PhD (Cambridge)

Law and Legal Studies

Professor Kinley has been at the forefront of the development of human rights scholarship, policy and practice for more than 30 years. From his Cambridge doctorate which informed the British Government’s establishment of a parliamentary scrutiny committee to accompany the UK’s Human Rights Act in 1998, to his pioneering research intersecting human rights and the global economy, he has pushed boundaries and broken new paths. A number of widely cited articles on business and human rights were pivotal in opening up the topic and his book Civilising Globalisation (2009) was seminal in its comprehensive mapping of the field. His research on the World Bank earned him a Fulbright Senior Scholarship in 2004 and his work on international trade drew on two ARC discovery grants. His book Necessary Evil (2018) on finance and human rights was another vanguard enterprise winning the Axiom International Business Book Award 2020, and which led to his creation (with Kym Sheehan) in 2021 of the Financial Services Human Rights Benchmark, the first of its kind worldwide. His 2014 book International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights co-authored with Ben Saul and Jacqui Mowbray, won an American Society of International Law Book Prize in 2015. As founding Director of the Castan Centre for Human Rights Law at Monash University (2000-05) and inaugural Chair of Human Rights Law at Sydney University (since 2005), his research and teaching have been formative in the depth and breadth of human rights scholarship today, in Australia and internationally.

Professor Kinley’s work draws heavily on his policy experience across a range of settings. In addition to holding legal specialist positions at the Australian Human Rights and Law Reform Commissions (1995-2000), he has worked with the UN, World Bank and EU, as well as government agencies, law firms, multinational corporations and NGOs throughout Asia, Africa, Europe, North America and Australia. He is an Expert Member of Doughty Street Chambers in London and was a founding member of Australian Lawyers for Human Rights. He has worked extensively on Australian aid projects throughout Asia, including establishing a Ministry for Human Rights in Indonesia; facilitating the first delegation of Chinese government officials on a three-month human rights training programme in Australia; coordinating the research and writing of a human rights textbook for schools and colleges in Vietnam; running workshops on human rights for government officials in Myanmar, and for Iraqi public servants following the Iraq War; constructing bespoke human rights training courses for the Nepalese Police Force and conducting a review of Australia’s human rights initiatives in the Pacific. He promoted thinking on how mining companies address human rights problems in Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Myanmar and South Africa; and advised the Norwegian Government on the human rights implications of Palm Oil harvesting in Indonesia. Many of these and other experiences formed the basis of his latest book, The Liberty Paradox (2022).

He is a regular commentator on human rights issues worldwide including in the media, conferences and other public forums, before the US Congress and EU Parliament, and at many universities in Australia and overseas.

  • 2004 Fullbright Senior Scholarship
  • 2015 American Society of International Law Book Prize- International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights co-authored with Ben Saul and Jacqui Mowbray
  • 2020 Axiom International Book Award - Necessary Evil (2018)