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Professor Jean Allain

Professor. Jean Allain - Queen's University Belfast Research Portal - Research Directory & Institutional Repository for QUB
Jean Allain

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Research Statement

Prof. Jean Allain is a generalist in public international law with a specialisation in human rights and an expertise in issues of slavery and trafficking.

     In 2008, Prof. Allain was appointed Extraordinary Professor, Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, by the Senate of the University of Pretoria, South Africa.

     While undertaking graduate studies, Jean Allain clerked for Judge Antonio Cassese, President of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.


His current research interest – beyond issues of slavery, trafficking, refugees, the laws of war, and the history of international law – is focused on food security, food safety and the right to food.


See a 2014 presentation by Prof Allain on “The Paradox of Slavery: A Human Right rarely Tried in Court” given at the Jack & Mae Nathanson Centre on Transnational Human Rights, Crime and Security, Osgoode Hall Law School, Toronto.


Prof. Allain’s most recent publications include:

Jean Allain,“No Effective Trafficking Definition Exists: Domestic Implementation of the Palermo Protocol”, Albany Government Law Review, Vol. 7, 2014, pp. 111-142;

Jean Allain, “Anarchy and International Law:  The Approaches of Hedley Bull and Noam Chomsky”, Review of Contemporary Philosophy, Vol. 14, 2014, pp. 17-47; and

Jean Allain, Andrew Crane, Genevieve LeBaron and Laya Behbahani, Forced Labour’s Business Models and Supply Chains, November 2013, 77pp. (Report commissions by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation)


 While his forthcoming publications include:

Jean Allain, The Law and Slavery: Prohibiting Human Exploitation, Martinus Nijhoff, 2015, 400pp; the introduction of which is available as the SSRN Paper: "125 Years of Abolition: The Law Curtailing Slavery and Human Exploitation".

Jean Allain, (translation of) Joseph-Mathias Gérard de Rayneval, Insitutions de droit de la nature et des gens (The Institutions of Natural Law and the Law of Nations), 1803, Oxford University Press, 2017, 220pp.


Jean Allain completed his studies at HEI – Institut universitaire de hautes études internationales – the Graduate Institute for International Studies of the University of Geneva, having received a PhD in 2000. He wrote his Master’s thesis at the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, in San José, Costa Rica, as a Fellow of the Organization of American States. Previous to his appointment at Queen’s University, Belfast, Prof. Allain taught at the American University in Cairo, Egypt from 1998 to 2004.

     Prof. Allain has published in the leading international journals including the American Journal of International Law, British Yearbook of International Law, European Journal of International Law, International Journal of Refugee Law, International and Comparative Law Quarterly, and Human Rights Quarterly. He is author of the following monographs: Slavery in International Law: Of Human Exploitation and Trafficking (2013), The Slavery Conventions: The Travaux Préparatoires of the 1926 League of Nations Convention and the 1956 United Nations Convention (2008), International Law in the Middle East: Closer to Power than Justice (2004), and A Century of International Adjudication: The Rule of Law and its Limits (2000). He is also the editor of The Legal Understanding of Slavery: From the Historical to the Contemporary (2012) and Unlocking the Middle East: The Writings of Richard Falk (2003).


Jean Allain is on the editorial board and Founding Editor of the Irish Yearbook of International Law; he is on the editorial boards of African Human Rights Law JournalBritish Journal of Interdisciplinary StudiesInonu University Law Journal, and Journal of Global Slavery.


Prof. Allain has been the Principal Investigator on research grants received from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (UK); British Academy; International Council for Canadian Studies; Joseph Rowntree Foundation; Leverhulme Trust; and Rockefeller Foundation.

     From 2010 to 2012 he was a Leverhulme Research Fellow.

     He is currently a Co-Investigator on a five-year AHRC grant entitled The Antislavery Usable Past worth £1.85 million with Kevin Bales, John Oldfield, and Zoe Trodd; as well as ESRC grant on food safety headed by Chirstopher Elliott.


Prof. Allain has conducted consultant work for the International Labour Organisation, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.  He has led postgraduate teams in preparing reports and amici curiae for the International Criminal Court, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Myanmar, and the Northern Ireland Assembly.


Prof. Allain has been a visiting scholar at Australian National University, Harvard Law School, Melbourne Law School, University of Geneva (HEI), and the University of Ottawa. In 2012, Prof Allain was the Simons Visiting Chair in International Law and Human Security, School of International Studies, at Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, Canada.


Within the School of Law Prof. Allain served a term as the Director of the Human Rights Centre (2011-2014) and as Director of Postgradute Studies (2009-2011).


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