Faculty and Staff

Kirsten Roberts Lyer, Acting Director of the Shattuck Center

Kirsten Roberts Lyer is a specialist in international human rights, having practiced for 16 years as a policy expert and international lawyer before joining the School of Public Policy in 2016. She teaches Rule of Law, Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law.

From 2008-2013, she was Acting Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Research, Policy and Promotion at the Irish Human Rights Commission, Ireland's National Human Rights Institution (NHRI) and from 2008–2011 she was also coordinator of the European Group of NHRIs.

She took a career break from 2013-2016 to undertake a PhD in human rights at The Dickson Poon School of Law, King's College London, where she was a Dickson Poon Scholar and also established the Project on Effective Parliamentary Oversight of Human Rights with Dr. Philippa Webb.

For the 2012-2013 academic year, Kirsten was a Visiting Researcher at Harvard Law School. She has previously worked as a legal officer in Trial Chamber I of the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (2005-2008). She has also worked in Ireland's diplomatic mission to the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, at the European Court of Human Rights, European Court of Justice and for Amnesty International.

Kirsten has been an independent expert on fundamental rights for the European Commission and sat on the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs' Non-Governmental Standing Committee on Human Rights. In addition, she has consulted for a variety of international organizations on human rights issues. She has also been an advisor on human rights policy to a member of the Irish houses of parliament. She regularly consults for the UN Development Program (UNDP), OSCE and other international organisations on the establishment and strengthening of National Human Rights Institutions and Ombudsmen, as well as on state engagement with international human rights protection mechanisms.

Her research interests include the development of national human rights implementation and oversight mechanisms. She specializes in the creation and development of effective National Human Rights Institutions, and parliamentary oversight of human rights.

Recent publications:

Closing Academic Space: Repressive State Practices in Legislative, Regulatory and Other Restrictions on Higher Education Institutions, Kirsten Roberts Lyer and Aron Suba, International Centre for Not-for-Profit Law, 2019. LINK

Parliaments as Human Rights Actors: The Potential for International Principles on Parliamentary Human Rights Committees, Nordic Journal of Human Rights.  (forthcoming 2019)

Roberts Lyer, K., National Human Rights Institutions. In Gerd Oberleitner & Steven Hoadley eds., Human Rights Institutions, Tribunals and Courts – Legacy and Promise, Springer Major Reference Works handbook series. (2018)

Roberts Lyer, K., Webb, P., Effective Parliamentary Oversight of Human Rights. In M. Saul, A. Follesdal, and G. Ulfstein (eds), The International Human Rights Judiciary and National Parliaments: Europe and Beyond, Cambridge University Press, 2017.

Twitter: @KirstenJRoberts


PhD (Human Rights), School of Law, King's College London
MLitt (International Criminal Law), School of Law, Trinity College Dublin
BCL School of Law, University College Dublin