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Prof William S B Bowring

Barrister and academic, with vast research, publishing and advisory experience across Russian and CIS affairs; fluent in Russian

Prof William S B Bowring
Barrister, Professor of Law, Birkbeck College, University of London; formerly Prof. in Human Rights and International Law, University of North London;previously, Reader in Law, Director of the Pan-European Institute, University of Essex


1970 : BA in Philosophy, University of Kent at Canterbury
1974: Called to the Bar - Middle Temple
1975-1990: Full-time practice at the Bar
1990-1995: Senior Lecturer in Law, Polytechnic, then University, of East London
1995: Principal Lecturer in Law, University of East London
1996: Lecturer in Human Rights in Russia/East Europe, University of Essex
1997: Senior Lecturer in Human Rights Law, Director of the Pan-European Institute, University of Essex
1999: Reader in Law, Director of the Pan-European Institute, University of Essex
2000: Professor in Human Rights and International Law, University of North London

1) Contracted Adviser on "Access to Justice and Rights Issues in Russia" for the UK Government-DFID/Know How Fund (June 1997-Dec 2004). This includes provision of expert advice, monitoring and appraisal, as well as the drafting of project proposals and concept notes.
2) Key expert for the project "Promotion of International Human Rights Standards in Kazakstan", Norwegian Institute for International Affairs, for UNDP, commenced summer 2002.
3) Legal Expert for the EU TACIS Project "Developing Local Democracy and Self-Government in the Russian Federation" No. 221210.217034.00, 2002-2004
4) Expert for the World Bank, on judicial reform in the Russian Federation - diagnostic mission, early 2002.
5) Expert for the Council of Europe: (1) Compliance of Georgia with its Human Rights Obligations; (2) Russia and the Framework Convention on National Minorities; (3) Russia's draft Criminal Procedural Code; (4) Minorities and Education (Rapporteur)
6) Consultant on Law and Legislative Policy to the Russian-European Trust for Welfare Reform, in its Project for UK Department for International Development, in Kemerovo, Russia, "Supporting the Development of Services for the Elderly in Kemerovo and Kemerovo Oblast".
7) Expert for the OSCE's High Commissioner on National Minorities, in Almaty, Kazakstan in 1999 and 2000, in Ukraine and Russia in 2000, and Kazakstan in 2001.
8) Expert on legislative compliance with the UN human rights standards, for the OSCE's ODIHR, in Kazakstan and Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. Kazakstan and Tajikistan projects are continuing.
9) Short-term Expert for the EU TACIS contract concerning "Strengthening the State of Law and Legal Education Under New Market Relations", working with the Russian Foundation for Legal Reform and the Higher School of Law, Moscow. This project included legislative comment and drafting, as well as teaching in Russia.
10) Consultant on Law and Legislative Policy to the Russian-European Trust for Welfare Reform, in its EU TACIS contract "Developing a System of Social Services for Vulnerable Groups" (started January 1997). Work included detailed comment on a number of federal and regional draft laws, and proposals for the development of a system of "social treteiskii courts".
11) Teaching courses in Human Rights and Humanitarian Law and practice to university lecturers and students, from CIS countries, in Russian, at Russian universities, at the Central European University, Budapest, in Almaty, Kazakstan, and in other locations.
12) Expert advice for Ukrainian Ministry of Justice, UNDP (on CIS laws, 1999), and OSCE (on compliance of the constitutions and laws of Kyrgyzstan and Kazakstan with their obligations under the UN Convention Against Torture, 1999-2000).
13) Acting as Trial Observer for Amnesty International in the treason trial of Alexander Nikitin, St Petersburg, Russia, 20-23 October 1998; at the appeal in the Russian Supreme Court in Moscow, 4-5 February 1999; and at the re-trial in December 1999. Nikitin was acquitted.
14) Legal Adviser to the UNDP's "Crimea Integration and Development Programme", in Crimea and to Kyiv in June, July, and October 1996, writing reports and helping to organise a Round Table Meeting between representatives of the Crimea Tatars and the Ukrainian Government on the question of citizenship.


1) Professional practice in the European Court of Human Rights, on behalf of clients in cases against Turkey, Latvia and Russia. Successful cases include Aktas v Turkey (App no. 00024351/94, date of decision 24 April 2003), Podkolzina v Latvia (App no. 00046726/99, date of decision 9 April 2002), Ozgur Gundem v Turkey (App no. 00023144/93, date of decision 16 March 2000).
2) Vice-Chairman (to 1998) and Executive Committee member (to present) of the Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales, since 1995
3) Trustee of REDRESS (reparation and compensation for victims of torture) since 1997
4) Member of the Rule of Law Council of the International Helsinki Federation, since 1999


Has given expert reports for a number of immigration/asylum appeals and also matrimonial cases; also in the extradition cases of Berezovsky and Zakaev (2004)


1) Article "Administrativnaya iyustitsiya v Yevrope: analaticheskiy
"Administrative Justice in Europe: Analytical Survey" (2005) No.2
(51) Sravniteltoye konstitutsionnoye obozrenye (Comparative
Constitutional Review) (Moscow: Institute for Law and Public Policy)
2) Chapter "The Crimean autonomy: innovation or anomaly?" in Marc Weller
and Stefan Wolff Autonomy, Self-governance and Conflict Resolution:
Innovative approaches to institutional design in divided societies

(Routledge, 2005) pp.75-97,
3) Chapter "Burial and Resurrection: Karl Renner's controversial
influence on the 'National Question' in Russia
" in Ephraim Nimni (ed)
National-Cultural Autonomy and its Contemporary Critics (Routledge,
2005) pp.191-206,
4) Chapters "The reality of human rights in Commonwealth of Independent
and "The Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe
(OSCE) and human rights
" in Rhona Smith and Christien van den Anker
(eds) The Essentials of Human Rights (Hodder & Stoughton Educational, 2005)
5) Report "The Rule of Law in Moldova" for the International Commission
of Jurists (ICJ), November 2004, at:
6) (Chapter) "Law, Customary: Central Asia" in Encyclopedia of Women and Islamic Cultures, volume 2 (2004, Brill, Leiden)
7) Review of Catherin Dupre "Importing the Law in Post-Communist Transitions. The Hungarian Constitutional Court and the Right to Human Dignity" (2004) v.15, n.1 Kings College Law Journal pp.194-198
8) (Article) "Postcolonial Transitions on the Southern Borders of the Former Soviet Union: The Return of Eurasianism?" in John Strawson and Roshan de Silva Wijeyeratne (eds) "Tracking the Postcolonial in Law", special issue of the Griffith Law Review (2003) v.12, n.2, pp.238-262
9) (Chapter) "Rejected organs? The efficacy of legal transplantation, and the ends of human rights in the Russian Federation", in Esin Orucu (ed) Judicial Comparativism in Human Rights Cases (2003) London, United Kingdom National Committee of Comparative Law, British Institute of International and Comparative Law
10) (Article) "Forbidden Relations? The UK's Discourse of Human Rights and the Struggle for Social Justice" (2002) n.1 Law, Social Justice, and Global Development, at
11) (Chapter) "The degradation of international law?" in John Strawson (ed) Law After Ground Zero (2002) London, Glasshouse Press ISBN 1-904385-02-8
12) (Article) "Sudebnaya systema i yeyo radikalnaya reforma v Anglii i Uwelse (The judicial system and its radical reform in England and Wales)" (2002) No.3 (4) Konstitutsionnoye Pravo: Vostochnoevropeiskoye Obozreniye (Constitutional Law: Eastern European Review) pp.2-11 ISSN 1560-7828
13) (Article) "Dolgii put Velikobritanii k evropeiskim standartam prav cheloveka: v avangarde I daleko pozadi (The long march of the UK to European standards of human rights: In the lead and far behind") (2002) No1 (38) Konstitutsionnoye Pravo: Vostochnoevropeiskoye Obozreniye (Constitutional Law: Eastern European Review) pp.37-45 ISSN 1560-7828
14) (Article) "Austro-Marxism's Last Laugh?: The Struggle for Recognition of National-Cultural Autonomy for Rossians and Russians" (March 2002) v.54, n.2 Europe-Asia Studies pp.229-250
15) Chapter "Between a (Russian) rock and a (Crimean Tatar) hard place? Ethnic, linguistic and minority issues" in Ann Lewis (ed) Ukraine and the EU: Neighbours, Friends, Partners? (The Federal Trust, 2002)
16) Article "Rossiya, Sovet Evropy i Prava Cheloveka" (Russia, the Council of Europe and Human Rights" in A. Avtonomov et al, Rossiya i Sovyet Evropy: Perspektivy Vzaimodeistviya (Moscow, Institute of Law and Public Policy, 2001) pp.37-59
17) (Article) "Vstupleniye Rossii v Sovet Evropy i prava cheloveka: chetyre goda spustya (Russia's accession to the Council of Europe and human rights: four years on)" Rossiiskii Byulletin po Pravam Cheloveka (2001) No. 14, pp. 53-66
18) (Chapter) "Zashchita prav detei v zakonodaelstve Anglii (Protection of Childrens Rights in English Legislation" pp. 150-163 in Dashkina and others (ed) Sotsialnoye Zakonodatelstvo Rossii i Velikobritanii (Social legislation in Russia and Great Britain) (Moscow, Khrisostom Publisher, 2000)
19) (Article) "Russia's accession to the Council of Europe and human rights: four years on" (2000) European Human Rights Law Review Issue 4, p.362, ISSN: 1361 1526
20) (Article) "Russia's accession to the Council of Europe and human rights: four years on" (2000) Helsinki Monitor: Quarterly on Security and Cooperation in Europe ISSN 0925-0972
21) (Chapter) "Russian Children: The Obscenity of Political Fantasy" in Eric Heinze (ed) Of Innocence and autonomy: Children, sex and human rights (Ashgate, Dartmouth, 2000) ISBN 1 84014 484 X
22) (Book) Sotsilanoye Zakonodatelstvo Rossii i Velikobritanii (Social Legislation in Russia and Great Britain) (ed Bill Bowring and Maria Levina, Moscow, Russian European Trust, 2000) includes Chapter "The protection of children's rights in English legislation" ISBN 5 87372 099 1
23) (Chapter) "Ancient Peoples and New Nations in the Russian Federation: Questions of Theory and Practice" in Stephen Tierney (ed) Accommodating National Identity: New Approaches in International and Domestic Law (Kluwer Law International, 2000) ISBN 90 411 1400 9
24) (Chapter) "Criticising Judges in Russia" in Michael Addo (ed) Freedom of Expression and the Criticism of Judges: A comparative study of European legal standards (Dartmouth, 2000) ISBN 0 7546 2129 4
25) (Chapter) "Politics, the Rule of Law and the Judiciary" in Neil Robinson (ed) Institutions and Political Change in Russia (Macmillan, 2000) ISBN 0 333 73525 0
26) (Book) Minority and Group Rights in the New Millennium (ed Deirdre Fottrell and Bill Bowring, Kluwer Law International, 1999), includes chapter "Multicultural Citizenship: A More Viable Framework for Minority Rights?" ISBN 90 411 1013 5
27) (Chapter) "Politics Versus the Rule of Law in the Work of the Russian Constitutional Court" in Jiri Priban and James Young (eds) The Rule of Law in Eastern and Central Europe (Dartmouth, 1999) ISBN 1 84014 719 9
28) (Article) "The Children of Russia: Victims of Crisis, Beneficiaries of International Law" (1999) Vol 11 Child and Family Law Quarterly pp. 125-135 ISSN 1358 8414
29) (Chapter) "Human Rights and Eastern Europe" in A. Hegarty and S. Leonard A Human Rights Agenda for the Twenty-First Century (Cavendish,1999) ISBN 1 85941 393 5
30) (Chapter) "New Nations and National Minorities: Ukraine and the Question of Citizenship" in Peter Cumper and Steven Wheatley (eds) Minority Rights in the 'New' Europe (Kluwer Law International 1999) ISBN 90 411 1124 7
31) (Article) "The Rights of Indigenous Peoples: International Perspectives" (1998, No.2(5)) Migration Issues, Kyiv) p.22, in English and in Ukrainian
32) (Article) "Redress for Survivors of Torture" in C. Joyner (ed) "Reining in Impunity for International Crimes and Serious Violatons of Fundamental Human Rights" (Association Internationale de Droit Penale, Siracusa, 1998)
33) (Chapter) "Sergei Kovalyov: The First Russian Human Rights Ombudsman - and the Last?" pp. 235-256 in Rein Mullerson, Malgosia Fitzmaurice and Mads Adenas (eds) Constitutional Reform and International Law in Central and Eastern Europe (Kluwer Law International 1998) ISBN 90 411 0526 3
34) Bill Bowring (ed) Prisons Law and Human Rights (Erebus Publishers, Moscow, 1997)
30) (Article) "Russia's Accession to the Council of Europe and Human Rights: Compliance or Cross-Purposes?" (1997) 6 European Human Rights Law Review pp.628-643. This has been translated into Russian, and appears in Rossiiskii Byulleten po Prava Cheloveka (Russian Bulletin on Human Rights) Issue 10 1998, pp.12-23
35) (Article) "Law and Order in the 'New' Britain" in Stuart Hall, Doreen Massey and Michael Rustin (eds) "The Next Ten Years: Key Issues for Blair's Britain", special issue of Soundings, 1997
36) (Chapter) "Human Rights in the Transitional Period. Risk Scenarios: An International Perspective" in International Human Rights Enforcement: The Case of the Occupied Palestinian Territories in the Transitional Period (CIHRE, 1996)
37)(Chapter) "The Kurds of Turkey: Protecting the Rights of a Minority" in Nationalism, Minorities and Diasporas: Identities and Rights in the Middle East (ed Kirsten Schulze, Martin Stokes, Colm Campbell) I. B. Tauris, April 1996
38) Bill Bowring and Prof. Valeriy Savitsky (eds) Prava Cheloveka i Sudebniy Kontrol (Human Rights and Judicial Review) Moscow, Human Rights Publishers, March 1996
39) (Chapter) "Human Rights in Russia: A Discourse of Emancipation or Just Another Mirage?" in Human Rights in Eastern Europe (ed Istvan Pogany) Edward Elgar, October 1995
40) (Article) "The "droit et devoir d'ingérence": A Timely New Remedy for Africa?", (1995) Vol 7 African Journal of International and Comparative Law pp.493-510
41) (Chapter) "Whose Rights, What People, Which Community? The Rule of Law as an Instrument of Oppression in the New Latvia" in Racism, Nationalism and the Rule of Law (ed Peter Fitzpatrick) Dartmouth, February 1995

Fluent in Russian, good command of French
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