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Prof Patrick Hanafin

  • Overview



    Professor Patrick Hanafin BA (Limerick), PhD (Dublin City) joined the Law School at Birkbeck as a lecturer in 1999 from the University of Sussex, and was appointed to a Chair in 2008. Professor Hanafin has also held a visiting fellowship at Harvard Law School (1998-99), has been a Jean Monnet Fellow at the European University Institute in Florence (2002-2003), and a Visiting Professor in the Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria (July 2008). He was a Visiting Research Professor at the University of Capetown in the Autumn term 2012.

    Patrick co-directs the School’s Centre for Law and the Humanities.

  • Research


    Research overview

    My research looks at the intersection between law and identity, in particular the manner in which particular narratives of identity are adopted and valorised in law by political and judicial elites. My aim in this research is to develop a means by which political and legal structures can be transformed to accommodate different identities and ways of being. This work has involved looking at how a particular construction of Irish identity was embedded in the Irish Constitution of 1937 and the subsequent shift in this notion through gradual social, cultural and political change in my book Constituting Identity: Political Identity Formation and the Constitution in Post-Independence Ireland (Ashgate, 2001). In addition, I have examined how such exclusionary notions of identity construction are at play in relation to bioethical policy both in Ireland, and in my latest book, Conceiving Life: Reproductive Politics and the Law in Contemporary Italy (Ashgate, 2007), in the context of the law and policy in relation to human reproductive technology in Italy. My recent work has developed my previous research to engage with the way in which civil society activism in the area of reproductive rights in Italy in particular has attempted to combat the manner in which political elites have prevented access to assisted reproductive technologies.

  • Supervision and teaching

    Supervision and teaching


    Doctoral alumni since 2013-14



    Teaching modules

    • Healthcare and Human Rights (LADD029S7)
    • Jurisprudence and Legal Theory (LADD039H6)
    • Contemporary Issues in Medical Law and Ethics (LALW049H6)
    • Principles of Medical Law and Ethics (LALW050H6)