Kirsten McConnachie


  • 0.16A Earlham Hall

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Personal profile

Academic Background

I joined UEA as a Senior Lecturer in Law in April 2018, having previously held posts at the University of Warwick (Assistant Professor, 2015- 2018), University of Oxford’s Refugee Studies Centre (Junior Research Fellow, 2012-2015), and the University of Edinburgh (Research Fellow 2011-2012). I studied at Queen's University Belfast (PhD in Law), University of Nottingham (LLM in the Law of Armed Conflict) and the University of Glasgow (LLB in Scots Law).

I am currently working on a Leverhulme-funded project to conduct a socio-legal analysis of community land ownership in Scotland. 

I have extensive research expertise in refugee studies, particularly on refugee-led governance systems. I have a particular regional interest in southeast Asia, having worked first with Karen refugees living in camps in Thailand and more recently with ethnic Chin refugees in Malaysia and India. My book, Governing Refugees (Routledge 2014), analysed governance and justice in refugee camps in Thailand and was awarded the Socio-Legal Studies Association early career book prize.  I have also published on topics including governance by armed groups; the history and management of refugee camps; legal pluralism and non-state justice systems; forced migration in southeast Asia; the role of victims in transitional justice; and constitutional reform. A common thread in this work is a focus on pluralistic governance and on the role of non-state actors in governance.

I have been interviewed by media as an expert on refugee issues and on Burma/Myanmar (including BBC World Service, BBC Asian News Service, Channel News Asia, France News 24 and Al-Jazeera) and have written for online media including The Conversation, openDemocracy, The Diplomat, Lacuna, and The Muslim Debate.

I am a Research Associate of the University of Oxford's Refugee Studies Centre. I am an editorial board member of the Journal of Human Rights Practice, International Journal of Refugee Law (where I am also a book reviews editor) and of Social and Legal Studies. I am a series editor for Berghahn Books Forced Migration series (with Tom Scott-Smith) and would be happy to discuss potential proposals for the series. 

Key Research Interests

Refugee studies, particularly the governance of forced migration; Burma/Myanmar politics, with a particular focus on displacement; socio-legal studies; criminology, legal anthropology, particularly informal/non-state justice systems and legal pluralism; transitional justice; research methods and ethnography.  


Administrative Posts

Associate Dean of Postgraduate Research, Social Sciences Faculty

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions


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