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Lea is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Law at the University of Glasgow. Previously, she held academic positions at Maastricht University, the University of Edinburgh and University College London.

Her research interests are in the area of human rights and international law, as well as their relationship with political philosophy. She has written on a range of topics, including the extraterritorial application of human rights, secessionist movements and international law, and human rights adjudication and participatory democracy. She is the author of Human Rights Unbound: A Theory of Extraterritoriality (OUP 2020) and has acted as an expert for the Environment and Human Rights Drafting Group at the Council of Europe.

She is currently working on challenges climate change raises for international human rights law.

Below is a list of key publications. For a full list please click on the following link:

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Expanding Human Rights Obligations to Facilitate Climate Justice? A Note on Shortcomings and Risks

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Between facts and principles: jurisdiction in international human rights law

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In international human rights law ‘jurisdiction’ is the centre of the debate on extraterritorial obligations. The purpose of the present paper is to a) analyse how facts and principles contribute to the explanation of jurisdiction in international human rights law and b) to show how this analysis could help sharpen the debate in this area by making the grounds of disagreement between different accounts explicit. It first describes international practice regarding jurisdiction and shows that it is committed to jurisdiction being a principle that responds to facts on the ground. Second, the paper describes two academic views on jurisdiction in detail. Next, it introduces the framework on facts and principles developed by Jerry Cohen. The idea is that facts only support principles if their relevance is explained by another principle that does not depend on facts. Finally, section 4 combines the framework with our insights into jurisdiction. If jurisdiction is best understood as a principle that responds to facts, this implies that jurisdiction cannot be explained by facts alone. It must instead reflect principles that are themselves not fact-dependent. Adhering to this framework allows for better explanation of jurisdiction and a clearer understanding of the different views on jurisdiction.

Research Handbook on Secession

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Combining both theoretical and practical insights, the Research Handbook on Secession addresses a wide range of legal issues and concepts surrounding secessions. It considers both well-known examples such as Kosovo and Bangladesh alongside less frequently discussed cases including Somaliland and Palestine. The Research Handbook offers state-of-the-art analysis of international law on – among other topics – statehood, secession, self-determination, as well as comparative constitutional perspectives.

Vidmar, J.

Justifying Extraterritorial Human Rights Obligations and Climate Change as a Counterexample

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Allocating human rights obligations in the ECHR

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This article asks how to allocate human rights obligations stemming from the European Convention on Human Rights and defends an interpretivist account of human rights based on the values of integrity and equality to answer it. First, it considers the structure of rights and argues that human rights usually require a duty bearer who needs to be identified. Second, the article analyses interest-based theories of human rights and shows that they do not speak to the allocation of duties. Third, I argue that duties can only be allocated relying on a normative principle and that an interpretivist account of human rights allows for underlying values to be identified. Fourth, I show that these values should be understood to be integrity and equality. Finally, the article applies the framework to the judgment in Carter v Russia, showing that an explicitly normative account supplies principled distinctions where other approaches cannot.

Human Rights Unbound: A Theory of Extraterritoriality

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This book explores to what extent a state owes human rights obligations to individuals outside of its territory, when the conduct of that state impacts upon the lives of those individuals. It draws upon legal and political philosophy to develop a theory of extraterritoriality based on the nature of human rights, merging accounts of economic, social, and cultural rights with those of civil and political rights Lea Raible outlines four main arguments aimed at changing the way we think about the extraterritoriality of human rights. First, she argues that questions regarding extraterritoriality are really about justifying the allocation of human rights obligations to specific states. Second, the book shows that human rights as found in international human rights treaties are underpinned by the values of integrity and equality. Third, she shows that these same values justify the allocation of human rights obligations towards specific individuals to public institutions - including states - that hold political power over those individuals. And finally, the book demonstrates that title to territory is best captured by the value of stability, as opposed to integrity and equality. On this basis, Raible concludes that all standards in international human rights treaties that count as human rights require that a threshold of jurisdiction, understood as political power over individuals, is met. The book applies this theory of extraterritoriality to explain the obligations of states in a wide range of cases.