UCL Faculty of Laws


Justice Shireen Avis Fisher

Can you tell us about your current role, and your career path since graduating? 

I am currently a Justice on the Residual Special Court for Sierra Leone, to which I was appointed by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in October 2013. After completing my LLM at UCL I served as a Trial Judge on the War Crimes Chamber of the Internationalized Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina (2005-2008) and as a Justice of Appeal at the Special Court for Sierra Leone (2009-2013).

What encouraged you to study at UCL Laws? 

I first joined UCL Laws for the LLM programme, with a specialism in International Law. After I graduated in 2001, I stayed on to pursue my PhD, which was awarded to me in 2014.

UCL’s quirky history first attracted me to study at UCL Laws. I was advised by a friend many years ago to stop in at UCL on my next trip to London and visit Jeremy Bentham’s Auto-icon, which I did. When the opportunity came to take time out from my career to pursue postgraduate study, the memory of Jeremy Bentham urged me to research and, ultimately, apply to UCL Laws.

How did you find completing your PhD thesis? 

Professor Michael Freeman was my inspiring thesis supervisor whose infinite patience and support sustained me during the 13-year journey to completion of the PhD. Without his advocacy, I am sure I would have abandoned the programme during the years when my judicial assignments in Bosnia, Kosovo, Sierra Leone and The Hague required that I interrupt my doctoral studies. 

What advice would you give to prospective or current students at UCL Laws? 

My advice to current students would be: be flexible and open to opportunities. Do not over plan your life.