Dr Catherine Dupré

Associate Professor, Director of Doctoral Studies


01392 725356

Amory 112

Catherine Dupré holds a PhD from the European University Institute and is an Associate Professor in Comparative Constitutional Law. She is currently the Director of Doctoral Studies for the Law School.

Her research focusses on human rights, constitutional adjudication, constitutional reforms and drafting. She is a founding member of the Human Rights and Democracy Forum. Her current projects include:

Human Dignity, Human Rights and Democracy: Constructing and Advocating a Concept

She was a pioneer in studying and developing the concept of human dignity in the field of comparative constitutional law and her latest monograph, The Age of Dignity (Bloomsbury/Hart 2015), stands out in the field as the first comprehensive and theoretical engagement with this concept in the European context. She is currently developing her work in two different directions. The first involves using human dignity as a diagnostic tool to assess and respond to crises in democracy and human rights, and includes co-convening an international conference at the European University Institute in Florence in June 2017. The second direction is taking her outside Europe and outside the classroom as an advisor to the Dignity-Rights Project launched in May 2017, a project which aims to educate, advocate and provide litigation support worldwide.

 Crises in European Constitutionalism and Democracy

Her research expertise in Hungarian constitutionalism was brought back to the fore of her research activities with the adoption of the new Hungarian Fundamental Law in 2011. She was one of the first scholars to engage in critical discussion of the Hungarian government’s self-proclaimed turn to ‘illiberal democracy’. Her analysis of the Fundamental Law’s provision on human dignity was translated into Hungarian, Spanish, Italian and French. She is currently developing a critical re-thinking of the theoretical framework of European constitutionalism. In order to promote international discussion on the crises of democracy that have since spread outside Hungary to other EU Member States, she convened an interdisciplinary conference in Budapest in June 2016 together with leading Hungarian constitutional law scholars, Kriszta Kovács and Gábor Tóth.

 Icelandic constitutional reform

Her ongoing interest in constitutional reform and constitution-making is currently focussed on Iceland where a process of reforming the constitution was triggered in the wake of the 2008 financial collapse. Together with Ágúst Thór Árnason, she convened the first international conference at the University of Akureyri in September 2016 to discuss and reflect on the constitutional reform process.

A Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, she was previously a lecturer at the University of Birmingham and the University of Wales Aberystwyth,  and was a guest lecturer at the Institut d’Etudes de Sciences Politiques in Toulouse and a Visiting Professor at Paris I La Sorbonne. Over the years, she has taught many courses on human rights, constitutional law and European law. At the University of Exeter, she is  teaching UK constitutional and administrative law and has developed specialist courses on human dignity at undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

Her Office Hours are:

Wednesday 4-5 pm

Thursday 9-10 am


Research interests

Human Dignity in Europe (selected publications)

C Dupre, ‘Laws born out of trauma: in defence of the EU’s conception of human rights’, London School of Economics, Law Brexit Project, May 2016

C Dupre, 'Le principe de dignite humaine: principe essentiel du droit du travail' (2016, Nov) Revue de Droit du Travail, 670

C Dupré, The Age of Dignity: Human Rights and Constitutionalism in Europe (Bloomsbury/Hart Publishing, 2015)

C Dupré, ‘Article 1: Human Dignity’ in T Hervey, S Peers, J Kenner and A Ward (eds.), A Commentary on the European Union Charter of Fundamental Rights (Hart Publishing, 2014) 3-24

C Dupré, ‘Human Dignity in Europe: A Foundational Constitutional Principle’, (2013) 19(2) European Public Law, 319-340

C Dupré, ‘Dignity, Democracy, Civilisation’, 2013  Liverpool Law Review, 263-280

C Dupré, ‘Human Dignity: Rhetoric, Protection and Instrumentalisation’ in G A Toth (ed) Constitution for a Disunited Nation, Hungary’s New Fundamental Law (Central European University Press, 2012), 143-170

C Dupré, ‘Unlocking Human Dignity: Towards a Theory for the 21st Century’ 2 (2009) European Human Rights Law Review, pp. 190-206.

C Dupré, ‘What does dignity mean in a legal context?‘ The Guardian, 24 March 2011, by invitation

On constitutionalism (selected publications):