Newcastle Law School

Staff Profile

Dr Ruth Houghton



Ruth joined Newcastle Law School as a Lecturer in September 2017. Previously, she worked as a Research Assistant for the European Research Council funded project 'Neo-Federalism', which was led by Professor Robert Schuetze at Durham Law School. She worked at Durham Law School as a Graduate Teaching Assistant from 2013 to 2016. Ruth was also a part-time lecturer at Durham Global Security Institute.

Ruth's PhD thesis was on the topic of global constitutional scholarship and democracy. She obtained an LL.M with Distinction from University College London (UCL), where her dissertation considered the role of democracy within decisions on risk regulation in the EU. 

Outside of her academic roles and responsibilities, Ruth was also residential tutor at Josephine Butler College (Durham University) between 2014 and 2016.


  • PhD (Durham University)
  • Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice (Durham University)
  • LLM (University College London, Distinction; 4th in cohort)
  • GDL (University of Birmingham, Distinction; 1st in cohort)
  • BA in English and History (University of York, 1st Class)

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Director of Impact (2018-)
  • North East Law Review, Academic Lead (2019-)
  • Client Interviewing Co-ordinator (2019-)
  • Client Interviewing and Client Negotiation Co-ordinator (2018-2019)


  • Society of Legal Scholars
  • Fellow of the Global Policy Institute (Durham University)
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
  • Honorable Society of the Inner Temple



Situated within a debate in international law scholarship on democracy, Ruth’s research explores how democracy is being discussed within Global Constitutionalisation literature. Using debates on the relationship between democracy and constitutionalism, Ruth’s research highlights the limitations of the current discourse on the democratisation of global governance.

Ruth also researches on the emerging idea of 'Global Law' as well as working with Professor Aoife O'Donoghue (Durham Law School) on feminist utopias and feminist approaches to Global Constitutionalism.

Research Topics

  • Global Constitutionalism
  • International Law
  • Democratic Theory
  • Constitutional Theory
  • International Organisations
  • Feminist Theory
  • Utopia

Research Funding

  • 2017 - £800: 'Scale, Constitutionalism and Tyranny' from Durham University Institute of Advanced Study (with Prof. Aoife O'Donoghue and Dr Alan Greene)
  • 2015 - £2000: 'Scaling Global Governance' from Durham University Institute of Advanced Study (with Prof. Aoife O'Donoghue and Dr Maria Anna Corvaglia)
  • 2015 - £800: 'Global and Comparative Law' from Durham Global Security Institute (with Dr Se-shauna Wheatle)

PhD Supervision

I welcome PhD applications within the fields of Global Constitutionalism, Public International Law and Constitutional Theory.

Invited Papers and Seminars

‘Weaving Communities: Reading Feminist Science Fiction for Global Constitutionalisation’ Who are “We the People”? Community beyond the state (Institute of Advanced Study, Durham University, 12 February 2019) (project with Aoife O’Donoghue)

‘Constituent Power and Referenda: Tales from Global Constitutionalisation’ The Role of Referendums in the UK Constitutional order (Durham, 31 January 2019)

‘Attempts to democratise the UN: representation, participation, and NGOs’ UN and Global Order Programme (University of Reading, 26 April 2018)

‘International perspectives’ Treaties, Brexit and the Constitution (Jesus College, Oxford University, 23 March 2018)

‘Where is Magna Carta in Shakespeare’s King John’ Dark Side of Magna Carta (Newcastle Law School, July 2015)



  • LAW1110: Legal Institutions and Methods (LLB) (Module Leader since 2018)
  • LAW2163: Equity (LLB)


  • LAW8559: Contemporary Problems of International Law and Dispute Settlement (LLM) (2017-2018)