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Law and borders

Dr Patrick Butchard

On an Edge Hill Law programme, you’ll study a range of modules across your first and second years of study, designed to give you knowledge across the spectrum of the legal system. As well as building up your essential knowledge and lawyers’ skills, when you come to your final year, you’ll have free choice from up to 20 unique specialist modules. All optional modules are taught by lecturers who are experts in their specialist field – bringing both knowledge and real-world experience into the classroom.

Dr Patrick Butchard, Lecturer in Law, leads two of our final year optional modules – International Business Law and Human Rights. We caught up with Patrick to find out more about his research and how he brings his expertise into his modules.

“I’ve been interested in public international law for a long time, and my research on this has led to some really exciting opportunities up to now. Recently, my research has focused on the United Nations Security Council, and how it responds to incidents of genocide and mass atrocities. In 2020, I published a book that focuses on the failures of the UN Security Council to date, and acknowledging ways in which this could be avoided in the future. This area of focus has strong ties to students’ learning on the Human Rights module, which looks at the protection of international human rights, how international law works to do this, and how institutions like the United Nations contribute to the development of these rights. It’s one of our most popular optional modules.”

Dr Patrick Butchard
Lecturer in Law

Last year, Patrick was appointed as a Parliamentary Fellow at the House of Commons library. In this role, he advises some of the country’s most senior politicians on international law – producing research briefings and analysis on major pieces of international law legislation for MPs and the general public.

In this high-profile role, Patrick has the opportunity to conduct research of his choice in Parliament, as well as responding to requests from MPs to provide information about the legal implications involved in situations relating to Brexit and other international legal issues. This experience in particular allows Patrick to bring real-world insight into how Parliament works behind the scenes – and these insights help him to put theory into context for our students.

The Fellowship is a fantastic opportunity to bring my knowledge and expertise to bear on international law and experience the inner-workings of Parliament. It will also provide an opportunity for my research to have an immediate impact and contribute towards some of the most topical and pressing issues facing society.

Parliament building, London
Big Ben and Westminster Bridge at dusk, London, UK

My experience within Parliament also gives me a unique insight into the law-making process, and it is great to be able to share this with our students as part of the first year Public Law module. On this module, students discuss and learn about the fundamentals of Parliament and the rule of law, so having this close relationship with Parliament allows me to offer students a much deeper understanding of this institution and the UK’s constitution.

Patrick’s passion for teaching and research in both Human Rights and International Law has sparked an idea for a brand new module proposal, that he hopes can be offered on Law programmes at Edge Hill in the future.

Human Rights and International have a very close connection with my research in International Peace and Security, and bringing my expertise and interest in both of these subjects together to offer a new specialist module would be great. Seeing a passion emerge in the students I teach, and being able to put their learning into perspective with the help of my own experience, is what makes being a lecturer so rewarding.