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Dr Stefanie Lemke, Human Rights and Rule of Law

Academia meets

legal practice.



A lawyer by training and a recognized sociolegal scholar, Dr. Stefanie Lemke has worked, for more than 15 years, with a wide range of stakeholders: governments, leading  universities, prominent NGOs, commercial law firms and international organizations like the United Nations in Europe, Central/Southeast Asia, and Latin America. She studied law and was trained as a judge, a prosecutor and a criminal defence lawyer in Germany, litigating high-profile cases before international human rights bodies and the International Criminal Court. She completed a PhD in sociolegal studies at Oxford, London and Cologne Universities.

More about her CV, you can find here.

Stefanie acts regularly as an adviser for the United Nations, the European Union,  the Council of Europe and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe. As such, she has been appointed, for example,  to several EU expert groups promoting access to justice, victims' rights, judicial cooperation and capacity building for civil society actors, served multiple times as the European Commission's national expert for Germany and was  commissioned to develop Europe's first guidelines on legal aid (which were adopted by the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers in 2021).

More about her projects, you can find here.


Stefanie has held various research and teaching positions at Dutch, French, German, Spanish and UK universities. She was a visiting professor at the International Institute for the Sociology of Law (IISL) and has developed, delivered and supervised trainings to justice professionals, TV broadcasters, diplomats and law faculties. She is an Associate to Leeds University's Legal Professions Research Group and is Elected Board Member of the Research Committee on Sociology of Law (RCSL).

Stefanie has given more than 50 presentations at important conference and high-level events like at Harvard University and authored more than 70 academic articles, policy papers and columns as well as three books with Cambridge University Press and other major publishers. Her latest book 'Human Rights Lawyering in Europa' looks at the relationship between affordable access to justice and the provision of legal services to vulnerable groups.

Fields of expertise


In her work, Stefanie looks at how effective law is and how it impacts society. 

She provides advice and conducts research / training / capacity building in the areas of:

Human rights

 Justice reform

Comparative law

Judicial systems

Access to justice, legal aid and mediation services

Victims' rights

Legal technology

Legal profession and education

   Legal empowerment

Human rights due diligence


Sociology of law




Lemke - EU

EnRoL! -
The Human Rights
Rule of Law
Speaker Series


Stefanie is the founder and chair of EnRoL! - The Human Rights & Rule of Law Speaker Series. EnRoL! features female role models, scholars and practitioners, who work in human rights and rule of law. Register here for our next event.


Dr Stefanie Lemke - Human Rights and Rule of Law

 Human rights lawyering and
access to justice  in Europe

The 337-page volume discusses the relationship between affordable access to justice and the provision of legal services to vulnerable groups.


Due to the quasi non-existence of human rights lawyering in Germany, Stefanie's home country, the book looks at the conditions under which lawyers are able and willing to practice human rights law and to support those in need of their services in a relevant sample of European countries, including England and Wales and France. Based on surveys and interviews that were conducted with law schools, major law firms, international NGOs and professional bodies from across Europe, the book provides a concise and contextual in-depth study of civil and common law systems where lawyers are known for their strong commitment to human rights and explores what it takes to establish a successful human rights culture within the legal profession. 


Order your copy here.



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Kind regards,

Stefanie Lemke

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