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Matthew Sands

Mr Matthew Sands LLB (Hons.), LLM, LLM

Lecturer in Human Rights Law


As a lecturer in human rights law, Matthew contributes to teaching and leads research and clinic work related to human rights with the Helena Kennedy Centre for International Justice.

  • About

    Matthew is an experienced international human rights lawyer and UK solicitor. He is also a member of the New York State Bar. Matthew joined Sheffield Hallam's Helena Kennedy Centre for International Justice in September 2017 as a lecturer in human rights law.

    Prior to joining the Helena Kennedy Centre for International Justice, Matthew worked in professional roles in fields of international law, including as a legal practitioner before international criminal and special courts in the Hague, Cambodia and Sierra Leone, consultant legal researcher and legal advisor to governments and highly regarded non-governmental organisations in Geneva and London. He has acted as amicus curiae before senior courts in the Americas and as third party before the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights, and has delivered projects aimed at human rights implementation in countries around the world.

    Matthew holds degrees from the University of Durham, University of East London and the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva.

    International human rights law and practice

    International criminal law

    International humanitarian law

    Public international law

    Refugee and asylum law

  • Teaching

    Department Of Law and Criminology


    LLB Law; MA/LLM in Applied Human Rights

  • Research

    Matthew is currently engaged in research towards the effective implementation of safeguards against torture in the first hours of detention, the rights of refugees in UK asylum law, and strategic litigation at international courts and tribunals.

  • Publications

    APT, Symposium on Procedural Safeguards in the first hours of police custody; Outcome Report (2018), at

    CTI, Safeguards in the First Hours of Police Detention; Implementation Tool (2017), at

    Sands, Matthew, 'Friends Don’t Let Friends Torture: Comment on Youssef v. Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs', Opinio Juris, 8 April 2016, at

    Sands, Matthew, 'The Prohibition of Torture in Malaysia: Walking the tightrope between national practices and international standards' [2014] MJHR, at 31. Available at

  • Postgraduate supervision

    Current supervisor for MA (Res) student and interested to supervise doctoral students seeking to complete a PhD in a field of human rights law

  • Media

    Matthew Sands is available for comment on any matter related to human rights and international law.

    Matthew has expertise with mechanisms of the United Nations and its various human rights bodies. He also has detailed knowledge of international human rights and significant experience of how such rights are implemented in practice.

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