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.


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


Department Of Law and Criminology


LLB Law; MA/LLM in Applied Human Rights


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.


Conference papers

Sands, M., Bundschuh, T., & Peroni, M. (2019). Written contribution to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women for its half-day general discussion on trafficking in women and girls in the context of global migration (22 February 2019). In CEDAW General Discussion on the elaboration of the General recommendation on Trafficking in the Context of Global Migration. OHCHR:

Sands, M. (2017). Symposium on procedural safeguards in the first hours of police custody; outcome report.

Sands, M. (2014). Beware the gift of poison fruit: sharing information with states that Torture. In Implications for the sharing and use of torture-tainted information by executive agencies, Geneva. Association for the Prevention of Torture:

Scholarly editions

(2016). Simeonovi v. Bulgaria : written comments by the Association for the Prevention of Torture (APT). Association for the Prevention of Torture.

(2014). Amicus Curaie to the Mexico Supreme Court in the case of Mr Alfonso Martin del Campo Dodd (A.R. 631/2013).


Bundschuh, T., Peroni, L., & Sands, M. (2020). Written contribution to draft General Recommendation No. 38 of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women on trafficking in women and girls in the context of global migration.

Internet Publications

Sands, M. (2016). A ground-breaking call for humane interrogation practices.

Sands, M. (2016). Friends don’t let friends torture: comment on Youssef v. Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs.

Sands, M. (2015). Yes, a slap in the face is ill-treatment.

Sands, M. (2015). Why we should celebrate the Magna Carta anniversary in 2015.

Buckland, B., & Sands, M. (2014). So now we know: what comes after the Torture Report?

Sands, M. (2014). Court rules Britain no safe haven for torturers.

Sands, M. (2014). Helping with torture: the changing definition of complicity.

Sands, M. (2013). Chinese reflection on alternatives to torture.

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


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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