Photo of Dr Aoife Daly

Dr Aoife Daly Ph.D.

Reader Law


    Personal Statement

    Aoife is Reader in Law at the School of Law. She has worked and researched widely on children's rights and has held a number of NGO and academic positions, such as at the Human Rights Centre at the University of Essex, and with Save the Children UK. She also has teaching and research interests in a number of other areas including family law and civil and political rights. She researches human rights issues through the lenses of social justice, gender and psychology. Aoife's Ph.D. from the School of Law, Trinity College Dublin created a good practice model on the right of children to be heard in legal proceedings affecting them. She is Deputy Director of the European Children's Rights Unit.

    Aoife recently published Children, Autonomy and the Courts: Beyond the Right to be Heard (Brill/Nijhoff, 2018) In this book she argues that as autonomy is prioritised in liberal democracies, it should also be prioritised for children when courts determine their 'best interests'. She also published a monograph on children's freedom of assembly and association in 2016. She argued that children's rights need to be reconceptualised in these areas. There is too much inclination to prevent children from political activity, and insufficient consideration of how children require association rights in a private (e.g. being with friends in public spaces), rather than a public (e.g. political activity) sense. Aoife is now writing about the climate change protests and activities of children and young people.

    Aoife is at present an Early Career Fellow of the Independent Social Research Foundation, working on a project considering children’s ‘competence’, rights and context, arguing that competence should be approached in the legal context with evidence from other disciplines. She is also training professionals on how to understand children's capacity to consent to medical treatment.

    She is also working with Swedish colleagues on a Soderberg Institute-funded project examining the question of how age discrimination against children can fit in equality theories and frameworks. In 2018 she led a UK Equality and Human Rights Commission project examining good practice examples of how to make UN human rights provisions a reality. The final report is available here:,Enhancing,the,Status,of,UN,Treaty,Rights.pdf

    She has also provided extensive consultancy and advice on children's rights, including for the Children's Rights Alliance for England, the Irish Ombudsman for Children, the Council of Europe (see 2016 report on children's rights in Europe here:, and independent litigants. She has published in a number of journals such as the International Journal of Human Rights and the Irish Journal of Family Law, recently guest editing a special issue of the International Journal of Children's Rights on giving 'due weight' to children's views on matters affecting them She has also worked directly with children, for example in youth parliaments and teaching human rights to local primary school children through art.

    Prizes or Honours

    • Ph.D. Scholarship (National Children's Office, Ireland, 2009)
    • Ph.D. Scholarship (Irish Research Council for the Humanities and Social Sciences, 2009)