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Edinburgh Law School pleased to welcome Dr Gavin Sullivan as new academic

Tue 2 February 2021

Dr Gavin Sullivan

Dr Gavin Sullivan joins Edinburgh Law School on 1 February 2021 as a Reader in International Human Rights Law. Commencing a UKRI-funded Future Leaders Fellowship for his global socio-legal research project - ‘Infra-Legalities’ - Dr Sullivan will be joined by postdoc Dimitri Van Den Meerssche, who begins a 3 year term at ELS on the same day.

Prior to this new position, Dr Gavin Sullivan worked as a Senior Lecturer in Law at the University of Kent, with teaching and research experience in Public, Transnational, International and Human Rights law as well as International Relations and Critical Security Studies. His research focuses on the politics of global security law, algorithmic governance and data infrastructures. He uses socio-legal and ethnographic methods to critically examine contemporary security practices and problems of transnational and algorithmic governance.

Dr Sullivan is a practising solicitor providing pro bono representation to people targeted by security lists worldwide, including before the UN Office of the Ombudsperson. He has worked widely as an expert consultant on counterterrorism issues, including for the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. Dr Sullivan is also a member of the ‘Transparency’ and ‘Legal Frameworks’ working groups of the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism (GIFCT), a key governance body tackling terrorism and extremism online.

His book - 'The Law of the List: UN Counterterrorism Sanctions and the Politics of Global Security Law' - has recently won awards for its contribution to interdisciplinary global governance and international law scholarship. These include the 2021 International Studies Association (ISA) STAIR Book Award for research bringing Science and Technology Studies into dialogue with global politics and the 2020 ISA International Law Book Award. Both awards will be formally presented in April 2021.

As a Reader in International Human Rights Law at Edinburgh Law School, University of Edinburgh undertaking research in the field of international law and technology, Dr Sullivan will work closely with Professor of Public International Law, Nehal Bhuta.


UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship

Dr Sullivan brings with him a highly prestigious £1.2 million UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Future Leaders Fellowship, of which he was awarded in October 2020. This scheme nurtures early career researchers with outstanding potential, enabling them to tackle ambitious and novel challenges.

Dr Dimitri Van Den Meerssche

Dr Dimitri Van Den Meerssche – an interdisciplinary legal scholar working on international law, AI and border governance technologies – will also be joining us at Edinburgh Law School from 1 February and will be working alongside Dr Sullivan on the Infra-Legalities project as a postdoctoral Research Fellow, from 2021 – 2024.

The fellowship is entitled, ‘Infra-Legalities: Global Security Infrastructures, Artificial Intelligence and International Law’. It allows Dr Sullivan to lead an interdisciplinary team of world-leading scholars to examine how AI security, and the data infrastructures that sustain it, are reshaping global security law, rights and accountability and security decision-making.  The project will focus on the use of AI in controlling the movements of high-risk people and in countering terrorism and extremism online and is expected to run from 2021-2028.

The project will help complement Edinburgh Law School’s growing profile as a research leader in the field of automated decision-making and international law.


Upcoming webinar

Friday 5 February 2021

LCIL Friday Lecture: 'The Law of the List: UN Counterterrorism Sanctions and the Politics of Global Security Law' - Dr Gavin Sullivan - Find out more