Michael Hamilton

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Personal profile


Michael Hamilton joined UEA in 2012 as a Senior Lecturer in Public Protest Law. Previously, he was Associate Professor (2009-12) and Acting Chair of the Human Rights Program (2011-12) at the Legal Studies Department, Central European University, Budapest (where he remains a visiting Professor). Before that, he was Co-Director of the Transitional Justice Institute at the University of Ulster (2008-09), and Lecturer/Senior Lecturer at the Transitional Justice Institute (2004-09).

Michael’s research focuses on the legal protection and regulation of freedom of assembly. He has published in leading peer-reviewed law journals (including the Oxford Journal of Legal Studies, the Human Rights Law Review, the Journal of Human Rights Practice, and the International & Comparative Law Quarterly). 

Michael is Acting Chair of the OSCE-ODIHR Panel of Experts on Freedom of Assembly. Previously, as the Secretary of the Panel, he was lead author of the OSCE-ODIHR – Venice Commission 'Guidelines on Freedom of Peaceful Assembly' (2007; 2010). He has contributed to numerous opinions on draft legislation dealing with public assemblies, through both ODIHR's Legislative Support Unit and the Technical Assistance and Information Exchange instrument of the European Commission (TAIEX).

Together with colleagues at the University of St Andrews and the University of Edinburgh, Michael is part of an interdisciplinary research team exploring the policing of protest at the UN Climate Summit (COP26) in Glasgow (October/November 2021): 'Participation, Protest and Policing at COP26'. He is also a member of the Independent Advisory Group established to advise Police Scotland in relation to the policing of COP26.

In December 2013, he was invited by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to speak at a seminar on 'Effective Measures and Best Practices to Ensure the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights in the Context of Peaceful Protests'. Previously, in September 2011, he was an invited panellist at the UN Human Rights Council (on a session devoted to 'Freedom of Peaceful Assembly').

He was appointed by the Northern Ireland Office as human rights advisor to the 'Strategic Review of Parading' (2007-2010) chaired by Lord Paddy Ashdown, and he has twice presented oral evidence to the Northern Ireland Affairs Select Committee.

Michael obtained an LLB from the University of Kent and an MA in Irish Studies from Queen’s University, Belfast. His doctoral thesis examined the legal regulation of parade disputes in Northern Ireland, focusing on the tensions between community relations and human rights based approaches to their resolution.


Key Research Interests

Michael is interested in the legal protection of freedom of peaceful assembly and in different forms of protest regulation.  He is also interested in free speech jurisprudence, particularly in countries undergoing political transition.  His other research areas include transitional justice and human rights law more generally. 

Michael is willing to supervise students in the following areas: Freedom of Assembly, Freedom of Speech, Human Rights Law.

Key Responsibilities

  • Director of Learning and Teaching (August 2021 -)
  • Postgraduate Research (PGR) Director (January 2014 - July 2021)

Professional Activities

  • Acting Chair of the OSCE-ODIHR Expert Panel on Freedom of Peaceful Assembly (December 2021-)
  • Member of Advisory Group to UNICEF on Developing guidance on policing Assemblies involving children (December 2021-)
  • Member of the Independent Advisory Group to Police Scotland for COP26 (January 2021-)
  • Visiting Professor, Legal Studies Department, Central European University, Budapest (2012-)
  • Member of Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network (EMHRN) Freedom of Assembly Steering Group (2012-2015)
  • Appointed by Northern Ireland Office as Human Rights Advisor to the Strategic Review of Parading in Northern Ireland (2007-2009)

External Activities

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


Recent external collaboration on country/territory level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots or