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Dr Gavin Sullivan

Dr Gavin Sullivan

Reader in International Human Rights Law

BA/LLB (Hons); PhD (cum laude)
Solicitor, Senior Courts of England and Wales


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Gavin Sullivan joined Edinburgh Law School in February 2021 as Reader in International Human Rights Law. He was previously a Senior Lecturer in Law at the University of Kent (2016 – 2020) and was awarded his PhD (cum laude) from the University of Amsterdam. Gavin’s research focuses on the politics of global security law, technology and rights using socio-legal and ethnographic methods. His research interests include international organisations and collective security; algorithmic governance, accountability and international human rights; transnational and informal law, global pluralism and constitutionalism; counterterrorism and preemptive security. In 2020 Gavin was awarded a UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship for his socio-legal research project, Infra-Legalities: Global Security Infrastructures, Artificial Intelligence and International Law (2021 – 2028).  He leads an interdisciplinary team of scholars in international law, anthropology, socio-legal studies, computer science and security studies to examine how AI-led security, and the data infrastructures that sustain it, are reshaping global security law, rights and accountability and security decision-making.

Gavin is a practising solicitor with advocacy experience in public law, environmental law, international human rights and global security law. Since 2010 he has provided pro bono representation to people targeted by security lists worldwide, including before the UN Office of the Ombudsperson. Gavin has worked widely as an expert consultant on counterterrorism issues, including for the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. He is a member of the ‘Transparency’ and ‘Legal Frameworks’ working groups of the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism, co-covenor of the ESIL International Law and Technology Interest Group and on the Editorial Committee of the journal, Transnational Legal Theory. Gavin’s book - The Law of the List: UN Counterterrorism Sanctions and the Politics of Global Security Law (Cambridge University Press, 2020) – was awarded the 2021 International Studies Association STAIR Book Award for research bringing STS into dialogue with global politics, and the 2021 International Studies Association ILAW Book Award for research that makes an outstanding contribution to the field of international law. He has previously been a Visiting Fellow at the University Center for Human Values, Princeton University, a Visiting Scholar at UNSW Faculty of Law and Justice and an External Affiliate at the Centre on Security, Intelligence and Governance (CESIG) at ITAM University, Mexico.

Twitter: @g_sullivan