Claerwen O'Hara

  • Claerwen O'Hara

    PhD candidate


Claerwen O’Hara is a PhD Candidate at Melbourne Law School and a member of the Institute for International Law and the Humanities. She researches in the field of international human rights law, with a focus on legal change, inclusion and exclusion, and the relationship between law and power. She has a particular interest in human rights issues relating to sexuality and gender and her work draws on a range of critical approaches to international law, including queer, feminist and postcolonial theories.

From 2012 to 2016, Claerwen worked as a research assistant at Monash University, predominantly in the field of human rights law and sexual orientation and gender identity. In 2015, she was also a research assistant at the Kalshoven-Gieskes Forum on International Humanitarian Law at Leiden University (the Netherlands). Following this, Claerwen was an Associate to the Honourable Justice Bell AM at the Supreme Court of Victoria. Claerwen has also undertaken a number of internships with human rights organisations, including the Castan Centre for Human Rights Law and the Center for Constitutional Rights (USA).

Claerwen holds an LLM in Public International Law (cum laude) from Leiden University (the Netherlands) and first class honours degrees in Arts and Law from Monash University. In addition to her doctoral studies, Claerwen also works at the Victorian Law Reform Commission.

Thesis Title

Queering Consensus in International Law

Thesis Summary

Claerwen’s doctoral project examines how the concept of ‘consensus’ operates in international human rights law—in areas such as consensus decision-making in international human rights organisations, the use of ‘European consensus ‘ by the European Court of Human Rights as an interpretive method, and customary international law. Using the case study of sexuality and gender, it explores the ways in which legal approaches based on the concept of ‘consensus’ can reinforce power relations, marginalise particular groups and experiences, and stifle dissent.


  • Human Rights Law
  • International Law
  • Law and Society
  • Legal Theory
  • Post-colonial Theory
  • Queer and Postmodern Legal Theory
  • Sexual Identities and the Law