ‘what difference, if any, a human rights framework makes in the context of armed conflict?’ This project explores the extraterritorial application of international human rights law; the appropriateness of expanding human rights scrutiny to non-state actors and the practical feasibility of holding non-state armed groups accountable.