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James Rooney

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James Rooney

Ph.D. Candidate

Thesis Topic: The Preconditions Necessary for Socio-economic Rights to Develop within Common Law Systems.

c/o Law School
House 39
Trinity College, Dublin 2


Supervisor: Dr David Kenny

Areas of Interest: Constitutional Law, Public Law, Administrative Law, Human Rights Law, Socio-economic Rights Protection, Non-Discrimination Law.



James Rooney is a Ph.D. student supported by a Postgraduate Research Studentship researching socio-economic rights protection within common law legal systems. James graduated from Trinity College, Dublin in 2015 with first class honours in the LL.B. degree. He then studied at the University of Oxford, reading for the B.C.L., and graduating with distinction in 2016. He was a Research Fellow at Rhodes University in Grahamstown, South Africa, from August 2016 to February 2017 as part of a Travelling Fellowship awarded by the Oxford Human Rights Hub. At Rhodes University he researched the effects which the expansion of standing to include class action and public interest suits has had on rights protection in South Africa. This work was pursued alongside an internship at the Legal Resources Centre, South Africa’s largest public interest law firm, also under terms of the Oxford Human Rights Hub Travelling Fellowship.

His thesis examines the often-overlooked impact that judicial culture can have on the enforcement of constitutional rights, with a particular focus on socio-economic rights. In particular, it seeks to identify the particular aspects of judicial culture in the common law legal systems of South Africa and India facilitated their development of an expansive socio-economic rights jurisprudence, in contrast to the restricted socio-economic rights protections provided in Ireland.



  • Postgraduate Research Studentship, 2017.
  • Oxford Human Rights Hub Travelling Fellow, 2016
  • Scholar, Trinity College, Dublin 2013.


Research Interests

  • Constitutional Law
  • Public Law
  • Human Rights Law
  • Socio-economic Rights Protection
  • Non-Discrimination Law.


Education Details

  • Doctor in Philosophy (Ph.D.) Candidate – Trinity College, Dublin (2016 – present)
  • Bachelor of Civil Law (B.C.L.) – The University of Oxford (2015 – 2016)
  • Erasmus Exchange Student – University of Helsinki (2013 – 2014)
  • Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.) in Law and Political Science – Trinity College, Dublin (2011 – 2015)


Employment Details

  • Seminar Tutor (Constitutional Law I and Constitutional Law II), School of Law, Trinity College, Dublin (starting in 2017)
  • Research Fellow, Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa (August 2016 – February 2017)
  • Legal Intern, Legal Resources Centre, Grahamstown, South Africa (August 2016 – February 2017)



  • James Rooney, ‘Class Actions and Public Interest Standing in South Africa: Practical and Participatory Perspectives’ (2017) South African Journal on Human Rights (forthcoming)