Professor James Sweeney


Research Overview

Prof. James A. Sweeney’s research is about the after-effects of conflict: principally human rights in transitional democracies, and the rights of refugees. His latest article is a comparative study of the 'right to truth' in international human rights law. His monograph, 'The European Court of Human Rights in the post-Cold War Era: Universality in Transition' was published in hardback by Routledge in November 2012, and in paperback in 2014. His work on the human rights of failed asylum seekers was cited by the House of Lords in the case of R (on the application of M) v Slough BC [2008] UKHL 52, by the Court of Appeal in R. (on the application of SL) v Westminster City Council [2011] EWCA Civ 954, and most recently in R. (on the application of Refugee Action) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2014] EWHC 1033 (Admin). In the latter case Home Secretary Theresa May was found to have acted irrationally by freezing the level of cash support to be provided to asylum seekers to meet their essential living needs, for the financial year 2013/14, at the rates which had applied since 2011.

Prof. Sweeney has acted as an expert advisor to the Council of Europe in relation to freedom of assembly projects in Armenia, Azerbaijan (with the Venice Commission), Georgia, and Kosovo. In March 2011 he delivered human rights legal training to judges of the Ukrainian Supreme Court as part of a UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office project. Likewise in 2013 and 2014 he convened a series of workshops on human rights and judicial interpretation for the Constitutional and Supreme Courts of Kosovo, on behalf of the FCO. Throughout 2009 he acted as an expert advisor to the EU's Committee of the Regions as it prepared its Opinion on reforms to the Common European Asylum System.

Prof. Sweeney joined Lancaster University Law School in 2013. Prior to that, he has worked at Durham, Newcastle and Hull. From 2011-2013 he was founding Deputy Director of Durham Global Security Institute.

The Elusive Right to Truth in Transitional Human Rights Jurisprudence
Sweeney, J.A. 1/04/2018 In: International and Comparative Law Quarterly. 67, 2, p. 353-387. 35 p.
Journal article

A 'credible' response to persons fleeing armed conflict
Sweeney, J.A. 04/2016 In: The Protection of Persons Fleeing Armed Conflict and Other Situations of Violence. Brussels : Larcier p. 81-103. 23 p.
Chapter (peer-reviewed)

International law and post-conflict reconstruction policy
Saul, M., Sweeney, J. 26/05/2015 London : Routledge. 322 p. ISBN: 9781138780118.

Law and policy on post-conflict restitution
Sweeney, J. 26/05/2015 In: International law and post-conflict reconstruction policy. London : Routledge p. 286-308. 23 p.
Chapter (peer-reviewed)

Non-retroactivity, candour and ‘transitional relativism’: a response to the ECtHR judgment in Maktouf and Damjanović v. Bosnia and Herzegovina
Sweeney, J. 2014 In: Diritti umani e diritto internazionale. 8, 3, p. 607-622. 16 p.
Journal article

The European Court of Human Rights in the post-Cold War era: universality in transition
Sweeney, J. 30/11/2012 Abingdon : Routledge. 262 p. ISBN: 9780415544337.

Restorative justice and transitional justice at the ECHR
Sweeney, J. 2012 In: International Criminal Law Review. 12, 3, p. 313-337. 25 p.
Journal article

Transitional criminal justice at the ECtHR: implications for the universality of human rights
Sweeney, J. 2012 In: Baltic yearbook of international law. Leiden : Martinus Nijhoff p. 183-210. 18 p.
Chapter (peer-reviewed)

Freedom of religion and democratic transition
Sweeney, J. 2011 In: Transitional jurisprudence and the ECHR. Cambridge : Cambridge University Press p. 103-130. 28 p.
Chapter (peer-reviewed)

The exclusion of (failed) asylum seekers from housing and home: exclusion and oppositional discourse
Fox-O'Mahony, L., Sweeney, J. 06/2010 In: Journal of Law and Society. 37, 2, p. 285-314. 30 p.
Journal article

The idea of home in law: displacement and dispossession
Sweeney, J., Fox-O'Mahony, L. 2010 Farnham : Ashgate Publishing. 248 p. ISBN: 9780754679479. Electronic ISBN: 9781409497356.

Credibility, proof and refugee law
Sweeney, J. 12/2009 In: International Journal of Refugee Law. 21, 4, p. 700-726. 27 p.
Journal article

The human rights of failed asylum seekers in the UK
Sweeney, J. 2008 In: Public Law. 2008, p. 277-301. 25 p.
Journal article

A “margin of appreciation” in the internal market: lessons from the European Court of Human Rights
Sweeney, J. 2007 In: Legal Issues of Economic Integration. 34, p. 27-52. 26 p.
Journal article

The “lure” of facts in asylum appeals: critiquing the practice of judges
Sweeney, J. 2007 In: Applying theory to policy and practice. Farnham : Ashgate Publishing p. 19-35. 17 p. ISBN: 9780754645993. Electronic ISBN: 9781409491132.

Margins of appreciation: cultural relativity and the European Court of Human Rights
Sweeney, J. 1/04/2005 In: International and Comparative Law Quarterly. 54, 2, p. 459-474. 16 p.
Journal article

Divergence and diversity in post-communist European human rights cases
Sweeney, J. 2005 In: Connecticut Journal of International Law. 21, p. 1-40. 40 p.
Journal article