Katie is Chair of International Human Rights Law at the University of Stirling and previously qualified as a constitutional lawyer with the Government Legal Service for Scotland. Her research examines the legalisation of human rights, specifically economic and social rights, in different constitutional settings. This work has informed processes of constitutional change across the UK and internationally. The research is being implemented as part of Scotland’s incorporation journey of international human rights into domestic law. At the international level her research includes work funded by the British Academy in Colombia and Brazil and her work was translated into Spanish to inform the current Chilean constitutional convention process.
Katie has served as Expert Advisor to NGOs, governments, parliaments, and the United Nations, including advising the UN Special Rapporteur on Access to Justice issues. She was appointed to Scotland’s First Minister’s Advisory Group on Human Rights Leadership in Scotland, the Academic Advisory Panel to the National Taskforce on Human Rights Leadership and the Children and Young Person’s Commissioner’s Expert Group on incorporation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Economic and social rights relate to issues such as housing, health care, education, employment, and social security. Violations of the rights tend to impact on some of the most marginalised groups in society, including women, children, ethnic minorities, the disabled and the elderly among other minority groups. Professor Boyle’s research uses interdisciplinary methods addressing how rights can be made legally enforceable, in particular through formal legalisation, incorporation (embedding international law domestically) and enabling accountability through access to justice. This research directly relates to improving people’s everyday lives through transformative structural change and is closely connected to the RSE Grand Challenges on enabling a thriving, well informed society and increasing Scotland’s role on the international stage as a leader in human rights.