We are seeking to fill two full-time positions as part of the ERC-funded research project “DISSECT: Evidence in International Human Rights Adjudication” (ERC-AdG-2018-834044)
These positions will be filled at either doctoral or post-doctorate level, as appropriate in view of the CV and experience of the candidates. If the selected candidate is a PhD candidate, the post is for 40 months. If the selected candidate is a post-doctoral fellow, the post is for 30 months (with the possibility of a limited extension in some circumstances). If you apply for a PhD position, you will have a MA in Law or a relevant Social Sciences discipline. As part of a research team that explores together evidence in international human rights adjudication, your task will be to investigate, from both a legal and a social perspective, the evidence regime developed at one of the following two institutions: the European Court of Human Rights or the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. You will have good prior knowledge of the court’s case law, which you will use and extend in order to identify legal issues such as the burden and the assessment of proof. You will conduct fieldwork including interviews with judges, legal representatives, applicants and other parties, in order to explore the concrete conditions of the evidence regime. You will devise methods of enquiry in collaboration with the other members of the research team and share your findings with the research team on a regular basis. If you are a doctoral candidate, you will write a PhD thesis. If you are a post-doctoral fellow, you will write academic publications. You will also attend academic conferences and participate in the dissemination of the findings of the research project. English will be your main language of work. Ideally you should be able to conduct some of your research in French (if you study the European Court of Human Rights) or Spanish (if you study the Inter-American Court of Human Rights). If you apply for a post-doc position, you will have a PhD in Law or a relevant Social Sciences discipline. The postholders will become members of the Human Rights Centre at the Faculty of Law and Criminology.
DESCRIPTION OF THE BROADER RESEARCH PROJECT
Evidence is at the heart of adjudication, and adjudication at the heart of the international protection of human rights. Yet evidence in international human rights (IHR) adjudication remains to be comprehensively studied.
DISSECT captures the evidentiary regimes in place in the world’s three regional human rights courts and in UN human rights quasi-judicial bodies.
It sets itself four main tasks:
- To examine from a purely legal perspective the formal and informal rules and practices (‘regime’) which govern the treatment of evidence in IHR adjudication - burden and standard of proof and evidence admissibility, collection, submission, assessment and scope; to do so across institutions, various types of complaints, and the history of the institution.
- To examine the political underpinnings and uses of the IHR evidentiary regime – such as, for example, the dismissal of a politically sensitive complaint on the pretext that it was not sufficiently evidenced by the victim, even though the facts were arguably incontrovertible.
- Identifying ‘best’ and ‘worst’ practices and generate specific recommendations for use in IHR adjudication.
- Developing new insights on evidence, truth and power and thus creating a new strand in Critical Legal Studies.
DISSECT will harness legal doctrinal methods of research. It will also study the international human rights evidentiary regime as a social phenomenon and use social sciences research methods.
DISSECT intends to support international human rights adjudicatory bodies who are always at risk of losing their legitimacy if they cannot demonstrate that they are acting logically, consistently and fairly. It also seeks to benefit victims of human rights abuse who seek international redress without knowing exactly what evidence is required of them. Current concerns about ‘alt-truth’ and ‘truth decay’ make its subject of enquiry particularly timely.
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