Professor Mark Bell has been appointed Trinity College Dublin’s Regius Professor of Laws, a position founded in 1668. Professor Bell comes to Trinity from the University of Leicester where he was a professor at the School of Law, and also Head of the School of Law (2011-2014). His principal research interests are the areas of equality, work and migration.
Originally from Belfast, Professor Bell holds a doctorate from the European University Institute, Florence and his undergraduate law degree is from the University of Ulster.
Currently a member of the European Commission's Network of Legal Experts in Gender Equality and Non-Discrimination, and the Berkeley Comparative Anti-Discrimination Law Study Group, Professor Bell is also a committee member of the Employment Law Association of Ireland and the Irish Centre for European Law. He works regularly with a range of national and European NGOs dealing with equality issues, as well as international organisations. In 2010/11 he worked with the International Labour Organisation to develop training on the protection of precarious workers, while in 2013 he delivered training on anti-discrimination law for the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe. He is a member of the Advisory Board of the Trinity College Law Review.
Professor Bell’s research expertise includes comparative equality and employment law issues. He has published extensively on EU equality law, but also on aspects of EU employment law, especially law and precarious work. Among his publications are Racism and Equality in the European Union (OUP, 2008) and Anti-Discrimination Law and the European Union (OUP, 2002). His current research is focusing on how the law can be used to create workplaces that are inclusive of people with mental health problems. He is looking at the effectiveness of the right to reasonable accommodation under disability equality law. This requires employers to take steps to adapt the working environment in response to a worker who is experiencing mental health problems, such as providing flexibility in the way work is performed, or greater support in managing workload. He recently published an article in the Industrial Law Journal that found some examples of good practice, but other instances of courts being unduly rigid in their interpretation of the law.
Professor Bell is also actively involved in the European Network of Legal Experts on Gender Equality and Non-Discrimination. The Network conducts analysis of the implementation of EU anti-discrimination legislation within 36 Member States, EEA states, and candidate countries for EU membership. This year Professor Bell is the acting coordinator for disability issues, which entails analysing each draft national report and its treatment of issues such how national law defines disability.
Creating an online resource to assist citizens in understanding whether the Charter of Fundamental Rights applies to them is a current research project for which Professor Bell is a consultant. ‘Don't knock on the wrong door: Charter Click’ is a two year European Commission funded project involving a consortium of European universities, together with governmental and non-governmental agencies that provide advice to citizens on the enforcement of rights. It is examining the practice of national courts, and the EU courts, in applying the Charter of Fundamental Rights. This only applies if the factual scenario falls within the scope of EU law, which is a frequent source of confusion and uncertainty. The project’s output will be an online resource that can help citizens to understand if the Charter is applicable to their individual situation.