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Hélène Tyrrell

Helene Tyrrell

Postgraduate Research Student


Thesis title:

Foreign Jurisprudence in (UK) Domestic Human Rights Cases


Professor Kate Malleson and Merris Amos


Hélène graduated from the University of Durham with an LLB (hons) degree in 2007 and remained at Durham for a further year to pursue a Master of Jurisprudence (M.jur) focusing on the use of Strasbourg jurisprudence under s.2 of the Human Rights Act 1998. During that time, Hélène joined the teaching staff as departmental tutor teaching on the Public Law and Human Rights courses. After two years in Paris, she returned to academia as a PhD candidate and Graduate Teaching Assistant in the School of Law at Queen Mary. She is a tutor on the Public Law and Admin Law courses.


Hélène's PhD research is concerned with the use of jurisprudence from foreign domestic courts by UK domestic courts. Such foreign jurisprudence carries no precedential weight; it is strictly 'persuasive' authority. But how persuasive is it? The study questions how often foreign jurisprudence is used, the reasons for which it is used and the consequences of its use.

The parameter for research is restricted to human rights cases. This area of law has been chosen because human rights raise many interesting and divisive issues and, most importantly, because judicial comparativism appears to be more prevalent in human rights cases than in other fields. The practical aspects of using foreign jurisprudence such as source selection, the weight attributed to foreign sources and the factors that lead judges to draw from foreign jurisprudence in the first place, form an integral part of the analysis. Evidence is drawn from a doctrinal analysis of case law and supplemented through interviews with the Lords Justices of Appeal and the Justices of the Supreme Court, as well as their judicial assistants. The research seeks to identify the processes and patterns in the use of foreign jurisprudence in domestic human rights cases. Finally, it seeks to reconcile the findings with the current scheme under the Human Rights Act 1998, as well as with possible amendments, repeal or replacemen of the Human Rights Act pursuant to the continuing Bill of Rights debate.

Research and Teaching Interests:

  • Human Rights
  • Comparative Constitutional Law
  • Constitutional Reform
  • Administrative Law
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