Anna Bryson

Senior Lecturer in the School of Law

Queen's University, Belfast

Dr Anna Bryson is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Law, working on two ESRC funded projects - Apologies, Abuses and Dealing with the Past and Lawyers, Conflict and Transition. She is the 2016 winner of the Vice-Chancellor's Research Impact Prize (postdoctoral research category).

Her research has developed along three closely related lines: modern Irish history, socio-legal studies and conflict transformation. She has considerable experience of conducting interviews for social and historical investigation.

Her most recent publications draw on both interviews with international cause lawyers and civil society actors and her own previous research in Northern Ireland. Victims, Violence and Voice: Transitional Justice, Oral History and Dealing with the Past explores the ethical dimensions of sensitive field research and draws out some of the theoretical and practical intersections between law, history, and the interview. More recently she has explored the intersection of gender politics and transitional justice in Women Lawyers and the Struggle for Change in Conflict and Transition. 

Since 2014 Anna has been working together with colleagues from QUB, Ulster University, the Committee on the Administration of Justice and a former senior Foreign and Commonwealth Office lawyer to develop a Model Bill for the Dealing with the Past elements of the Stormont House Agreement.

Developing drafts were discussed in the course of more than twenty detailed face-to-face meetings with senior British and Irish officials (involved in both the political negotiations and the preparation of their respective legislation on dealing with the past), senior politicians from across the political spectrum and a wide range of local civil society organisations.

The Model Bill was formally launched at an event at the House of Lords sponsored by former NIO Minister Lord Dubbs in October 2015 and addressed by Shadow Northern Ireland Secretary of State Vernon Coker amongst others. It was also widely publicised through the local print and broadcast media, at a number of major conferences in Belfast, and a range of seminars and briefings aimed at civil society organisations and political parties.

The full Model Bill, together with an explanatory framework and an analysis of the process of ‘legislating the past “from below”‘ was recently published in the Northern Ireland Legal Quarterly.