St Anne's College

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Liora Lazarus, BA (UCT), LLB (LSE), DPhil (Oxon), is an Associate Professor in Law, a Fellow of St. Anne's College, and Head of Research at the Bonavero Institute of Human Rights.Born and raised in South Africa, she studied African Economic History at UCT and Law at the LSE. From 1994-95 she was a Fellow of the Max Planck Institute for Foreign and International Criminal Law, Freiburg, Germany. She went to Oxford in 1995 to write her doctorate at Balliol College, after which she went on to become a law fellow at St Anne's College in 2000.


Always comparative, and cutting across a range of legal fields (including legal theory, human rights, criminology and criminal justice, international and constitutional law) Liora's scholarship sits at the interface between security, the rule of law and fundamental rights.  Her first monograph,  Contrasting Prisoners' Rights (OUP), and the article ‘Conceptions of Liberty Deprivation’, (Modern Law Review) are leading works in the field of prisoners’ rights and cited internationally. Since 2006, her research has focused mostly on the broader relationship between security and fundamental rights. The results of this scholarship have been disseminated in a range of journal articles including International Legal Materials, book chapters in prestigious edited collections such as the The Philosophical Foundations of Human Rights and the Max Planck Encyclopeadia in Comparative Constitutional Law (OUP), and other well-established legal blog sites such as EJIL talk and Opinio Juris. The themes are also reflected in two popular edited collections that have published with Hart Publishing: Security and Human Rights (with Benjamin Goold) (now forthcoming in a 2nd edn) and Reasoning Rights (with Christopher McCrudden and Nigel Bowles). She is currently contracted to write two monographs – Securing Legality and Juridifying Security – with Hart Publishing.  Her work received major support through her British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship (2013-14) and the Oxford Martin Programme on Human Rights For Future Generations (2015-2017).  


Liora has pionered three courses in her time at Oxford:  Human Rights Law (Undergraduate), Criminal Justice Security and Human Rights  (BCL) and Comparative Criminal Justice, Security and Human Rights  (MSc Criminology).  She has supervised thirty-nine graduate dissertations (DPhil, MPhil, BCL and MSc dissertations) in these fields.  

Public Interest

Throughout her career, Liora has sought to balance academic research with public interest work. She completed two public reports for the UK Ministry of Justice on balancing public protection with human rights, and on the relationship between rights and responsibilities.   She also produced a major report, with Oxford colleagues, on the evolution of fundamental rights for the EU Parliament.  She has acted as an advisor to the UK Stern Review on Rape Complaints (2013), was asked to give evidence to the Parliamentary Modern Slavery Bill Committee (2014), and was part of an International Committee of Experts to the Basque Working Group on Treatment of Political Detainees (2014). 

Liora co-founded and is actively involved in the work of Oxford Pro Bono Publico.  She is also an Associate of the Oxford Human Rights Hub and was closely involved with Helena Kennedy’s work to establish the Bonavero Institute of Human Rights which is committed to bridging human rights scholarship and public impact. The influence of Liora's research in the public sphere was explored in an Oxford Impact Video on her work.

University Administration

Liora acted as the Law Faculty's first admissions co-ordinator from 2002 - 2005.  During that time she introduced structural reforms in order to co-ordinate admissions across colleges within the Faculty, and developed the Law National Aptitude Test (LNAT) with other universities nationally.  In 2006, Liora was seconded to the Vice-Chancellor's Office to act as the drafting secretary to the Governance Working Party. In that year, she drafted the White Paper on University Governance on their behalf working closely with the Vice Chancellor and the Governance Working Party.   Liora acted as college Dean of St. Anne’s College from 2010 to 2013 and was Chair of the LNAT from 2009 to 2011. In November 2017, Liora was appointed the Law Faculty's first Race Equality Co-Ordinator, and in 2018 she was appointed Head of Research at the Bonavero Institute of Human Rights.


Liora is Head of Research and Academic Affiliate of the Bonavero Institute of Human Rights at Oxford and a Member of Oxford's Centre for Criminological Research. She is a Visiting Professor in Law at Goldsmiths, University of London and sits on the Advisory Board of the Max Planck Encyclopedia of Comparative Constitutional Law.  Liora founded and now acts as the series editor for the Hart Studies in Security and Justice. She is an articles editor for the Oxford Journal of Legal Studies. She was previously the book review editor of the European Human Rights Law Review, and continues to sit on the editorial board of the Journal of Human Rights Practice.  She is a regular reviewer of research applications for the British Academy. In 2018, Liora held the Douglas McK Brown Visiting Chair in Law at the Peter Allard School of Law, University of British Columbia.  Previously, she has held visiting fellowships at the Gilbert and Tobin Centre for Public Law at UNSW, Sydney; and a research association at the Faculty of Law, University of Cape Town.  Outside of legal academia, Liora is an Associate Member of the Institute of Cultural Inquiry in Berlin. 

You can follow Liora's posts on all aspects of her work on Facebook and Twitter. You can also follow her on Liora Lazarus on ResearchGate">Research Gate and and SSRN.


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  • L Lazarus, Shreya Atrey, Stefan Theil and Elizabeth Stubbins-Bates and others, A Preliminary Human Rights Assessment of Legislative and Regulatory Responses to the COVID-19 Pandemic across 11 Jurisdictions (Bonavero Institute of Human Rights 2020)
    Along with the threats to life, health and the economy, one of the biggest dangers of this pandemic is the collapse of a culture of human rights and the rule of law. The Bonavero Institute of Human Rights has conducted a preliminary human rights analysis of 11 jurisdictions from the Global North and South. The report assesses the best practices and the human rights concerns of these States, and highlights trends across them. The report was compiled by Liora Lazarus, and includes contributions from Bonavero members Stefan Theil, Lisa Hsin, Shreya Atrey, Christos Kypraios, Ekaterina Aristova, Sanya Samtani, Nick Friedman and Elizabeth Stubbins Bates, as well as from Lionel Nichols (Adjunct Researcher at the University of Tasmania)
  • L Lazarus, 'Insecurity and Human Rights' in Dapo Akande, Jaakko Kuosmanen and Dominic Roser (eds), Human Rights and 21st Century Challenges: Poverty, Conflict and the Environment (Oxford University Press 2020)
    Explores whether we can develop a notion of 'tolerable insecurity' which can be found in the courts balancing between positive rights to security, and negative rights to state limitation.
  • L Lazarus, 'Secrecy as a Meta-Paradigmatic Challenge' in Benjamin Goold and Liora Lazarus (eds), Security and Human Rights (Hart Publishing 2019)
  • L Lazarus, 'Doing Violence to the Rule of Law' (2018) Douglas McK Brown Lecture, Peter Allard School of Law, University of British Columbia
    This lecture is based on ongoing work towards the completion of my book Securing Legality. It demonstrates a paradigmatic shift towards the securitization of the rule of law in international practice. It showcases a comprehensive analysis of documentation referring to the rule of law within both international agencies and domestic government departments. It also refers to interviews conducted with actors who are responsible for rule of law work within these agencies. These interviews explore and test the analysis of the primary sources produced by their agencies. At the end of the lecture I address the theoretical concerns raised by this move towards a securitized conception of the rule of law, and some scholarly responses in this field.
  • L Lazarus, 'The Right to Security' in (ed), Max Planck Encyclopedia of Comparative Constitutional Law (Oxford University Press 2017)
  • L Lazarus and Natasha Simonsen, 'Democratic Deliberation and Judicial Review' in Murray Hunt (ed), Parliament and Human Rights: Redressing the Democratic Deficit (Oxford University Press 2015)
    This chapter argues provides a model which Courts could apply in their assessment of Parliamentary deliberation of rights limiting legislation. It argues for such a transparent assessment as a prerequisite of the exercise of judicial deference.
  • L Lazarus, 'The Right to Security' in Rowan Cruft, Matthew Liao and Massimo Renzo (eds), The Philosophical Foundations of Human Rights (Oxford University Press 2015)
    This paper surveys and critiques the philosophical theories that engage with and support a moral right to security.
  • L Lazarus, Chris McCrudden and Nigel Bowles (eds), Reasoning Rights: Comparative Judicial Engagement (Hart Publishing 2014)
    This collection examines judicial engagement with human rights from a comparative perspective. It is divided into four sections: proportionality, security and human rights, religion and human rights and socio-economic rights.
  • Miles Jackson, Tamas Szigeti and L Lazarus, Report for Hungarian Civil Liberties Union on Comparative Hate Crime (Oxford Pro Bono Publico 2014)
    This research report offers a comparative analysis of the application of hate crime laws to victims who belong to non-disadvantaged or majority groups in the surveyed jurisdictions. The report was commissioned by by the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union (HCLU), a Budapest-based human rights and civil liberties NGO.
  • Eirik Bjorge, Vrinda Bhandari, Eleanor Mitchell, Kate Mitchell and L Lazarus, Report for UN Special Rapporteur on Arbitrary Detention on Rights of Persons Deprived of their Liberty (Oxford Pro Bono Publico 2014)
    This is a report prepared by Oxford Pro Bono Publico (‘OPBP’) for the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Arbitrary Detention. The Special Rapporteur has been tasked by the United Nations Human Rights Council with preparing a set of principles and guidelines on ‘remedies and procedures on the right of anyone deprived of his or her liberty by arrest or detention to bring proceedings before a court’.
  • Kate Mitchell, Tamas Szigeti and L Lazarus, Comparative Study for Blackstone Chambers on Mass Surveillance and Civil Liberties (Oxford Pro Bono Publico 2013)
    This report explores the existing legal frameworks governing national security programmes of mass surveillance, in light of the recently discovered PRISM and TEMPORA programmes in the United States (US) and United Kingdom. The report was prepared to support the work of Tom Hickman and Ravi Mehta of Blackstone Chambers in August 2013.
  • L Lazarus and Ryan Goss, 'Criminal Justice under the UK Human Rights Act: dynamic interaction between domestic and international law' (2013) Singapore Academy of Law Journal
    The article demonstrates how, both before and after the HRA, UK courts and legislators have sought to reconcile common law approaches to protecting rights and liberties with the approaches of the Strasbourg Court. It uses the development of the case law as an insight into a dynamic institutional dialogue: how interaction with the ECtHR has shaped the way that UK courts, governments and Parliament have acted on criminal justice issues and vice versa.
  • L Lazarus, 'Positive Obligations and Criminal Justice: Duties to Protect or Coerce' in Julian Roberts and Lucia Zedner (eds), Principled Approaches to Criminal Law and Criminal Justice: Essays in Honour of Professor Andrew Ashworth (Oxford University Press 2012)
    Human rights advocates internationally, and supporters of socio-economic rights, have battled for many years to get States and courts to accept that human rights give rise to positive obligations upon States and that such obligations ought to be justiciable in principle. Much of the rhetoric deployed in this campaign has focused on the importance of protecting and respecting basic human needs and capabilities, and ensuring that individuals enjoy a basic level of subsistence in order to secure the enjoyment of all rights. In the context of criminal justice and criminal law: positive obligations are very often cast as duties on the State to protect individuals from the criminal acts of others (protective duties). Very little attention is paid however to the potential for such positive obligations to give rise to what I term ‘coercive duties’. In other words, duties upon the State to coerce individuals through the criminal law, or criminal justice mechanisms, in the name of protecting others from their criminal acts. The coercive aspect of positive obligations comes more sharply into focus when we look at the rhetoric around, and judicial enforcement of ,the right to security. But the development of coercive duties are evident in the positive aspect of other rights too. This chapter explores the ambiguity involved in the growing development of positive rights in the field of criminal law and criminal justice. It dwells briefly on the emerging right to security case law and rhetoric internationally, and goes on to examine cases within the UK and ECHR. The thesis of the chapter is that while some protective duties arising from human rights may be a positive development, the extension of coercive duties on the State to coerce others in the name of another individual’s rights is an overseen and more pernicious part of this development of human rights. The chapter will end by exploring how we reconcile coercive duties arising out of human rights with opposing negative rights protections, or even other protective duties.
  • L Lazarus, 'The Right to Security - Securing Rights or Securitizing Rights' in Dickinson et al (ed), Examining Critical Perspectives on Human Rights (Cambridge University Press 2012)
    This paper examines the rise of the right to security within human rights discourse and its potential to erode human rights more generally. It argues that political discourse around the apparent conflict between security and rights since 9/11 has been complicated by an emerging notion of the 'right to security' as the meta-right (the right of rights). This claim (and the inherent ambiguity of what the right to security requires) has the potential to lead to a 'securitization' of human rights, a process that threatens to erode the traditional foundations of human rights, and human rights themselves. Operating in tandem with this 'securitization' process, the discourse of the right to security has been used to sanitize, or at least to legitimate, coercive security measures. This is a process I refer to as 'righting' security. These two processes combine in complex ways to give security an effective trump claim over other rights.
  • L Lazarus, Adam Tomkins and Helen Fenwick, 'Terrorist asset-freezing - Continuing flaws in the current scheme' (2011) 25 International Review of Law, Computers and Technology 117
    The Terrorist Asset-Freezing etc Act 2010 came into force on 17 December 2010. The 2010 Act repealed the previous Temporary Provisions Act. This article does not purport to provide comprehensive coverage of the Act; it outlines four main areas of concern that arose in respect of the Draft Terrorist Asset-Freezing Bill and that now arise in respect of the Terrorist Asset-Freezing etc Act 2010. In summary, these are as follows: problems of parliamentary scrutiny relating to the scope of the Act; problems relating to the reasonable suspicion test; problems relating to judicial process; problems relating to ECHR rights.
  • Alecia Johns, Hayley Hooper and L Lazarus, Report for JCHR - Supplementary Comparative Research on the use of Secret Evidence in the United States (Oxford Pro Bono Publico 2011)
    This was a follow-up to the 2011 comparative report on secret evidence, requested by the JCHR. It focused on the operation of security-cleared counsel in US habeas corpus proceedings as well as the US doctrine of State secrets privilege in order to help the JCHR whether those aspects of US practice should be adopted in the UK.
  • Anne Carter, Nabiya Syed, Ryan Goss and L Lazarus, Report for JCHR - The Use of Secret Evidence in Judicial Proceedings: A Comparative Survey (Oxford Pro Bono Publico 2011)
    On 19 October 2011 the Government published a Green Paper on Justice and Security that proposes reforms to the use of secret evidence. This research paper by Oxford Pro Bono Publico (OPBP) is intended to assist the Joint Committee of Human Rights (JCHR) in its scrutiny of the Government's proposals in the Green Paper.
  • L Lazarus, Cathryn Costello, Nazila Ghanea-Hercock and Katja Ziegler, The Evolution of Fundamental Rights Charters and Case Law (European Parliament Directorate General for Internal Policies 2011)
    This report examines the human rights protection systems of the United Nations, the Council of Europe and the European Union. It explores the substantive rights, protection mechanisms, modes of engagement within, and the interactions between each system. The report also outlines the protection of minority rights, and the political processes through which human rights and institutions evolve and interact. A series of recommendations are made on how to advance the EU human rights system.
  • L Lazarus, A Tomkins and H Fenwick, Submission in response to HM Treasury: Public Consultation: Draft Terrorist Asset-Freezing Bill (Cm 7852) ( 2010)
  • L Lazarus, 'Inspecting the Tail of the Dog' in Melissa McCarthy (ed), Incarceration and Human Rights (Manchester University Press 2010)
  • Miles Jackson, Patricia Jimenez Kwast and L Lazarus, Memorandum for Reprieve UK and Clive Stafford Smith on Kiyemba v Obama (Oxford Pro Bono Publico 2009)
    This research concerned the content of the writ of habeus corpus as it existed in the UK in 1789
  • Jennifer Robinson and L Lazarus, Report for the UN Special Rapporteur on Business and Human Rights - Obstacles for Victims of Corporate Human Rights Violations (Oxford Pro Bono Publico 2008)
    OPBP prepared this submission to inform the mandate of Professor John Ruggie, the Special Representative of the United Nations' Secretary-General on business and human rights. It explores the obstacles victims of corporate human rights abuse face in accessing justice and obtaining remediation through domestic legal systems either in their own countries where the business operations and human rights abuse takes place or in the countries in which the alleged offending transnational corporation is registered or incorporated. It considers these obstacles in relation to 13 specific jurisdictions: Australia, Canada, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the European Union, France, Germany, India, Malaysia, the People's Republic of China, Russia, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States.
  • L Lazarus, 'Report for UN SR on Business and Human Rights - Obstacles to Justice and Redress for Victims of Corporate Human Rights Abuses ' (2008) Oxford Pro Bono Publico
    OPBP prepared this submission under my supervision to inform the mandate of Professor John Ruggie, the Special Representative of the United Nations' Secretary-General on business and human rights. It explores the obstacles victims of corporate human rights abuse face in accessing justice and obtaining remediation through domestic legal systems either in their own countries where the business operations and human rights abuse takes place or in the countries in which the alleged offending transnational corporation is registered or incorporated. It considers these obstacles in relation to 13 specific jurisdictions: Australia, Canada, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the European Union, France, Germany, India, Malaysia, the People's Republic of China, Russia, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States.
  • L Lazarus, 'Civilizing Security by I Loader and N Walker' (2008) Public Law Winter [Review]
  • L Lazarus, 'Mapping the Right to Security' in Benjamin J Goold and Liora Lazarus (eds), Security and Human Rights (Hart Publishing 2007)
    ISBN: 978-1-84113-608-0
  • Veronika Fikfak and L Lazarus, Legal Research to assist with the drafting of Amendments to the Law on Criminal Procedure of Bosnia-Herzegovina (Oxford Pro Bono Publico 2005)
    This legal research was provided to Judge Malik Hadziomeragic, Judge of the Supreme Court of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and member of Work Group for making a Draft on Amendments to the Law on Criminal Procedure of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Judge Hadziomeragic asked for assistance with several specific research questions about English criminal procedure, as the Work Group is trying to incorporate as much as possible elements of English criminal procedure into its Draft on Amendments.
  • Sarah McCosker, Ben Saul, Deborah Sandler and L Lazarus, Privileged Memo for Clive Stafford Smith for US v AL QOSI (Oxford Public Interest Lawyers 2004)
    This report included specific research questions set to OXPIL by Clive Stafford Smith regarding the charges against Mr. Al Qosi in the Guantanamo Bay military tribunal.
  • L Lazarus, 'Delivering Rights: How the Human Rights Act is Working by J Jowell and J Cooper' (2004) Public Law Winter [Review]

Research projects