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Current Research Students A-K

The School of Law has a lively community of postgraduate students undertaking research in a wide variety of legal fields.

Maria Ansbro


BA Hons Psychology, Reading University
MA Applied Social Studies, Oxford University

Maria’s research is examining how usable attachment theory is in work with offenders. Professional training with those who work with offenders (e.g. Probation Officers, Youth Justice workers and the like) tends to be eclectic, and so workers are not specialists in applying any particular brand of psychology. Attachment theory is frequently alluded to in this field, but rarely taken beyond the principle that poor early attachments predispose individuals to poor outcomes later in life. This research will explore whether the rich canon of work under the heading of attachment theory can be modified into usable techniques and intervention. Of particular interest are the concepts of attachment types, and agency as a feature of narrative. Practitioners will be trained in this subject, and supervised in their application of the techniques. Their success or otherwise will then be evaluated.

Maria worked for 13 years as a Probation Officer, specialising in group work with sexual offenders. For the last 10 years she has been teaching at Hertfordshire University. She has published in the field of risk assessment, serious further offences, and the application of attachment theory with offenders.

Ganimete Asllani-Price


LLB (Law with Politics), Queens University Belfast 2008

MSSc  (Criminal Justice), Queens University Belfast 2009 

Ganimete’s research thesis is a continuation of the work she carried out as part of her dissertation while studying for a Master’s Degree. Her dissertation touched briefly upon the shortfalls and inabilities of the United Nations to deal with intrastate conflicts and their aftermath, paying particular attention to the Kosova war.

Ganimete’s research will use the Kosova case to examine the impact of the international intervention in the region. Her research will treat the NATO involvement and the consequent United Nations’ totalitarianism over the Kosova’s territory as two separate components. She is hoping that the findings of her research will be able to show that although the military intervention was inevitable, the extent of the United Nations administration over the territory was not necessary and the negative impacts after a decade of the UN rule outweigh (to a great extend) any progress made in the region.


Sean Columb


BA in English and Psychology (University College Cork)

Higher Diploma in Social Policy (University College Cork)

LLM in Human Rights and Criminal Justice (Queen’s University Belfast)

Seán’s research focus is on organ trafficking.  This study will identify gaps in current law and policy at an international, regional and national level; making recommendations for more effective strategies to counter the prevailing abuse of justice in the burgeoning body parts industry. Seán will explore how the illicit market in organs developed and examine how property rights attached to the body will effect future efforts to regulate the supply/demand dynamic at the crux of the issue.   

Brendan Coyle


LLB Law, Queen’s University Belfast
MSSc Criminology (with Distinction), Queen’s University Belfast

Having completed an LLB at QUB in 2008, Brendan continued his studies at the university and went on to graduate with an MSSc in Criminology in 2009.

The current working title of Brendan’s PhD project is, ‘Limited and Persistent Seductions: the seductions of crime across the life course’. His research will seek to explore the manner in which developmental factors impact on the phenomenology of crime. By examining the changes in the experiential dynamics of crime across the life course, the study proposes to incorporate the analytic methods of two heretofore distinct areas of criminology.

Rebecca Dudley 


BA Yale University (1983)
M Div Union Theological Seminary, Columbia University (1991)
LLM Queen’s University Belfast (2008)

Rebecca is researching domestic violence and ‘no recourse to public funds,’ a policy barrier for some victims of domestic violence to find support, safety and justice.  Engaged on policy and advocacy to challenge violence against women since 2002, Rebecca has worked at Women’s Aid, the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission, and (currently) within the criminal justice system.  Her LLM dissertation was titled, ‘Prostitution, Trafficking and the Law: A Critical Assessment of Measures to Reduce Demand for Commercial Sexual Exploitation.’  Originally from Chicago, she is pursuing her doctorate part-time.

Lizzie Fusco


LLB (Hons) Law, University of Kent, 2008
LLM in International Commercial Law with Environmental Law and Policy, University of Kent, 2009
Professional Diploma in Legal Practice, Nottingham Law School, 2010 

Through her LLM, Lizzie developed an interest in nature conservation law. Her doctoral research examines the case for and viability of an ecosystem services approach towards tackling conservation. The approach involves economically valuing the direct benefits that humans receive from ecosystems as an incentive for conservation. This will be critically assessed through exploring how ecosystem services are beginning to be integrated in policy and future prospects for an ecosystem services informed legal framework. 

Analysis will be carried out on the character of both “leader” and “laggard” nations, in terms of their willingness, capacity and success in implementing new environmental legislation, within the context of ecosystem services. The findings will be compared to the legal and political framework of Northern Ireland, as a case study to assess the ultimate feasibility and practicality of ecosystem services legislation. 

Neil Graffin

mail G1418102@qub.ac.uk

Neil’s research interests are generally focussed on human rights and how detainees can be safeguarded against ill-treatment. Neil is particularly interested in how international human rights law can be developed to ameliorate conditions of detention and interrogation practice. Neil’s research is a critique of Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights relating to how it protects detainees in the interrogation room. The current system as to how the European Court classifies a breach is criticised, and it is argued that legal consequences following a breach of Article 3 are under-developed.  Neil advocates that the human rights of detainees can be better protected through the codification of legal consequences following a breach in an Additional Protocol to the European Convention.    

Frank Geddis 


LLB (Hons) in Law, QUB 
LLM in Corporate Governance and Public Policy (With Distinction), QUB

Title : The relationship between choice of business form and the politics of regulating corporate economic power.

In his LLM Dissertation, Frank investigated the effect of the implementation of the Sarbanes-Oxley legislation on small public companies in the United States, considering the pressure of streamlining the costs and benefits of regulation  to ensure an effective competitive environment for smaller companies in a globalised economy.
He is particularly interested in the relationship between the politics of corporate regulation, accountability and competitiveness. Throughout the course of his PhD he will examine the emergence of new business forms in competition with the traditional public company and the threats these developments may pose to traditional ideologies of corporate governance and the regulation of economic power.

Roisin Devlin

mail rgallagher05@qub.ac.uk

LLB First Class (Single Honours) Queen's University Belfast 2002
LLM (Human Rights and Criminal Justice) Queen's University Belfast 2003
CPLS (Certificate in Professional Legal Studies) Queen's University Belfast 2004

Roisin completed her Masters degree in September 2003 and was called to the Bar of Northern Ireland in September 2004. She holds a particular interest in the promotion of rights for children and young people. In the past she has worked as a volunteer for the Children's Law Centre (NI) and as an independent advocate for the organisation Voice of Young People in Care. In September 2004 she enrolled to study for a PhD. Through her research Roisin hopes to explore the extent to which the rights of children and young people are promoted within the formal and informal youth justice processes existing in Northern Ireland. 

Ibidunni Idowu-Eberendu


Ibidunni graduated from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria with single honors in Philosophy in 2004 and was awarded the best graduating student dissertation. She obtained a Masters in Humanitarian and Refugee Studies at the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies in the same University.

In the past she has volunteered and worked in development organizations in Nigeria, including Save the Children, where she developed an interest in research with focus on children.

Her PhD research focuses on Childhood and Asylum Claims: a Study of Unaccompanied Children in the U.K Asylum System. 

Joan Jeffrey


Joan studied education and English at Stranmillis College and received a BEd in 1980 from Queen's. She then worked but studied part-time at the Open University and was awarded an LLB(Hons) First Class in 2003. After that she took time out from her job to study full-time at Queen's and in 2005 she graduated with an LLM in Human Rights and Criminal Justice. Her Masters dissertation examined the rights of victims in rape trials in the light of international human rights instruments. Since September 2006 Joan has  been conducting research on a part-time basis for her PhD. Her thesis is looking at how international human rights standards are influencing the way in which the police use their potentially lethal weapons.

Jonathan Kearney


BA (Hons) Public Policy and Management, University of Ulster 1993.

LLM Human Rights Law, Queen's University of Belfast 2001.


Jonathan's Master's dissertation examined the Truth and Reconciliation Process in South Africa and the Early Release Scheme associated with the Belfast Agreement.  He is now concluding his Doctoral research, having commenced in 2003, combining his studies with a very busy career. His research focuses on International Policing Missions, with the ultimate aim being to provide a definition of the theory and practice of international policing in states of transition. For a period of time during his studies, he participated on a European Working Group examining 'Human Rights, Peace and Security in EU Foreign Policy' with particular emphasis on peacekeeping and enforcement in order to protect human rights.  He has continued to maintain links with the European research grouping.


Dominic Kelly


BSc Psychology (QUB 2008)

MSSc Criminology (QUB 2011)


Graduating from my Master's at Queen's in July 2011, I had investigated the attitudes of Northern Ireland Prison Service staff towards different aspects of their working environment, namely on the punishment and rehabilitation of prisoners. This was completed in conjunction with working as a prison officer in HMP Maghaberry. The current doctoral research doctoral research aims to assess the impact of the organizational reforms in Northern Ireland Prison Service and the Criminal Justice System on staff's attitudes, occupational cultures and working practices.



Nicola Kerr

mail k2037601@qub.ac.uk

Bsc (Hons) Applied Psychology (University of Ulster)
Msc Applied Psychology (University of Ulster)

Prior to registering for a PhD in 2002, Nicola has worked as a Policy Officer and Research Assistant on a number of projects involving children and young people, at QUB and within the voluntary sector. She is currently researching the experiences of vulnerable witnesses in the criminal justice system.