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Conor is a founder member of Matrix and among our first academic members. His practice as a barrister is primarily in human rights law and in public law, in addition to which he has developed a specialism in the law and practice of war pensions, representing many ex-servicemen in litigation against the Ministry of Defence. He has appeared in the High Court, the Court of Appeal and the House of Lords. Conor has been a frequent adviser to judges, practitioners and public authorities on the implications of the Human Rights Act. He has also recently been a consultant for BP, analyzing 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 and Director of LSE’s Institute of Public Affairs at the London School of Economics where he also was, for seven years, Director of the Centre for the Study of Human Rights, an inter-disciplinary research centre.

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 pollution 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 in King’s College, where he developed human rights law into one of the most popular options in the undergraduate law course well before the subject became central to UK jurisprudence. He became a professor in Kings in 1995 and moved to 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.

Conor has published many books and articles on terrorism, civil liberties and human rights, some with Keith Ewing (his former colleague at King’s) eg. Freedom under Thatcher (1990); The Struggle for Civil Liberties (2000), and others as sole author eg. Terror (1991) and Principles of Human Rights Adjudication (2004). In 2005, he gave the prestigious Hamlyn lectures, afterwards published as a book Can Human Rights Survive? (2006). His Civil Liberties book was published in 2007 and a collection of his essays appeared in 2008. In February 2011 Conor completed his serialized book on the web, The Rights Future. His most recent books include Debating Social Rights (with Virginia Mantouvalou Hart, 2011) and Liberty and Security (Polity, February 2013). In November 2012 his Cambridge Companion to Human Rights Law (co-edited with Costas Douzinas) was published by Cambridge University Press.

Conor has given specialist evidence before various parliamentary committees. He is a Fellow of the British Academy and a bencher of the Middle Temple. He has received honorary degrees from Roehampton and Brunel universities.


“a leading academic authority on human rights”.

Chambers and Partners 2010

“One of the most knowledgeable and high profile authorities on human rights law”.

Chambers and Partners 2009