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Dr Neil Graffin

Profile summary

Professional biography

Neil is Senior Lecturer in Law and a Head of Department at The Open University.

Neil studied for a PhD in Law in Queen’s University Belfast, where he also completed both his undergraduate and postgraduate degrees. Neil has also worked as an Associate Lecturer with The Open University and a Teaching Assistant at Queen’s University.

Research interests

Human rights, immigration and asylum law, wellbeing in the legal profession. 

Neil's research interests are within international human rights law, asylum law and law and emotion. Within these areas of legal enquiry, he is particularly interested in the legal framework which regulates what happens after someone has been ill-treated, as well as the impact of legal processes on individuals where trauma is present. 

Neil’s PhD research concerned assessing how human rights are upheld during the time individuals are held for police interviews. It evaluated the protections afforded by Articles 3 and 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights within this setting. This research was conducted under the supervision of Professor Brice Dickson and Professor Rory O’Connell. 

Neil is currently working on several projects in the field of immigration and asylum. Neil is currently the principal investigator in a British Academy/ Leverhulme funded project which looks at the legal consciousness of search and rescue volunteers who save the lives of people making dangerous crossings in the Mediterranean. He is also developing resources for immigration and asylum practitioners, and conducting further research on issues of racial profiling in immigration control. 

Neil is currently working on a project with the UK charity, LawCare, to develop online resources to promote psychologically healthy practices within the legal profession. Neil is also collaborating in research which looks at means of supporting the mental health of practitioners within the legal profession. 

Teaching interests

Neil Graffin is currently working on managing modules in the development of the new LLB curriculum. 

External collaborations

Neil is on the executive board of the Socio-Legal Studies Association, holding the position of Honorary Secretary. 


‘Survival of the fittest’? Perceptions of wellbeing at The Bar of Northern Ireland (2021)
Graffin, Neil and Jones, Emma
Northern Ireland Legal Quarterly, 72, Article 2(3)

Taking Clinical Legal Education Online: Songs of Innocence and Experience (2020-12-11)
McFaul, Hugh; Hardie, Liz; Ryan, Francine; Lloyd Bright, Keren and Graffin, Neil
International Journal of Clinical Legal Education, 27(4) (pp. 6-38)

Racial profiling in immigration control: the problem with the Northern Irish border (2019-11)
Graffin, Neil and Garcia Blesa, Juan J.
International Human Rights Law Review, 8(2) (pp. 245-273)

The emotional impacts of working as an asylum lawyer (2019-03-31)
Graffin, Neil
Refugee Survey Quarterly, 38(1) (pp. 30-54)

Protecting asylum practitioners from emotional strain and secondary trauma: education, support and reform (2019)
Graffin, Neil
European Journal of Current Legal Issues, 25, Article 652(2)

Gäfgen v Germany, the Use of Threats and the Punishment of Those Who Ill-treat During Police Questioning: A Reply to Steven Greer (2017)
Graffin, Neil
Human Rights Law Review, 17(4) (pp. 681-699)

The Northern Ireland Human Rights Commissions Application: In the Matter of an Application for Judicial Review by the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission In the Matter of the Law on the Termination of Pregnancy in Northern Ireland [2015] NIQB 96: High Court of Justice Northern Ireland (Queens Bench Division): Horner J: 30 November 2015 (2016-02)
Graffin, Neil
Oxford Journal of Law and Religion, 5(1) (pp. 168-182)

The legal consequences of ill-treating detainees held for police questioning in breach of Article 3 ECHR (2014)
Graffin, Neil
Web Journal of Current Legal Issues, 20(2)

Donaldson v United Kingdom: No right for prisoners to wear Easter lilies (2012)
Graffin, Neil
King's Law Journal, 23(1) (pp. 101-108)

Mental Health and Wellbeing in the Legal Profession (2020-09-24)
Jones, Emma; Graffin, Neil; Samra, Rajvinder and Lucassen, Mathijs
Bristol Shorts Research
ISBN : 9781529210743 | Publisher : Bristol University Press | Published : Bristol

‘Two versions of the American Dream’: Wellbeing and unhappiness in the law school and legal profession: The work of Lawrence Krieger and Kennon Sheldon (2023)
Graffin, Neil
In: Newman, Daniel ed. Leading Works on the Legal Profession ((In Press))
Publisher : Routledge

From the Greek Case to the Present: 50 Years of Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights (2020)
Graffin, Neil
In: Claydon, Lisa; Derry, Caroline and Ajevski, Marjan eds. Law in Motion: 50 years of Legal Change (pp. 52-66)
ISBN : 978-1-4730-3148-7 | Publisher : The Open University Law School

Suspending the Rule of Law for Racial Minorities in Border Management: Racial Profiling in the Western Mediterranean and the Post-Brexit Irish Border (2018-10-26)
Garcia Blesa, Juan J. and Graffin, Neil
In: August Prinz von Sachsen Gessaphe, Karl; Garcia Blesa, Juan J. and Szuka, Nils eds. Legal Implications of Brexit. Hagener Rechtswissenschaftliche Schriften (2) (pp. 195-214)
ISBN : 978-3-96163-149-0 | Publisher : MV-Wissenschaft | Published : Münster