UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES)


Resort to the Court

22 April 2024, 11:00 am–12:00 pm

European Court of Human Rights

A SSEES Research student seminar with Freya Proudman

This event is free.

Event Information

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Masaryk room
UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies
16 Taviton street

A Research Agenda for Exploring Human Rights Litigation in LGBTQ+ Russians’ and Poles’ Quest for Justice

“What is justice and how do we get it” may be one of the most perplexing questions of all time. The European Court of Human Rights is described as a “Court of Miracles” (Nelken, 2004), but even if LGBTQ+ Russian and Poles win their cases against their states, does anything ever really change? Do they ever get the justice they were looking for?

Join SSEES PhD Student, Freya Proudman, as she presents her research proposal for contextualizing the understandings and interpretations that LGBTQ+ Russians and Poles attach to justice when mobilizing at the ECtHR.

Freya will discuss and frame the research problem by drawing extensively on the wider literature. Her study is socio-legal in that it interrogates the relationship between human rights laws and society. She uses legal consciousness as an empirical tool to understand how this relationship informs perceptions of justice. In recognition that the Court does not exist in a vacuum, but is deeply integrated into the fabric of society, Freya draws on legal mobilization and social movement theories to examine how the Court is utilized as one resource in a wider toolkit for achieving social objectives and constructing justice.

This exploration offers a unique window into Russian and Polish societies and the debates around social issues like LGBTQ+ equality. Freya will highlight various research gaps, speak about her intended contributions, and present preliminary findings from mapping the networks of actors involved in LGBTQ+ related Russian and Polish litigation at the ECtHR.


Freya Proudman is a PhD student at University College London (UCL) School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES). She holds an MA in Russian and post-Soviet Politics and a BA in History, Politics, and Economics also from UCL SSEES. Freya’s research combines her regional area studies specialty on Central/Eastern Europe and Russia with a thematic focus on human rights, legal mobilisation, and the experiences of LGBTQ+ people and communities. Freya is supervised by Dr. Agnieszka Kubal, Professor Richard Mole, and Dr. Jessie Barton-Hronešová.

Image credit: Freya Proudman