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Claire Methven O’Brien an internationally renowned expert in human rights, with twenty years' experience of advising governments, international businesses, international development agencies, financial institutions, and human rights organisations. 

She has been invited to provide analysis and present her research by the governments of the United States and Japan, the European Parliament, the International Organisation of Employers, International Chambers of Commerce, International Bar Association, the Council of Europe, Swedish national pension funds and Norwegian sovereign wealth fund, amongst others. 

Claire is Reader in Law. She was formerly Chief Adviser and Senior Researcher at the Danish Institute for Human Rights. She is an Honorary Lecturer in the School of Management at the University of St. Andrews and a Global Practitioner at the University of Strathclyde Business School.

Since joining the University of Dundee in 2020, Claire established the LLM Business and Human Rights, the first such course worldwide.

Claire holds a PhD from the European University Institute, Florence, and other degrees from Queens’ College, University of Cambridgethe London School of Economics and Political Science and City University, London. Claire is a Barrister called to the London Bar and a member of the Middle Temple.

She has been a Research Fellow at the Centre for the Study of Human Rights of the London School of Economics and Political Science, and held visiting positions at the University of Groningen Department for International Law and New York University School of Law

Claire has guest lectured at leading international academic institutions, including at the University of Zurich, University of Pretoria Human Rights Centre, University of Groningen, Åbo Akademi University, University of Leiden, University of Copenhagen, University of Oslo, Norwegian School of Economics and Copenhagen Business School and University of Glasgow’s Adam Smith Business School.

Claire's numerous publications include the Council of Europe’s Business and human rights. A Handbook for Legal PractitionersPublic procurement and human rights: Opportunities, Risks and Dilemmas for the State as Buyer, Research Methods in Human Rights (2nd edition, forthcoming 2024). 

Her research has been cited by the United Nations, Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, European Union.


Claire leads Realising the SDGs: The role of responsible business, a major research grant programme funded by the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs/DANIDAResearch collaboration projects in Danida priority countries (EUR1.26million/9.4 million DKK, Apr 2018-May 2022).

She has also been Co-Principal Investigator on research grants from the British Academy and Carnegie Trust.

Since 2020, she was awarded Strategic Development and Interdisciplinary Incubator Grants by the University of Dundee's Institute for Social Sciences Research. 

View full research profile and publications


Course Director, LLM Business and Human Rights

International human rights: Law, Theory and Practice LW52022

Business and Human Rights LW51128

Corporate Sustainability and ESG Law LW52416

Justice, Law and Human Rights LW31002 and LW41016 

Media availability

I am available for media commentary on my research.

Dr Methven O’Brien is an expert on human rights law. Her expertise includes EU sustainable business laws, investment, corporate sustainability due diligence, public procurement, and forced labour and modern slavery. She has wide experience of advising governments, business, the EU and UN on sustainable business regulation. She is also a Commissioner at the Scottish Human Rights Commission.

Contact Corporate Communications for media enquiries.

Areas of expertise

  • Climate change
  • Human rights
  • Sustainability
  • Corporate sustainability
  • Sustainable investments
  • Forced labour and modern slavery