Biography

Mikayla is an MPhil candidate in public international law at the University of Oxford. She is a scholar at Worcester College and Junior Dean at Mansfield College. Her MPhil thesis is about the ‘humane treatment obligation’ in Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions of 1949. She is dually supervised by Professors Lavanya Rajamani and Antonios Tzanakopolous from the Law Faculty. She is a qualified Australian lawyer and holds law degrees from Bond University, Australia (LL.B.), the Australian National University (GDLP), and the University of Oxford (BCL). 

Before coming to Oxford, Mikayla studied on exchange at Leiden University, practiced in law, and was a Teaching Fellow in Law at her alma mater. She also worked as a Foreign Law Clerk to (the then) Justice/Vice President Salim Joubran of the Supreme Court of Israel. While at Oxford, she specialised in public international law on the BCL, and has undertaken subjects in jurisprudence, human rights, socio-legal studies, and legal research methods. She taught on the 2021 Summer Programme for 'Oxford Introduction to Law in the UK' as a tutor and Cohort Leader in Human Rights, under the supervision of Professor Matt Dyson and in the assistance of Professor Sandy Fredman. She has been a Legal Researcher for the Oxford Pro-Bono Publico on Judicial Independence in Military Courts, under the supervision of Judge Theodor Meron, and on Self-Determination Referendums (advising West Papua). Currently, she is Research Assistant for Federica D’Alessandra at the Blavatnik School of Government, who is Executive Director of both the Oxford Programme on International Peace & Security, and Oxford Institute for Ethics, Law and Armed Conflict (ELAC). Mikayla is also Editorial Assistant for the Global Community Yearbook on International Law and Jurisprudence, with board members such as the International Court of Justice Judge Antônio Augusto Cançado Trindade, and for Essex Court Chambers to contribute to the European Human Rights Reports.

Mikayla is interested in identifying the minimum requirements of the humane treatment obligation under international humanitarian and human rights law. Through her work, she intends to induce objective rules from positive law (what law is) about humane treatment, and to explore how these correspond to the question in jurisprudence (why law is) on the content of dignity. She will aim to use these rules for policy guidance on how States are to humanely treat people in detention, regardless of detainees' criminal status and by virtue of their dignity as human persons. Thereafter, she intends to transpose these objective rules to a new case-study worked on at Stanford University as a SPILS Fellow, leading to policy guidance on how States are to humanely treat women in North Africa and the Middle East under Shari'a regimes. Her first case-study is based in Tunisia. This will involve looking at how the positive obligations in the Istanbul Convention can be implemented without compromising Shari'a principles while still in accordance with the minimum requirements of humane treatment.

Moreover, Mikayla's research is based in international law. It specifically looks at how international law can help enhance the humane treatment of people. Her research thus intersects positive/doctrinal/international rules of law, with socio-legal theory, comparative human rights law and jurisprudence. Other than the Duke Humfrey’s library at Oxford, Mikayla's favourite places to study are the Peace Palace library in The Hague and The National Diet library in Tokyo, Japan. Mikayla enjoys walks in the forest and along the ocean, quality wine & dine time, deep-thinking talks, people who are authentically themselves and are free to show it, early mornings, the violin, ballet, sport, meadows and horses. Feel free to drop her a line at: mikayla.brier-mills@law.ox.ac.uk.

Publications

Recent additions

Journal Article (2)

Research Interests

Law-making in public international law, specifically treaty law; International human rights & humanitarian law; How to advise States on the implementation on positive obligations to ensure the humane treatment of people; State responsibility; Jurisprudence (why law is law); Sociology of law (how people behave in response to law).

Research projects