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Helen O'Nions

Dr Helen O'Nions

Associate Professor

Nottingham Law School

Staff Group(s)
Nottingham Law School staff


Helen has been a member of Nottingham Law School since 2007. She is currently PG research tutor for the law school, responsible for supporting PhD candidates in their research journey. Helen is also a founding member of the research group, the Centre for Rights and Justice. In 2013 she was awarded fellowship of the Higher Education Academy.

  • Winner of NTUSU Outstanding Law Teacher 2020
  • Winner of NTUSU Outstanding Research Supervisor 2019

Helen's teaching interests reflect her research and centre on human rights, immigration and public law issues. She is also responsible for overseeing the final year independent research projects which run on the Distance learning and full-time LLB programmes.

Helen's research interests centre on two particular aspects relating to international human rights; namely the right to seek asylum (in particular the effect of European asylum legislation) and the specific difficulties faced by the Roma in accessing rights protection. The latter was the subject of her PhD at the University of Leicester (which she completed in 2000).

Career overview

Prior to working at Nottingham Law School Helen taught Public Law, Human Rights and EU law at the University of Lincoln and London Metropolitan University. She has also worked part-time at the University of Leicester, Middlesex University and SOAS, University of London.

Research areas

Helen is interested in the impact of the hostile environment and current issues in refugee protection, including off-shore processing and climate induced migration.

Her research interests are European asylum policy, refugee protection, and minority rights with particular emphasis on the rights of the Roma, Gypsies and travelling people. Helen is interested in critical legal studies and socio-legal methodologies.

External activity

Helen is a trustee for the Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Refugee Forum.

Sponsors and collaborators

Recent collaborative projects leading to edited collections:

  • minority and cultural rights of migrants in Research Handbook on Migration and International Law (ed. Prof. Vincent Chetail) Edward Elgar
  • Roma and citizenship in Slippery Citizenship (ed. Prof Rhoda Howard-Hasmann et al) Wilfred Laurier University, Canada.
  • Recipient of Socio-legal Studies Association small grant for “Gendering the asylum determination’ research project.
  • Principal Investigator of the report  ‘Legal advice and Support for Persons with Insecure Status in Nottingham’ [2020] with Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Refugee Forum and Dr Tom Vickers.


Helen's recent publications include:

  • No Place Called Home. The Banishment of ‘Foreign Criminals’ in the Public Interest: A Wrong without Redress Laws 2020 vol 9 (4) 26
  • 'Fat cat' lawyers and 'illegal' migrants: the impact of intersecting hostilities and toxic narratives on access to justice 2020 Journal of Social Welfare and Family Law 42 (3)
  • Crisis Framing and the Syrian Displacement: The Threat to European Values 2019 Vol. 28 Nottingham Law journal, 27
  • 'Warehouses And Window-Dressing: A Legal Perspective On Educational Segregation In Europe 2015, 1 (15) ZEP
  • 'Minority and Cultural Rights of Migrants' in Chetail (ed.) Research Handbook on Migration and International law 2014 Edward Elgar
  • 'Some Europeans are more Equal than Others' People, Place, Policy 2014, 8 (1)
  • 'How Citizenship Laws Leave The Roma In Europe’s Hinterland' in Howard-Hassmann (ed.) Slippery Citizenship 2015 U Penn Press
  • Bigo, Guild, Carrera (eds.) Foreigners, Refugees or Minorities Ashgate 2013 – published in Nottingham Law Journal 2014, 23.
  • Richardson and Ryder (eds.) Gypsies and Travellers – published in Romani Studies 2013, 23, 2
  • Asylum. A Right Denied Ashgate (2014)
  • Minority and cultural rights of migrants, in Research Handbook on Migration and International Law (ed. Prof. Vincent Chetail) Edward Elgar (2014)
  • Roma and Citizenship, in Slippery Citizenship (ed. Prof. Rhoda Howard-Hasmann et al.) Wilfred Laurier Univ, Canada (2014)
  • Roma expulsions and discrimination: The elephant in Brussels, European Journal of Migration and the Law, 13:4, 361-388 (2011)
  • What lies beneath: exploring links between hate crime and asylum policy in the UK, Liverpool Law Review,31:3, 233-491 (2011)
  • Divide and teach. Educational inequality and the Roma, International journal of Human Rights, 14:3, 464-489 (2010)
  • No right to liberty. The detention of asylum seekers for administrative convenience, European Journal of Migration and the Law, 2 (2008)
  • Exposing flaws in the detention of asylum seekers: a critique of Saadi, Nottingham Law Journal, 17:2, 34-51 (2008)
  • Minority Rights Protection in International law. The Roma of Europe, Ashgate (2007)

See all of Helen O'Nions's publications...

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