UCL Faculty of Laws

Prof Myriam Hunter-Henin

Prof Myriam Hunter-Henin

Professor of Comparative Law and Law & Religion

Faculty of Laws


Joined UCL
1st Sep 2003

Research summary

My recent book, Why Religious Freedom Matters for Democracy. Comparative Reflections from Britain and France for a Democratic vivre ensemble, Hart, 2020, explores recent controversies revolving around religious freedom in the workplace and puts forward a democratic approach, which highlights the vital connections between religious freedom, pluralism and democracy and provides guidelines for judges confronted with difficult cases.

Articles published since 2011 explore, explain and critically assess extensions of the French principle of laïcité  in light of French legal principles, European Convention of Human Rights jurisprudence and, more broadly, conceptions of democracy.

Finally, under the heading of “religious freedom and education”, my research tackles, in a multidisciplinary and comparative perspective, the conceptual and empirical issue of how to address the tensions created by conflicting rights to religious freedom, rights to education and rights to an “open future”: edited book on Law, Religion and Education, Legal section in the collection on “Negotiating with Religion”, as well as various book chapters.

Main Publications and Achievements:

  • Why Religious Freedom Matters for Democracy. Comparative Reflections from Britain and France for a Democratic vivre ensemble, Hart, 2020 - reviewed by Sir Prof M Evans,  OJLR 9(2) June 2020,  409–412; I-CON 2021, 1-6;  Law and Justice  (185), 176-179; ; Rev crit de droit int. privé 2021(2). 499-506 + blogs: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/laws/publications/2020/jun/why-religious-freedom-matters-democracy#blog)
  • The article “Why the French Don’t Like the Burqa: Laïcité, National Identity and Religious Freedom”, ICLQ vol 61, August 2012 pp 1–27 was selected as the basis for the International Comparative and Law Quarterly annual 2013 lecture.

  • The Monograph, Pour une redéfinition du statut personnel, Presses Universitaires d’Aix-Marseille, 2004, 537 pp was awarded the Dennery Prize by the Chancellerie de Paris for the best piece on private international law of the year.
  • Invitations to over 50 papers in the last ten years on Law and Religion issues and award of Grand Challenge and other funds to organise 5 conferences between 2010 and 2020.

Other recent publications include:

  • Religious Discrimination and Religious Freedom: Democracy as the missing link, International Journal of Discrimination and the Law, 2021
  • “The Legal Face of Populism: From the Classroom to the Courtroom”, Jean Monnet Working Paper Series, New York University School of Law, forthcoming
  • “Religion, Children and Employment: The Baby Loup Case”, International Comparative and Law Quarterly 2015, Volume 64 Issue 03, 717-731.
  • “Living Together in an Age of Religious Diversity: Lessons from Baby Loup and SAS”, Oxford Journal of Law and Religion 2015,1-25.

For a full list see the publications tab.

Teaching summary

Convenor of all three sections of the European Legal Study course (French Law; German Law and Spanish Law) and co-convenor (with Prof. Alison Diduck) of the LLM course “Advanced Issues in Family Law: Globalisation, Multiculturalism and Religion”, Teaching on the LLB Family Law course (adult relationships).

The LLM course examines topical issues of Family law in a multi-perspective. Human Rights, Family Law scholarship, Comparative Law, Anthropology, feminist theories and Private International Law are all mobilised to offer an in-depth and expert analysis on selected issues.


Myriam Hunter-Henin joined the Faculty of Laws in September 2003. She was formerly a

researcher at Paris I (Panthéon-Sorbonne). She is a fellow of UCL's European Institute and the Institute of Human Rights

Her main interests are Comparative Law, Theories of Democracy, Family Law, Law and Religion.

Her research addresses the interaction and tensions between law and religion in a comparative perspective. It also examines the interactions between human rights, constitutional law and normative conceptions of democracy and liberalism. 

On 27th January 2016, Myriam Hunter-Henin was a key-note speaker at the French Conseil

d’Etat on extra-territoriality in International Family Law.

On 3rd December 2014 Myriam Hunter-Henin took part in the Sakharov Debate chaired by

BBC presenter Martine Croxall on Religion and Human Rights. She has delivered several

public lectures on religion and human rights: the public UCL Lunch Hour Lecture on social

harmony and religious diversity and the 2013 annual ICLQ lecture on religion, human rights

and comparative law in the context of burqa bans.

PhD Supervision

Prof. Hunter-Henin welcomes approaches for supervision of PhD candidates on Human Rights

(especially issues of horizontal application; religious freedom; article 8 ECHR, right to

education, comparison of implementation of HR and constitutional review in domestic

European legal systems, broader impact on democracy theories, concept of rights,

proportionality tests, comparison with discrimination provision), Law & Religion (especially religious symbols at work, school or in the public sphere; interactions with constitutional arrangements and normative conceptions of liberalism and democracy; religion and education), Bioethics and Comparative/International Family Law (especially surrogacy;

same-sex couples).

Organisation of Conferences and Workshops 

  • Fundamental(ly) British Values, Thursday 16th November 2017, UCL.
  • Closing event on “Negotiating with Religion”, 1st May 2013, UCL, Laws. More details available at: negotiating-religion.eventbrite.co.uk
  • “Negotiating with Religion” in UCL Laws on 12th June 2012 as part of a series of workshops across UCL faculties. Please click here for more information on the June event and on the whole series.
  • Law, Religion and Education conference held in Oxford on 8th and 9th October 2010, co-organised by the Institute of Global Law and the Maison française d’Oxford. more details here
  • Seminar on Globalization, Prof. Jean-Louis Halpérin (ENS, Paris) as speaker, sponsored by the French Embassy, May 2009.