Students Staff

17 March 2016

Human rights lawyer wins top international prize

Picture of Professor Lorna McGregor

Professor Lorna McGregor

Professor Lorna McGregor, of the University of Essex, has been awarded a top journal prize and commended for her “ambitious, integrative approach” to understanding and seeking justice for victims of human rights violations.

Professor McGregor was named as the recipient of the Antonio Cassese Prize for International Criminal Law Studies by the Journal of International Criminal Justice this week.

The biennial prize awards €15,000 to the author of the most original and innovative paper published in the Journal. Shortlisted authors have to submit a research or publication proposal in the field of international criminal law.

Professor McGregor, who is Director of Essex’s world-leading Human Rights Centre, was shortlisted for her paper on foreign state immunity; which prevents victims of crimes under international law, such as torture, suing foreign states and their officials for compensation where it is not possible to bring a case in that foreign state’s own courts.

Her winning project proposal will explore whether the current system of remedies for victims of crimes under international law is sufficient, and whether and how barriers to access to justice can be overcome and gaps filled.

Professor McGregor said: “I am absolutely delighted to have received this award, particularly as it is in memory of Professor Antonio Cassese, who played such an influential and leading role in the development of public international law and international criminal law specifically as a renowned scholar and practitioner.”

Announcing the award in the Journal, its Board of Editors said that Professor McGregor’s research is characterised by “an ambitious, integrative approach to the search for a comprehensive system, as opposed to a patchwork of remedies to dealing with reparations and restitution for victims of violations of international humanitarian and human rights law.”

They added that they believe “her work…will contribute to a better understanding of the role of international criminal justice in the resolution of disputes.”

Professor McGregor, a former legal adviser at REDRESS and the International Bar Association, was appointed Director of the Essex Human Rights Centre in 2013. She has extensive international experience working on human rights issues, particularly torture, access to justice and human trafficking, and is co-Director of Essex’s ESRC-funded Human Rights and Big Data Technology Project. In November 2013, working with Essex colleague Dr Clara Sandoval, she helped secure a landmark judgement, upholding the right to justice and reparations, for Leopoldo García Lucero, an exiled torture survivor from Pinochet-era Chile.

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