Dr Noreen O'Meara

Associate Professor (Reader), Human Rights, European and Environmental Law. Co-director: Surrey Centre for International and Environmental Law (SCIEL).
+44 (0)1483 683162
10 AB 05


University roles and responsibilities

  • Co-Director of the Surrey Centre for International and Environmental Law (@SurreySCIEL)
  • Director of Joint Honours Programmes: LLB Law with International Relations
  • Society of Legal Scholars Council
  • Fellow, Institute for Sustainability

    Affiliations and memberships

    Inner Temple
    UCD Earth, University College Dublin
    Exeter Centre for Environmental Law (ExCEL), University of Exeter
    The British Institute of International and Comparative Law (BIICL)
    Irish Society of European Law
    UK Environmental Law Association (UKELA)
    Bar European Group (BEG)
    Council of European Studies (CES)


    Research interests



    O’Meara, N. (2023) ‘Human Rights in the Global Plastics Treaty to protect Health, Ocean Ecosystems and our Climate’ (forthcoming: The International Journal of Marine and Coastal Law).

    N. O’Meara (2022)Human Rights Protection through the Lens of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and the ECHR, In: K. Ambos , P. Rackow (eds.), Cambridge Companion to European Criminal Law Cambridge University Press

    The legal orders of the EU and Council of Europe (notably via the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR)) have shaped the development of European Criminal Law over several decades. While both systems offer protection of fundamental rights, they are at different stages of evolution in human rights terms. On the EU’s part, an emphasis on fundamental rights was initially gradual, both judicially and legislatively. The role and prominence of fundamental rights in EU legislation and case law became more marked from the 1970s, with a swathe of non-discrimination case law directly impacting national laws on, for example, equal pay and sex-discrimination. Over time, as EU competences grew and reached deeper into what are traditionally regarded as constitutionally-sensitive policy areas (including security, asylum and immigration, criminal justice), the associated growth of EU fundamental rights law accelerated. Since the entry into force of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights (‘Charter’ or ‘CFR’) in 2009, the Court of Justice has taken numerous opportunities to interpret and apply its provisions.

    Noreen Christina O'Meara (2023)Concretising International Plastics Governance through a UN Global Plastics Treaty, In: Environmental Liability: Law, Policy and Practice27(5/6 Special Issue - CORK CONFERENCE 2022)pp. 117-127 Lawtext Publishing

    A negotiation process underway to design a global treaty on plastics waste pollution presents a unique opportunity to concretise plastics governance at international level. The mandate to negotiate an internationally binding legal instrument was laid down in UNEA Resolution 5/14, adopted at the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA) 5.2 in March 2022. Setting that mandate was historic in recognising the multiple threats posed by the rising scale of plastics production, consumption and waste for our climate, biodiversity, and emerging concerns for human health. The resolution effectively acknowledged that binding international legal obligations are needed to tackle the complex and diverse problems caused by plastics pollution globally, rather than reliance on voluntary agreements and goals.

    T Konstadinides, N O'Meara (2014)Rebalancing Judicial Protection in Criminal Matters after Lisbon and Stockholm, In: DA Arcarazo, C Murphy (eds.), EU Security and Justice Law: After Lisbon and Stockholm Hart Publishing

    This volume examines the state of EU security and justice law after the Lisbon Treaty and the Stockholm Programme. It provides a critical examination of EU law in the fields of immigration, asylum, counter-terrorism, citizenship, fundamental rights and external relations.

    NC O'Meara (2015)Lisbon via Stockholm, Strasbourg, and Opinion 2/13: prospects for citizen-centred protection of fundamental rights?, In: D Kostakopoulou, N Ferreira (eds.), The Human Face of the European Union: Is EU Law and Policy Humane Enough? CUP, Cambridge. Forthcoming.
    Noreen O'Meara (2020)Extradition through the Lens of Brexit: The UK, Ireland and Future Prospects, In: Irish Journal of European Law22(1)pp. 47-65 The Irish Society for European Law

    This paper considers the impact of Brexit on extradition, with particular reference to the UK-Ireland extradition relationship, and the UK's post-Brexit extradition prospects. Reflecting on the evolution of the culture of extradition between Ireland and the UK offers a more nuanced understanding of the dynamics at stake. CJEU perspectives on challenges to the execution of arrest warrants on human rights grounds, in the context of Brexit, and political moves in renegotiating extradition, will be fundamental to the development and success of future arrangements. This paper argues that future UK-Ireland extradition need not be a crisis scenario, if strong efforts are made to mitigate risks. All future options involve elements of regression from the existing EAW framework - drawbacks which are already playing out during transition. It is imperative that judicial and political authorities involved in post-Brexit extradition are pragmatic when discharging duties, and overcoming the problems likely to arise, on whatever basis future extradition arrangements take shape.

    NC O'Meara (2015)Reforming the European Court of .Human Rights: The Impacts of Protocols 15 and 16 ECHR, In: KS Ziegler, E Wicks, L Hodson (eds.), The UK and the European Court of Human Rights – a strained relationship? Hart Publishing, Oxford; Forthcoming.
    Maria Adams, Noreen O'Meara, Daniel McCarthy (2020)The Joint Enterprise Appeals Project: a crucible for student empowerment and activism?, In: Student Empowerment in Higher Education Logos Verlag
    K Dzehtsiarou, T Konstadinides, T Lock, N O'Meara (2014)Human Rights Law in Europe: The influence, overlaps and contradictions of the EU and the ECHR. Routledge

    Protocol 16 ECHR will provide for an extension of the advisory jurisdiction of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), enabling highest national courts to request advisory opinions on questions of principle concerning the interpretation of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) or its Protocols. This extension of the ECtHR’s advisory jurisdiction aims to achieve two goals: a reduction in the ECtHR’s excessive docket, and the enhancement of dialogue between the ECtHR and (highest) national courts. While the aims of this reform initiative are laudable, we argue that Protocol 16 is likely to fail to achieve its objectives. Our analysis suggests that rather than facilitating the Court’s adjudicatory function, extended advisory jurisdiction has the potential to impact on the Court’s constitutionalist function in a manner which can be better achieved through the Court’s contentious cases. The burden this procedure will place on the Court’s already overstretched resources would risk delays to contentious cases and potentially undermine judicial comity should requests for advisory opinions be declined. Furthermore, evidence of ‘constructive’ dialogue between highest national courts and the ECtHR is emerging in contentious cases without the need for an extended advisory opinions mechanism. Rather than achieving its objectives, Protocol 16 risks exacerbating the Court’s backlog and nullifying the positive effects of advisory opinions on dialogue.

    T Konstadinides, N O'Meara (2015)The UK Government’s plans to renegotiate EU membership European Scrutiny Committee
    T Konstadinides, NC O'Meara (2014)Introduction to Part II ‘Protection of Procedural and Substantive Rights in the EU and the ECHR', In: NC O'Meara (eds.), Human Rights Law in Europe: The influence, overlaps and contradictions of the EU and the ECHR(5)pp. 77-91 Routledge