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Michael Lane

Law and Legal Studies, Birmingham City University

Thesis title:

The United Kingdom and the United Nations Universal Periodic Review: An Analysis of State Engagement and the Translation of Human Rights Recommendations into Domestic Legal Change

Michael’s research considers the United Kingdom’s engagement with the United Nations’ Universal Periodic Review (UPR) human rights mechanism. He is particularly concerned with determining why the UPR recommendations accepted by the UK fail to ‘translate’ into domestic law.

Michael’s thesis investigates the role of the UK Government, its National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs), and Parliament. There is a focus on understanding how, and whether, these institutions’ utilise UPR recommendations to develop and scrutinise policy. In doing so, this thesis will provide greater transparency of the acceptance or curtailing of human rights standards in the formation of UK law. Importantly, this emphasis on creating transparency will engender an enhanced understanding of the working of the parliamentary and governmental processes, and the extent to which actors within these institutions engage and interact with UK civil society on these issues. An ultimate aim of the research will be to uncover the evolving nature of UK sovereignty as a process of political and civil society dialogue. It will enhance the UPR-centred work of the UK’s NHRIs and parliamentarians, and further equip these actors in their scrutiny of the human rights standards.

You can learn more about Michael’s research by watching this short explainer:


Other Projects:

In addition to his doctoral research, Michael is working on the following projects:

Research Area

  • Law and Legal Studies


  • 'Am I an Imposter? Overcoming Doubt and Self-Disbelief as an Early Career Researcher' (Symposium on Early Career International Law Academia 2022) <https://t.co/rhKMMqhBoN>
  • Joint Stakeholder Submission to the Universal Periodic Review: Forth Cycle, 41st Session of the UPR Working Group (United Kingdom) (2022) <https://www.bcu.ac.uk/law/research/centre-for-human-rights/consultancy/upr-project-at-bcu/upr-project-at-bcu-uk>.
  • The UK Joint Committee on Human Rights and the United Nations Universal Periodic Review (2022) Journal of Human Rights Practice <doi.org/10.1093/jhuman/huac009>.
  • The Equality and Human Rights Commission’s ‘Human Rights Tracker’: A Innovation in Progress Monitoring (LinkedIn, Nov 2021) <https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/equality-human-rights-commissions-tracker-innovation-progress-lane/>
  • Enhancing the UK Parliament’s Scrutiny of Human Rights: A Case for Improved Government Reporting, (OxHRH Blog, February 2021), <http://ohrh.law.ox.ac.uk/enhancing-the-uk-parliaments-scrutiny-of-human-rights-a-case-for-improved-government-reporting>
  • Five tips on becoming a more productive writer (BCU PhD Blog, February 2021) <https://www.bcu.ac.uk/research/our-phds/phd-blogs/tips-on-becoming-a-more-productive-writer>
  • Cherry V AG For Scotland, Part II: "No Justification" For Prorogation? (Keep Calm Talk Law, 2019) <http://www.keepcalmtalklaw.co.uk/cherry-v-ag-for-scotland-part-ii-no-justification-for-prorogation/>
  • Cherry v AG For Scotland, Part I: Is A No-Deal Brexit Necessarily Implied? (Keep Calm Talk Law, 2019) <http://www.keepcalmtalklaw.co.uk/cherry-v-ag-for-scotland-part-i-is-a-no-deal-brexit-necessarily-implied/>
  • Being Mindful of Mental Wellbeing (Student Minds Blog, 2019)<https://www.studentmindsblog.co.uk/2019/06/being-mindful-of-mental-wellbeing.html>
  • May's Draft Brexit Deal: A True Challenge To UK Sovereignty? (Keep Calm Talk Law, 2018) <http://www.keepcalmtalklaw.co.uk/mays-draft-brexit-deal-a-true-challenge-to-uk-sovereignty/>


  • 'The UK and the UPR' Poster Presentation (Midlands4Cities Digital Research Festival, June 2021).
  • 'Explaining the Implementation of Universal Periodic Review Recommendations: The Central Role of Domestic Politics' (Society of Legal Scholars International Law Workshop, Apr 2021).
  • 'Facilitating the Success of the Universal Periodic Review in the United Kingdom? An Analysis of the UK Parliament’s Involvement in the Implementation of Multilateral Recommendation' (Birmingham City University Research Seminar Series (Nov 2020), and University of Leicester's Human Rights Cluster Research Meeting (Dec 2020)).

Public Engagement & Impact

  • November 2021 - Meeting with the UK's Equality and Human Rights Commission on its approach to the UK's UPR.
  • September 2021 - Speaker at M4C Cohort Networking Event, UK on 'Opportunities for Collaboration: M4C Digital Research Festival 2021'.
  • November 2020 - Speaker at Greenwood Academy, UK on careers in law.
  • March 2020 - Speaker at Ormiston Forge Academy, UK on 'Thinking Like a Lawyer'.
  • December 2019 - Speaker at Cadbury College, UK on careers in law.
  • September 2018 - Speaker at UNAUK meeting, Birmingham. Spoke about the UPR mechanism, my research interests, and the possibility of volunteering with the UNAUK.

Other Research Interests

  • Human Rights
  • Sovereignty
  • UK Constitutional Law
  • the UN's Universal Periodic Review
  • Legal Theory
  • International Law


  • Student Member of the UNAUK
  • Member of the British Institute of International and Comparative Law (BIICL)
  • Member of the Society of Legal Scholars (SLS)
  • Student Member of the Socio-Legal Studies Association (SLSA)

Education & Professional Training

  • Birmingham City University, M4C-funded PhD Law and PGCert in Research Practice (2019-present).
  • Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights, Executive Course on the Universal Periodic Review and the UN Human Rights System: Raising the Bar on Accountability (8-12th Nov 2021).
  • The Institute for Government, Policy Engagement Training (Nov 2020).
  • Staff and Educational Development Association (SEDA), Introduction to Teaching in HE (May 2020)
  • Birmingham City University, Law LLM (2018-2019) - With Distinction.
  • Birmingham City University, Law LLB (2015-2018) - First Class Hons

Teaching & Other Academic Work Experience

  • Visiting Lecturer at Newman University, Birmingham. Experience in teaching and marking Contract Law (Sep 2021-Jan 2022).
  • Visiting Lecturer at Birmingham City University, Birmingham. Experience in teaching and/or marking (2018-present):
    • LLB Law:
      • Contract Law.
      • Criminal Law.
      • Constitutional and Administrative Law.
      • Equity and Trusts.
      • Medical Law & Ethics.
    • LLM Law:
      • Advanced Legal Research Methods.
  • Organiser of Midlands4Cities Annual Research Festival (Feb-Jun 2021).
  • PGR Representative for BCU's Faculty for Business Law and Social Sciences (Dec 2019-Jan 2021).
  • Organiser of BCU's Law Student Conference (Feb-Apr 2019).
  • Research Assistant at Birmingham City University (2018-2019).

Awards & Scholarships

  • Delivered the closing address at BCU's Business, Law, and Social Sciences Graduation Ceremony (2020)
  • Joint-Winner of BCU's Executive Dean Prize for Postgraduate Achievement (2020)
  • 3.5 Year Midlands4Cities Doctoral Training Partnership Award Holder (2019)
  • Partial (£3000) Post-Graduate Tuition Scholarship (2018)
  • Winner of BCU's Harriet Jackson Award for Outstanding Contribution to Law (2018)
  • Law of the EU Brussels Trip Scholarship (2018)

Other Training

  • Attendance at M4C's 'Thinking Like an Editor' Workshop (Jun 2021).
  • Attendance at M4Cs Royal Literary Fund Writing Workshop (Feb 2020).