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Peace processes and international law
Peace processes and constitutional law
Transitional Justice
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Personal profile


Christine Bell is Professor of Constitutional Law and Assistant Principal (Global Justice).  She is Executive Director and Principal Investigator of the Peace and Conflict Resolution Platform, a £18.5 million five year programme which researchers how peace processes can be reinvented to respond to changing conflict dynamics. Through the programme Bell together with the University of Edinburgh PeaceRep team works on incubating ‘PeaceTech’ solutions to conflict, and to research in conflict zones, with a particular focus on data.

Bell read law at Selwyn College, Cambridge, (1988) and gained an LL.M in Law from Harvard Law School (1990), supported by a Harkness Fellowship. In 1990 she qualified as a Barrister at law. She subsequently qualified as an Attorney-at-law in New York, practicing for a period at Debevoise & Plimpton, NY. From 1997-9 she was Director of the Centre for International and Comparative Human Rights Law, Queen's University of Belfast, and from 2000-2011, she was Professor of Public International Law, and a founder and Director of the Transitional Justice Institute, University of Ulster.  She is a Fellow of the British Academy and of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. 

Bell has been active in non-governmental organizations, and was chairperson of Belfast-based Human Rights organization, the Committee on the Administration of Justice from 1995-7, and a member of the inaugural Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission established under the terms of the Belfast Agreement. In 1999 she was a member of the European Commission’s Committee of Experts on Fundamental Rights. 

Her research interests lie in the interface between constitutional and international law, gender and conflict, and legal theory, with a particular interest in peace processes and their agreements. In 2007 Christine won the American Society of International Law's Francis Deake Prize for her article on 'Peace Agreements: Their Nature and Legal Status' 100(2) American Journal of International Law. The prize is awarded annually for the leading article by a younger author in the AJIL. She has authored two books: On the Law of Peace: Peace Agreements and the Lex Pacificatoria (Oxford University Press, 2008) which won the Hart Socio-Legal Book Prize, awarded by the Socio-legal Studies Association UK, and Peace Agreements and Human Rights (Oxford University Press, 2000). Together with colleagues at the University of Edinburgh she is responsible for the creation of the PA-X Peace Agreement Database which is a unique archive, qualitative and quantitative resource of all the world’s peace agreements from 1990 to date.  

Bell was awarded the Fernand Braudel Senior Fellowship for 'established academics with an international reputation' at the European University Institute Law department, Florence, Italy, from January to June 2007. She has also taken part in various peace negotiations discussions, giving constitutional law and human rights law advice, and also in training for diplomats, mediators and lawyers and acted as an expert in transitional justice for the UN Secretary-General, the Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights, and UN Women.


External positions

Fellow of the British Academy, British Academy

1 Oct 2015 → …


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