Dr Richard Watkins joined Nottingham Law School as Lecturer in Law in September 2019. Richard completed his PhD in Law at the University of Nottingham. At NLS Richard teaches Trusts, Land and International, European and Comparative Law on the undergraduate LLB programmes, as well as Equity and Trusts on the GDL course. Richard is also module leader for GDL research projects.
Richard's doctoral research, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (award ID: 1368568), focused on how to guarantee soldiers' right to life under Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights. In Smith v Ministry of Defence  UKSC 41, the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom determined that British soldiers are "within the jurisdiction" of the UK for the purposes of Article 1 of the Convention anywhere in the world - even when deployed to armed conflicts abroad. Whilst the Supreme Court's judgment resolved that issue, it left a more significant question unanswered: what is the nature and extent of states' obligations to their soldiers under Article 2? Richard's thesis tries to define legal standards that offer adequate and meaningful protection for soldiers who lay down their lives to protect their country, but that do not hamper military efficacy. The thesis considers states' obligations to protect their soldiers' right to life in the context of training accidents (such as the high-profile SAS training selection deaths in the Brecon Beacons), preventing friendly fire, and protecting soldiers from enemy attacks. Richard plans to publish this research as a monograph. Richard's plans for future research build upon his doctoral work by considering the possibility of derogation from the right to life under Article 15(2) of the European Convention. No state has yet availed itself of the possibility of derogating from the right to life. Richard will consider the approach of the European Court of Human Rights to the effect of derogating from other rights, and the approach of other international human rights treaty bodies to states' right to life obligations during armed conflict.