Rebecca Wallace
Title: Professor
First Name: Rebecca
Surname: Wallace
Position: Research Professor

Duties and Responsibilities

Professor Rebecca Wallace MA., LL.B., Ph.D. was appointed Emeritus Professor in the School of Health Sciences in February 2017.  Previously she was Research Professor in International Human Rights and Justice from December 2012.  She has, however been associated with RGU Law School since 2003 when she joined the department as Professor of International Human Rights Law.

Rebecca's principal discipline throughout 41 years in academia has been international law with a particular emphasis on human rights of especially vulnerable groups.  Her most recent research activity has been the human rights based approach to health delivery and a consideration of health issues from a legal perspective.  She is an established scholar of international renown and has extensive in depth experience of delivering human rights awareness by way of a variety of medium in different fora.  Rebecca has a proven track record as Principal Investigator on a number of wide ranging externally funded research projects, as well as a prolific publication output in the relevant subject area.  Positions held include research Professor of International Human Rights and Justice at Robert Gordon University; Head of the Law School, Napier University, Edinburgh; and Director of the Centre for the Rural Child at the University of the Highlands and Islands.  Rebecca is also a regular reviewer for peer reviewed journals and serves on the editorial boards of several journals.  Rebecca was a member of the Arts and Humanities Research Council Peer Review College until 2016.  She has also been an assessor for the British Academy, the Nuffield Foundation and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.  She sits on the advisory group of the Scottish Human Rights Commission and was a member of the Advisory Group re the establishment of Scotland's National Action Plan.  Rebecca has an extensive and well developed network of contacts across the higher education sector throughout the UK and abroad.  She is a non practising barrister, a Member of Lincoln's Inn and a retired judge of the First-tier Tribunal (Asylum and Immigration).


Funded Research Awards:

  • Commissioned by World Health Organisation (WHO) to undertake a global review of maternal death review policy and practice to establish guidelines for countries looking to introduce maternal death review (£10000) 2015;
  • Member of team awarded grant under Scottish Government and Malawi promoting respectful care in child birth and after (£432,000 over three years) 2015;
  • Commissioned by Options to develop guidelines on Maternal Death Reviews (West Africa), 2014;
  • Instilling a Human Rights Approach in Midwifery Training in Malawi, Burdett Trust for Nursing (£13,000), 2014;
  • A proof of concept study: School children and their understanding of "major change or losses in life", Pallium Foundation of Canada ($5,000), 2014; • KTP Promoting Sustainable Employment for Ex Offenders (£100.000+), 2014;
  • An Analysis of Birth Registration Legislation and its Discriminatory Impact on Women, Plan International (£5000), 2011;
  • The Nature and Extent of Child Trafficking in Scotland, commissioned by Scotland’s Commissioner for Children and Young People (£18,000), 2010;
  • Nuffield Grant – COI in the Context of Claims Relating to Children 2010;
  • British Academy Small Grant (£7452) Country of Origin Information within the Context of the Refugee Determination Process, 2008-09;
  • Nuffield Social Science Award Schemes Small Grants Scheme (£8794) The Reception of Expert Evidence: An evaluation of the reception of expert evidence, particularly in claims alleging torture within the asylum determination process, 2007-08;
  • British Academy Conference Grant (£600) for attendance at ILA conference Pretoria, South Africa, August 2007;
  • Carnegie Grant (£385) August 2007;
  • European Social Development Fund (2004-2006) (£75000); to prepare and provide teaching materials to industry on corporate social responsibility. The outcome of this project was a readily accessible electronic learning package pertaining to corporate social responsibility for company employees;
  • British Academy Grant (2006) (£6586); Analysis of Complicity and Spheres of Influence;
  • Nuffield Research Grant, (2004) (£5000); Analysis of the application of UK Gender Guidelines within the UK determination process;
  • Previous research awards include inter alia, Leverhulme Grant (£37,000); 3 Small Project Grants from Nuffield; 2 grants from Carnegie; UNHCR and J. Rowntree (£19,000); ENABLE (Scotland), (£20,000); British Academy Personal Grant (£4,300) and European Commission (£20,000).

Professional Memberships

  • Member Steering Committee Scottish Health Action on Alcohol Problems 2021
  • Council Member St Margaret's School for Girls Aberdeen 2018
  • Board Member of Cruse Scotland 2017-2019

External / Professional Roles

Other Professional Positions of Responsibility include:

  • Member of the Lay Committee, Royal College of Physicians (Edinburgh), June 2014;
  • Member of Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) Strategic Reviewers Group 2011-2016
  • Member (academic, international) of AHRC Peer College 2009-2012 (reappointed for further term 2013-2016);
  • Director of Research International Law Association (British Branch) 2006-2013;
  • Member of the Research Advisory Group Scottish Human Rights Commission;
  • Member of Advisory Board British Institute of Human Rights;
  • Adviser training package for Police Scotland to identify and deal with Critical Incidents;
  • College of The Bahamas Research Advisory Board (COB Nassau, The Bahamas); College of the Bahamas Human Rights Institute Advisory Committee;
  • Mentor on Women in International Law Interest Group (WILIG) Mentoring Programme;
  • Judge, international rounds of the Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition, previously UK Administrator, coach and author of the problem, 1985 and 2006.

External examinerships and validation reviewer events

  • External Examiner LLM Programme National University of Ireland, Maynooth, 2015 -
  • External Examiner Human Rights LLB University of Glasgow 2014 -
  • External Examiner for University of Dundee Graduate School of Natural Resources, Law, Policy and Management;
  • University of London (LL.B. external degree) - Principal Examiner International Human Rights; examiner EU Law and Public International Law;
  • Member of validation panel for University of Dundee Centre for Energy, Petroleum and Mineral Law and Policy Graduate School of Natural Resources Law, Policy and Management; University of Glasgow restructuring of law degree; Glasgow Caledonian University MSc Citizenship and Human Rights.


Publications since 2000:

  • International Law 9th edition (Sweet & Maxwell) September 2020;
  • International Law 3rd edition (Nutshell series) co-authored, Published February 2013
  • International Law, (Nutcase series) co-authored Sweet and Maxwell, February 2008;
  • International Human Rights: The Protection Afforded to Potentially Vulnerable Persons Under International Law, (2nd.ed) (Sweet & Maxwell 2001). 

Monographs/Refereed Articles:

  • Children's Perceptions Bereavement and Loss, in Bereavement Care; Audsley Chary, Scott and Wallace 38:1, 6-12, doi:10.1080/02682621.2019.1588560
  • Mountain Child: Systematic Literature Review: Audsley, A., Wallace, R.M.M. & Price, M.F. Matern Child Health J (2016). doi:10.1007/s10995-016-2051-8
  • From Friedman to Ruggie: The Changing Landscape of Human Rights and Business Responsibilities, invited contribution to Festschrift, Essays in International Economic Law, Development and Arbitration in Honour of Professor Don Wallace, Jr., Juris Net LLC, 2014;
  • The Principle of Non-Refoulement: Scope and Content, in V. Chetail (ed), The Research Handbook in International Law and Migration, pp 417-438 Elgar Publishing, March 2014;
  • The Protection of Asylum Seekers with Particular Reference to African Women: The Contribution to the Contemporary Jurisprudence, in Regional Approaches to the Protection of Asylum Seekers: An International Legal Perspective, pp 213-244 Ashgate 2014;
  • Expert Medical Evidence and its Application in the Refugee Determination Process, International Journal of Refugee Law doi:10.1093/ijrl/eet046 December 2013;
  • Changing on the Inside: restorative justice in prisons, a literature review, International Journal of Bahamian Studies, vol 19 no 1 2013, pp57-6;
  • Business, Human Rights and Children: The Developing International Agenda, (co authored) The Denning Law Journal 2013 Vol 26 pp107-127;
  • CRC General Comments on Children’s Health, Impact of the Business Sector and the Right to Rest, Leisure and Play: (co authored) Irish Journal of Family Law [2013] 2 I.J.F. 35-40;
  • The Concept of Asylum in International Law, in Rafiqul Islam and Jahid Hossain Bhuiyan (eds), An Introduction to International Refugee Law, Martinus Nijhoff Publishers: Leiden/Boston, 2013;
  • Internal Relocation Alternative in Refugee Status Determination: Is the Risk/Protection Dichotomy Reality or Myth? A Gendered Analysis, in Juss, S. & Harvey, C., Contemporary Issues in Refugee Law(Edward Elgar) June 2013;
  • Medical, Statistical, Ethical and Human Rights Considerations in the Assessment of Age in Children and Young People Subject to Immigration Control, British Medical Bulletin, May 2012 (co-authored);
  • E (Children) (FC): The UK Supreme Court Sets the Record Straight, Irish Journal of Family Law (2012) 15(1);
  • The Case of BH: The Best Interests of the Child: Primary but not Paramount, Irish Journal of Family Law (2012) 15(3);
  • The 2011 EU Directive on Combating Human Trafficking: Does the United Kingdom Comply? South African Yearbook of International Law 2012 (2011)36 SAYIL 120
  • The Best Interests of the Child in the Immigration and Asylum Process: The Case of ZH (Tanzania) v. Secretary of State for the Home Department, Children’s Legal Rights Journal, Volume 31, No. 2, Summer 2011;
  • Observations on Child Trafficking: A Scottish Perspective, Commonwealth Judicial Journal, Vol.19, No. 1, June 2011;
  • Scotland: A safe place for child traffickers? Commissioned by Scotland’s Commissioner for Children and Young People (SCCYP), published March 2011;
  • Refugees and Internally Displaced: A Challenge to Nation Building, commissioned for special edition of Maine Law Review devoted to Nation Building (2008);
  • Good Governance and Non State Actors in International Law: An African Perspective: Non state actors in the context of refugee determination processes, with particular reference to the position of women, SAYIL, 2008;
  •  “Rights and Duties of States in cases of Aggression” (co authored) in Grant, J. P. and Barker, C. (eds.) The Harvard Research in International Law. Contemporary Analysis and Appraisal, (W.S. Hein & Co. 2007);
  • Refugee law – particular social group – family as particular social group – membership thereof - female genital mutilation 2007 SAYIL;
  • Public International Law, Laws of Scotland: Stair Memorial Encyclopaedia, (Butterworths/Lexis 2007);
  • Religion within the refugee context: Squaring the circle? Javaid Rehman and Susan C. Breau (eds.), Religion, Human Rights and International Law: A Critical Examination of Islamic State Practices, (Martinus Nijhoff), 2007, pp 197-222;
  • Torture –jus cogens-state immunity in civil proceedings-state immunity and immunity of its officials, (co authored) AJIL Vol. 100 [2006] pp1-7;
  • A Comparison of Gender Guidelines within the Canadian and UK Asylum Determination Process, (co authored) in Christopher P.M. Waters (ed) Canada-UK Perspectives on International Law (Martinus Nijhoff, 2006). pp 169-180;
  • Sovereign immunity – immunity of state officials– civil liability – jus cogens 2005 (30) SAYIL;
  • Refugee Law and Human Rights, Essential Guide to Human Rights, (Hodder Arnold 2005);
  • “The Interactions between International Law and Corporate Codes of Conduct: a study of children and women in the textile industry”, in Tully, S. (ed.), The Handbook on Corporate Legal Responsibility, (co authored) (Elgar Publishers, 2005) pp 302-317;
  • Update of EU and ECHR Sections on Refugee Law for Immigration Judges, International Association of Refugee Lawyers and Judges, 2004 (translated to Russian and French);
  • Not Only Article 3? Scottish Human Rights Journal, Issue 25, September 2004;
  • “The UN Norms: A First Step to Universal Regulation of Transnational Corporations’ Responsibilities for Human Rights?” (co authored) Dublin University Law Journal Vol. 26, 2004, p304;
  • Discharging the Debt to Unaccompanied Minors Seeking Refugee Status: The Policies and Practices within the European Union in Representing Children 2004 Vol. 18, No 1. pp 11-27;
  • Rethinking the meaning of human rights; Human rights: The Time for Reassessment in Frances Butler (ed.), Human Rights Protection: Methods and Effectiveness (Kluwer Law International and British Institute for Human Rights), pp 227-242;
  • War and Peace in Refugee Jurisprudence, (co authored) (2001) 95 American Journal of International Law, pp 349-366;
  • The Claims of Unaccompanied Minors Seeking Refugee Status, Representing Children, September 2000

Conference Papers Since 2010 include:

  • Conference on 7th June 2011 (Edinburgh) re Child trafficking in Scotland, organised by Scotland's Commissioner for Children and Young People;
  • College of the Bahamas, 3rd November 2011 Restorative Justice:  Findings of the Literature Review;
  • Medical evidence in the context of claims re torture in the asylum process:  Symposium in Edinburgh University April 1st 2011;
  • International Children's Rights/Voices Working Conference in Copenhagen June 2010.

Media Coverage

In Press

  • Realizing International Human Rights: Scotland on the Global Stage: Co Editor: Special Edition of International Human Rights (2017); 
  • The best interests of the child as reflected in the refugee determination process with reference to European jurisprudence and in particular the United Kingdom: invited contributor in edited book Protecting the Migrant Child Central Issues in the Search for Best Practice: ed. M.Crock and L Benson (Edward Elgar) 2017; 
  • A Human Rights Based Approach to Maternal Health: Pilot Study in Malawi: African Journal of Midwifery and Maternal Health work in progress 2016/17