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Conor is a founder member of Matrix and was among the set’s first academic members. His practice as a barrister is primarily in human rights law and in public law, together with work in the field of corporate social responsibility. Conor has appeared in the High Court, the Court of Appeal and the House of Lords, and has also been a frequent adviser to judges, practitioners and public authorities on the implications of the Human Rights Act, and on rights litigation generally. As a consultant for BP, he conducted a major study into the human rights aspects of their development of Iraq’s Rumaila oilfield.

Apart from his work at the Bar, Conor is Professor of Human Rights Law at the London School of Economics (LSE) where he has been Director of its Centre for the Study of Human Rights and Institute of Public Affairs. He was named as one of The Observer’s Top 300 Intellectuals in 2011, and one of The Time’s 100 most influential lawyers in 2012. He is a Fellow of the British Academy where he is now Vice-President for Social Sciences, a Bencher of Middle Temple and of the King’s Inn, and has Honorary Degrees from Brunel and Roehampton universities, University College Dublin in Ireland and Sacred Heart University in the United States. In 2021 he was appointed an honorary QC in recognition of his work in his various fields.  Conor is also an experienced and effective public speaker and debate chair. He has been involved in events related to a number of international organisations and companies. In late June 2016, he published his latest book on human rights law, On Fantasy Island, Britain, Europe and Human Rights (Oxford University Press). An analysis of the role of judges in the use of torture by the UK state was published in the Modern Law Review in early 2021.


  • Background

    Born in Ireland, Conor studied law at University College Dublin and then qualified as a solicitor in Ireland. He went to Cambridge in 1980 to study for a Master’s Degree, then stayed on to complete a PhD on the role of the courts in the development of environmental law in England and Wales. In 1983 he became a fellow of Emmanuel College and was later appointed to a lectureship at the University of Cambridge. In 1990 Conor moved to the School of Law at King’s College London, where he developed human rights law into one of the most popular options on the undergraduate law course well before the subject became central to UK jurisprudence. He moved to the LSE in 2002 to take up his position as the inaugural Rausing Director of LSE’s then newly established Centre for the Study of Human Rights. In 2009 he moved across from the Centre to LSE’s Law Department, and was head of LSE’s Institute of Public Affairs from 2012 – 2017.

  • Speeches

    Conor has spoken to a very wide range of organisations, including: the Administrative Bar Association; the Government Legal Services; the senior judiciary in England and Wales; the senior judiciary (Ireland); the British army; the Metropolitan Police Service; and various other government departments, international organisations and many nongovernmental organisations.

    Conor has spoken at many conferences on human rights around the world and has been a visiting professor at law schools in the United States and Australia.

    In addition, he is experienced in speaking a corporate events and facilitating internal discussion within business teams and departments.

  • Professional Involvements

    Society of Legal Scholars

  • Publications

    Conor has also given specialist evidence before various parliamentary committees. He has written a serialized book on the web, accessible at

    Conor’s books include:

    On Fantasy Island. Britain, Strasbourg and Human Rights (Oxford University Press, 2016)

    The Meanings of Human Rights (with Costas Douzinas eds) Cambridge University Press, 2014

    Liberty and Security (Polity Press, February 2013)

    Cambridge Companion to Human Rights Law (with Costas Douzinas, eds) (Cambridge University Press, November 2012)

    Debating Social Rights (with Virginia Mantouvalou) (Hart Publishing 2011)

    The Rights Future ( (web book, serialized October 2010-February 2011)

    Essays on Human Rights and Terrorism, Conor Gearty (May 2008)

    Civil Liberties, Conor Gearty (Oxford University Press, 2007, 214pp)

    Can Human Rights Survive?, Conor Gearty (CUP, 2006, 169PP)

    Principles of Human Rights Adjudication, C A Gearty (Oxford University Press, 2004)

    Insolvency Practice and the Human Rights Act 1998, C A Gearty and S Davies (Jordans, 2000, 105pp)

    A New Life for Health The Commission on the NHS, W Hutton, K Binmore, C Gearty, S Parsons, A Pollock, J Struthers, S Weir and S Thornton (Vintage original, 2000, 104pp)

    The Future of Terrorism, C A Gearty (Phoenix, 1997, circa 40pp)

    Terrorism and the Rule of Law, C A Gearty and J A Kimbell (CLRU, 1995, 75pp)

    The Struggle for Civil Liberties (with Keith Ewing) Oxford University Press, 2000

    Terror, Faber and Faber, 1991

    Freedom Under Thatcher (with Keith Ewing) Oxford University Press 1990

    Edited books:

    Crime, Social Control and Human Rights. From Moral Panics to States of Denial. Essays in honour of Stanley Cohen, David Downes, P Rock, C Chinkin and C Gearty (eds) (Willan Publishing, 2007, 472pp)

    European Civil Liberties and the European Convention on Human Rights: A Comparative Study, C A Gearty (ed) (Martinus Nijhoff, The Hague, 1997, 391pp) also ch.2 on the United Kingdom

    Terrorism, C A Gearty (ed) (International Library of Criminology, Criminal Justice and Penology, Dartmouth 1996, 574pp) with 24pp introduction by the editor

    Understanding Human Rights, C A Gearty and A Tomkins (eds) (Pinter, 1996 and 1999(pb) 643pp)

    Human Rights and Labour Law: Essays for Paul O’Higgins, K D Ewing, C A Gearty and B A Hepple (eds) (Mansell, 1994) also ch.8 ‘Democracy and a Bill of Rights: Some Lessons from Ireland’

    Conor has also given specialist evidence before various parliamentary committees. He has written a serialized book on the web, accessible at

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