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Dr Stefanie Lemke, Human Rights and Rule of Law


Dr. Stefanie Lemke is a scholar and a lawyer by training, with two decades of experience working on human rights and rule of law across the public and private sectors in Asia, Europe and Latin America, including governments, universities, NGOs, commercial law firms and international organizations like the United Nations. She studied law in Germany, France, Spain and Argentina and was trained as a judge, a prosecutor and a criminal defence lawyer in Germany, litigating high-profile cases before UN human rights bodies and the International Criminal Court. She completed a PhD on access to justice at Oxford, London and Cologne Universities. More details about her CV, you can find here.

Throughout her career, Stefanie has held various research and teaching positions and led a number of projects at Dutch, French, German, Spanish and UK universities.  She is both Elected Board Member and Secretary of the Research Committee on Sociology of Law (RCSL), the world's leading and most active association to promote international comparative socio-legal research and teaching. She is a co-proposer of a EU-funded project based at the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland and an affiliate to Leeds University's Legal Professions Research Group (LPRG).

Stefanie has worked in several roles - as team leader, advisor, evaluator and trainer for supreme court judges, journalists and diplomats - for the United Nations, the European Union, the Council of Europe and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe. For instance, she is appointed to EU and other expert groups promoting a safe environment for civil society actors, access to justice, victims' rights, judicial cooperation and capacity building in higher education, serves as the European Commission's national expert for Germany, advised the Kazakh supreme court on judicial ethics, and was commissioned to draft Europe's first guidelines on legal aid (which were adopted by the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers in 2021). More about Stefanie's projects, you can find here.

Stefanie has given more than 60 talks about her research at important conferences like at Harvard University and authored more than 70 academic articles, policy papers and columns as well as three books with 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.

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

She conducts research on

and teaches the following areas:  ​ 

Human rights.

Judicial systems.

Criminal procedure.

Access to justice and legal aid.

Victims' rights. 

Legal technology.

Legal profession and education.

Legal empowerment.

Cultural expertise.

Human rights due diligence. 


Comparative law. 

Sociology of law. 

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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.

Stefanie Lemke - Human Rights Lawyering in Europa.JPG

my book on access to justice

Dr Stefanie Lemke - Human Rights and Rule of Law

 Human rights lawyering in Europa

The 337-page volume discusses the relationship between affordable access to justice and the provision of legal services to vulnerable groups from a comparative and a socio-legal perspective (Deutscher Anwaltverlag 2020).

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 other European countries. Based on surveys and interviews that were conducted with law schools, major law firms, professional bodies and civil society organizations active in Germany, France and the United Kingdom, 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.



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Kind regards,

Stefanie Lemke

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