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Lea joined the School of Law in September 2019 as a Lecturer in Public Law. Previously, she taught at Maastricht University, and the University of Edinburgh. Lea studied law at the Universities of Zürich and Hong Kong and holds a PhD from University College London.
Her monograph ‘Human Rights Unbound: A Theory of Extraterritoriality’ is forthcoming with Oxford University Press in 2020.

Publications

The extraterritoriality of the ECHR: why Jaloud and Pisari should be read as game changers

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This article argues that Jaloud v Netherlands and Pisari v Moldova and Russia should be interpreted as changing the approach to the extraterritorial application of the European Convention on Human Rights. It advances three key arguments. First, it suggests a reading of these cases pointing to the fact that the European Court of Human Rights is no longer relying on the separation of the different models of extraterritorial jurisdiction. Secondly, it advances a model of jurisdiction based on power understood as a potential for control and the application of rules to the concerned individuals. Thirdly, it argues that this model is preferable to the previous ones because it explains hard cases just as well or better and, in addition, captures a distinct understanding of the function of human rights recognized in the Convention.

European Human Rights Law Review, 2, pp. 161-168.

Title to territory and jurisdiction in international human rights law: three models for a fraught relationship

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It is by now uncontroversial that states may owe human rights obligations to individuals outside their territory. The debate about extraterritoriality has, so far, focused on the concept and interpretation of jurisdiction. The role of territory in general, and title in particular, in the conceptual landscape has received less attention in comparison. This article aims to fill this gap by showing that (a) title to territory continues to shape interpretations of jurisdiction, and (b) that this should be avoided. To this end, the article first defines jurisdiction in international human rights law and title to territory. Jurisdiction is best understood as a threshold criterion that triggers human rights obligations of states towards particular individuals. Title to territory, on the other hand, is a set of claims to territory designed to uphold minimal stability. The article then introduces three models – the approximation model, the differentiation model, and the separation model – of the relationship between title to territory and jurisdiction in international human rights law and evaluates them in light of their fit with the relational nature of human rights. The result is that the approximation and differentiation models – that is, those that maintain title's influence on the interpretation of jurisdiction in various degrees – fail the success criterion, while the separation model satisfies it.

Leiden Journal of International Law, 31(2), pp. 315-334. (doi:10.1017/S0922156518000018)

Human Rights Watch v Secretary of State for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office : victim status, extraterritoriality and the search for principled reasoning

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In Human Rights Watch v Secretary of State for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office the UK Investigatory Powers Tribunal found that the relevant standard of ‘victim status’ that applies in secret surveillance cases consists in a potential risk of being subjected to surveillance and that the European Convention on Human Rights does not apply to the surveillance of individuals who reside outside of the UK. This note argues that the Tribunal's finding regarding the victim status of the applicants was sound but that the underlying reasoning was not. It concludes that the Tribunal's finding on extraterritoriality is unsatisfactory and that its engagement with the European Court of Human Rights case law on the matter lacked depth. Finally, the note considers the defects of the Human Rights Watch case, and the case law on extraterritoriality more generally, against the backdrop of the place of principled reasoning in human rights adjudication.

Modern Law Review, 80(3), pp. 510-524. (doi:10.1111/1468-2230.12268)