Aoife Nolan is an internationally recognised expert in human rights law, with a particular focus on economic and social rights and children's rights. She is Professor of International Human Rights Law at the School of the Law, University of Nottingham, where she is also Director of the Human Rights Law Centre's Economic and Social Rights Unit. In November 2016, she was elected as a member of the Council of Europe's European Committee of Social Rights, the leading European monitoring mechanism on economic and social rights. In 2018, she was appointed to the Scottish First Minister's Human Rights Leadership Advisory Group (report here) Her books include Children’s Socio-economic Rights, Democracy and the Courts (Hart, 2011), which won the IALT Kevin Boyle Book Prize and was shortlisted for the Society of Legal Scholars Peter Birks Prize for Outstanding Legal Scholarship, Economic and Social Rights after the Global Financial Crisis (CUP, 2014), Human Rights and Public Finance (Hart, 2013) (edited with O’Connell and Harvey), and The United Nations Special Procedures System (Brill) (edited with Freedman and Murphy).
Aoife has worked with and acted as an expert advisor, consultant and trainer to a wide range of international and national bodies and organisations working on human rights law issues, including UN Special Procedures, UN treaty bodies, the Council of Europe, and multiple national human rights institutions. In 2017, she produced a report for the World Bank on ‘Fiscal Constraints and Human Rights: Is there a ‘right’ way to scale down social programmes?’, focused on question of under what circumstances, if any, and, if so, how social programmes can be scaled down in compliance with human rights standards. As Senior Legal Officer with the ESC Rights Litigation Programme of the Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions, she was involved in litigation before a range of domestic and regional human rights bodies, including the South African Constitutional Court, the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, and the European Committee of Social Rights. She was also co-author of the Litigating Economic, Social and Cultural Rights: Legal Practitioners’ Dossier and editor of the Housing and ESC Rights Law Quarterly, a publication aimed at practitioners, civil society advocates and academics. In 2007-8, she was Human Rights Adviser to the Working Group on Economic and Social Rights, including Relevant Equality Issues of the Northern Ireland Bill of Rights Forum. In early 2008, she provided legal advice to members of the International NGO Coalition for an Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. She is a member of the Coordinating Committee of the ESCR-Net Case-Law Database. She has served in an advisory or trustee capacity to a range of civil society organisations including Just Fair (UK), the Global Initiative on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (USA), the Right to Education Project (UK), and ESCR-Net (USA). In 2017, she collaborated with the Equality and Human Rights Commission of Great Britain to produce a widely used series of digital capacity-building tools and resources on economic and social rights aimed at legal practitioners, civil society, policymakers, academics and others.
In addition to previous full-time academic positions at Durham Law School and Queen's University Belfast (where she co-managed a ground-breaking two-year project on human rights budget analysis), she has taught at a range of international institutions, including the Geneva Academy on International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights, the University of Groningen and the Global School on Socio-economic Rights at Harvard University and the University of Oslo. During the course of her research work, she has had visiting positions at Fordham University (USA), Columbia University (USA), Stellenbosch University (South Africa), Queen's University Belfast (UK), the Université Catholique de Louvain (Belgium), UNSW (Australia) and NYU (USA). She is founding coordinator of the Economic and Social Rights Academic Network UKI (ESRAN-UKI) and has been a member of the Coordinating Committee of the Academic Network on the European Social Charter (ANESC-RACSE). She is a member of a number of Editorial Boards, including those of the Human Rights Law Review, the International Human Rights Law Review and the International Journal of Children's Rights.