Sophie Rigney joined the University of Dundee as a Lecturer in Law in May 2017. Previously, Sophie had been appointed as a Senior Research Fellow at the Melbourne Law School (Australia) and co-appointed as a Visiting Fellow at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, University of London. In that role, Sophie convened the international research collaboration between the Universities of Melbourne and London entitled ‘Transition and Nation: The United Kingdom and Indigenous Nations as a Meeting of Sovereigns’. Sophie has previously lectured at the Melbourne Law School, the University of Tasmania (Australia), and the University of Sussex.
Sophie has substantive research interests in Indigenous interactions with international law; international criminal law and procedure; feminist, critical and decolonial approaches to international law; human rights law; and post-conflict justice. Sophie is currently engaged in three main research projects:
- first, she is working on a substantive research project on how Indigenous communities create and practice a distinctly Indigenous international law;
- second, she is undertaking research into critical understandings of international criminal law, and particularly the place of defence lawyers and the accused in international criminal trials and narratives surrounding these trials; and
- third, she is engaged with an examination of how international law is depicted in literature – particularly in children’s literature – as well as in film, and other narrative forms.
Sophie’s research has appeared in a number of international journals and books, and she has written for The Age, Inside Story, and The Conversation. Sophie is an Associate Editor of the International Journal of Human Rights and a contributor to the Case Matrix Network for the International Criminal Court.
Sophie has a lengthy teaching record, at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. She is particularly interested in building critical thinking skills into legal pedagogy. Sophie has taught a wide range of subjects, including foundational law subjects, contract law, and equity, and she has also coordinated ‘Human Rights and Global Justice' at Melbourne Law School, and ‘International Criminal Procedure’ at the University of Tasmania.
Prior to her academic career, Sophie was a Defence Legal Assistant and Case Manager at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, in The Hague (2009-2011). There, she worked for the defence of Radovan Karadžić and of Lahi Brahimaj. Sophie has previously served as the Chair of the London Board of Trustees of the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (2016-7), and as a Director of Amnesty International Australia (2004-6). Sophie holds a PhD from the Melbourne Law School (2016), and first-class honours degrees in Law and Political Science from the University of Tasmania (2008).
'Race, reconciliation and justice in Australia: from denial to acknowledgment' Ethnic and Racial Studies, vol 41, no. 4, pp. 759-777. DOI:
'The Hopes and Discontents of Indigenous-Settler Reconciliation' International Journal of Transitional Justice, vol 11, no. 2, pp. 359-368. DOI:
'Carsten Stahn (ed.), The Law and Practice of the International Criminal Court' Journal of International Criminal Justice, vol 14, no. 3, pp. 742-744. DOI:
'The Place of the First Peoples in the International Sphere: A Necessary Starting Point for Justice for Indigenous Peoples' Melbourne University Law Review, vol 39, no. 3, pp. 981-1002.
'Is Indigenous Nation Building capable of strengthening and improving Indigenous holistic health outcomes: Retelling the Right to Health' Journal of Northern Studies, vol 10, no. 2, pp. 147-159.
'That a trial is fair': the centrality and incoherence of fairness in international criminal trials. in A Sarvarian, R Baker, F Fontanelli & V Tsevelekos (eds), Procedural fairness in international courts and tribunals. British Institute of International and Comparative Law, London.
The fractured relationship between fairness, the rights of the accused, and disclosure at the International Criminal Court. in J Petrovic (ed.), Accountability for Violations of International Humanitarian Law: Essays in Honour of Tim Mc Cormack. Taylor & Francis, United Kingdom, pp. 198-213.
'Timothy William Waters (ed.), The Milošević Trial: An Autopsy' Journal of International Criminal Justice, vol 13, no. 1, pp. 201-202. DOI:
''The Words Don't Fit You': Recharacterisation of the Charges, Trial Fairness, and Katanga' Melbourne Journal of International Law, vol 15, no. 2, pp. 1-19.
'Christoph Safferling, in cooperation with Lars Büngener, Hilde Farthofer and Alena Hartwig, International Criminal Procedure' Journal of International Criminal Justice, vol 11, no. 3, pp. 691-692. DOI:
'The Impact of Using Adjudicated Facts on ensuring a fair and expeditious trial at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia' International Criminal Justice Working Papers, no. 15, The New Zealand Centre for Human Rights Law, Policy and Practice, New Zealand, pp. 1-9.