Mattia Pinto

Mattia Pinto


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Dr Mattia Pinto

PhD (LSE), Single-Cycle Master’s Degree in Law (Bologna, Italy), LLM (KCL), PGCertHE (LSE)


Co-convenor, LLM in International Human Rights Law and Practice

I am a lecturer at York Law School and the Centre for Applied Human Rights, where I co-convene the LLM in International Human Rights Law and Practice. I joined York in 2022, after teaching at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). I also interned at the European Court of Human Rights (Registry) and the International Criminal Court (Office of Public Counsel for the Defence), and worked as a research assistant at King’s College London.

I hold a PhD in law from the LSE, a Single-Cycle Master’s Degree in Law (MJur) from the University of Bologna, Italy, an LLM in Transnational Law from King’s College London and a Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education (PGCertHE) from the LSE. I am a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

My research interests span across human rights, criminology and criminal law (including international criminal law), socio-legal studies (especially discourse analysis and socio-legal theory) and international political sociology.

Research interests

  • Human Rights
  • Criminal law
  • International criminal law
  • International law
  • Transnational law
  • Socio-legal studies
  • Discourse analysis
  • International political sociology

I approach the study of human rights and penality from a social-legal and transnational perspective which investigates the functions and limits of law as a social phenomenon, embedded in historical and socio-political contexts. 

I have three ongoing strands of research:

1. Human Rights as Sources of Penality

My primary area of research focuses on the relationship between human rights and penality. I am interested in the role that human rights play in both limiting as a ‘shield’ and triggering as a ‘sword’ the state’s penal powers. I am working on a book manuscript for Oxford University Press (Clarendon Studies in Criminology), based on my PhD thesis, which critiques the entanglements between human rights and penality, where enforcement of human rights increasingly relies on punitive frameworks and institutions. The book, entitled Human Rights as Sources of Penality, exposes the assumptions and reasons that underpin this trend in two critical areas of human rights violations: torture and human trafficking. It combines an empirical discourse analysis of 480 texts across different sources and a theoretical enquiry informed by the sociology of punishment and the realist political tradition.

2. Rethinking Accountability Beyond the Penal Frame

My research also explores possible alternatives for dealing with violence and domination without turning to penal solutions. This strand of research is normative and collaborative: I aim to work with non-academic partners and grassroots organisations and to generate cross-disciplinary insights and recommendations for policy and practice in this area. I look at methods of accountability for torture beyond the punitive frame and how human rights activism can learn from penal abolitionism.

3. Law as/and Discourse

In addition to the above research, I am also interested in methodological issues. I am working on a project with Dr Audrey Alejandro (LSE Methodology) on developing a methodological toolkit for ‘law as/and discourse’. This project aims to guide researchers, educators and students in exploring law and discourse as a vital area of socio-legal enquiry.

Education/Academic qualification

PhD, Human Rights as Sources of Penality, London School of Economics and Political Science

Sept 2018Nov 2022

Award Date: 2 Nov 2022

Masters, The principle of legality between Civil Law and Common Law: The Impact of the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights, University of Bologna

1 Sept 20125 Dec 2017

Award Date: 5 Dec 2017

Masters, Awakening the Leviathan through Human Rights Law: How Human Rights Bodies Trigger the Application of Criminal Law, King's College London

20 Sept 201630 Sept 2017

Award Date: 30 Sept 2017


  • K Law (General)
  • Criminal Law
  • Human Rights Law
  • Socio-legal studies
  • JX International law
  • International criminal law
  • Transnational Law
  • JZ International relations
  • International Political Sociology

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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