Dr Alison Mawhinney

Name
Dr Alison Mawhinney
Position
Reader in Law
Email
a.mawhinney@bangor.ac.uk
Phone
01248 388204
Location
Room 205, Athrolys

Alison Mawhinney is a human rights lawyer with a specialisation in the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. She completed her undergraduate studies at Trinity College Dublin where she graduated with a BA (Hons) in Political Science. She completed a LLM in International Human Rights Law (Distinction) at the University of Essex and a PhD at Queen's University Belfast. Prior to undertaking PhD studies she worked for a variety of organisations in the field of human rights including the Council of Europe, the Organization for Co-operation and Security in Europe (OSCE) and the United Nations. From 2006-2010, she was a lecturer at the School of Law, Queen's University Belfast, where she served as Assistant Director of the Human Rights Centre. She joined the School of Law at Bangor University in 2011.

Dr Mawhinney’s main research interests are in the areas of freedom of religion or belief in schools, religious discrimination in employment and the human rights obligations of non-state service providers. She is currently co-directing an AHRC research network with Professor Peter Cumper (Leicester), which is examining the statutory duty to hold acts of collective worship in UK schools: Collective Worship and Religious Observance in Schools: An Evaluation of Law and Policy in the UK. Previous research projects include an AHRC funded investigation into the effectiveness of opt-out provisions in protecting freedom of religion and belief standards in schools: Opting out of religious education: the views of young people from minority belief backgrounds; and a SLS (Society of Legal Scholars) funded examination of the potential of the experience of Northern Ireland as a successful functioning jurisdiction to inform the future of legal organisation in Wales: 'Small legal jurisdictions in the UK: the legal and practical considerations.'

She is an editorial board member of the Routledge Law and Religion Series and a member of the AHRC Public Policy Advisory Group.

Dr Mawhinney is interested in supervising PhDs related to issues of freedom of thought, conscience and religion.

Selected Publications

  • Mawhinney A (2016) ‘Coercion, oaths and conscience: conceptual confusion in the right to freedom of religion or belief’.  In The Confluence of Law and Religion Interdisciplinary: Reflections on the Work of Norman Doe. Cranmer F, Hill M, Kenny C and Sandberg R (eds), (Cambridge University Press) 205-217
  • Mawhinney A (2015) ‘The Right to Freedom of Religion or Belief: Norms and Compliance’.  In International Human Rights: Perspectives from Ireland. Egan S (ed.), (Bloomsbury) 267-282
  • Mawhinney A (2015) ‘Religion in Schools: A Human Rights Contribution to the Debate’. In Issues in Religion and Education. Beaman L.G. & Van Arragon L (eds) (Leiden: Brill) 282-303
  • Mawhinney A and Cumper P, (eds) (2015) Collective Worship and Religious Observance in Schools: An Evaluation of Law and Policy in the UK, ISBN 978-1-84220-138-1, available at http://collectiveschoolworship.com/
  • Mawhinney A (2015) ‘International human rights law: its potential and limitations in effecting change to the place of religion in the Irish education system’ Journal of Intercultural Studies 291-305
  • Mawhinney A. & Niens U., Richardson N., Chiba Y. (2013)  'Acculturation and religion in schools: the views of young people from minority belief backgrounds' British Educational Research Journal DOI: 10.1002/berj.3016
  • Mawhinney A. (2012) ‘Crucifixes, classrooms and children: a semiotic cocktail’. In The Lautsi Papers: Multidisciplinary Reflections on Religious Symbols in the Public School Classroom. Temperman J. (ed) (Leiden: BRILL/Martinus Nijhoff,) 93-112
  • Mawhinney A. & Niens U., Richardson N., Chiba Y. (2012) 'Religious education and Religious Liberty: Opt-outs and Young People’s Sense of Belonging'. In Law, Religious Freedoms and Education in Europe. Hunter-Henin, M. (ed) (London: Ashgate)
  • Mawhinney A. (2012) ‘A discriminating education system: religious admission policies in Irish schools and international human rights law’ 20(4) International Journal of Children’s Rights 603-623
  • Mawhinney A. & Niens U., Richardson N., Chiba Y. (2012) ‘Opting out or opting in? Conscience clauses and minorities’ 35 (3) British Journal of Religious Education 236-50
  • Mawhinney A. & Niens U., Richardson N., Chiba Y. (2012) 'Religion, Human Rights Law, and ‘Opting Out’ of Religious Education'. In Religious Change in Britain. Woodhead, L. & Catto, R. (eds) (London: Routledge)
  • Mawhinney A. & Griffiths, I. (2011) ‘Ensuring others behave responsibly: Giddens, governance and international human rights law’ 20 Social and Legal Studies 481-498
  • Mawhinney A. & Chiba Y. (2010) ‘Religious education, opt-outs and freedom of religion in schools’. In Welfare of the Child and Beliefs of the Parents. Emilianides, A. (Cyprus: University of Nicosia Press)
  • Mawhinney A. (2009) Freedom of Religion and Schools: the Case of Ireland (VDM Verlag, Saarbrucken)
  • Mawhinney A. (2007) ‘Freedom of religion in the Irish primary school system: a failure to protect human rights?’ 3 Legal Studies 379
  • Mawhinney A. (2007) 'The Rights of Foreigners in the United Kingdom' (2007) 19 European Review of Public Law 355
  • Mawhinney A. (2006) ‘The opt-out clause: imperfect protection for the right to freedom of religion in schools’ 2 Education Law Journal 102-115

Reports

  • Mawhinney A and Aaron C., Submission to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child with Respect to the Fifth Periodic Report of the UK, ‘Broadcasting in Wales and Children’s Rights’, May 2016
  • Mawhinney A., Submission to the UN Human Rights Committee with Respect to the Fourth Periodic Report, Ireland, June 2014
  • Mawhinney A. & Niens U., Richardson N., Chiba Y. (2010) Opting out of Religious Education: the Views of Young People from Minority Belief Backgrounds. Research report for AHRC/ESRC Religion and Society Research Programme
  • Mawhinney A., Submission to the UN Human Rights Committee with Respect to the Third Periodic Report, Ireland, March 2008
  • Mawhinney A. (1999) ‘A preliminary survey of human rights education and training in member States of the Council of Europe and States with special guest status’ (Council of Europe, Strasbourg, 1999, (H (99) 6))

Books Reviews

  • Mawhinney A. (2009) P Taylor, Freedom of Religion: UN and European Human Rights Law and Practice, European Human Rights Law Review and S Knights, Freedom of Religion, Minorities and the Law, 3 European Human Rights Law Review 455
  • Mawhinney A. (2009) M Hamilton, God vs. the Gavel: Religion and the Rule of Law 11 Ecclesiastical Law Journal 113.
  • Mawhinney A. (2006) J Deegan, D Devine and A Lodge (eds)  Primary  Voices – Equality, Diversity and Childhood in Irish Primary Schools, Fortnight, January 2006

Other publications

  • Mawhinney A. (2008) 'Indoctrinating Education' Fortnight, September No 461
  • Mawhinney A. (2008) 'Other faiths and none: Lessons from the Republic', Fortnight Supplement A Shared Educational Future' No 485

Research grants awarded

  • AHRC Research Network Grant (Connected Communities Programme) ‘Collective Worship in Schools: An Evaluation of Law and Policy in the UK’, £35,000 (with P Cumper)
  • SLS (Society of Legal Scholars) Research Activities Fund Award, £2,200: 'Small legal jurisdictions in the UK: the legal and practical considerations' (with O Rees and S Nason)
  • AHRC/ESRC Religion and Society Research Programme £80,250 award (with U Niens and N Richardson): 'Opting out of religious education: the views of young people from minority belief backgrounds'.

Teaching

Undergraduate

Public Law

Law and Religion

Postgraduate

International Human Rights Law

Devolution in Wales and Europe  

Legal Research Methods