Fiona McGaughey


  • The University of Western Australia (M253), 35 Stirling Highway,

    6009 Perth


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Personal profile


Dr McGaughey is an Associate Professor of International Human Rights Law.  She is a passionate educator and researcher and is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.  Fiona graduated from the Queen's University of Belfast with a Bachelors degree in Law with French, with honours. She also has a Masters degree in Human Rights and a PhD on the role of Non-governmental Organisations (NGOs) in monitoring international human rights law. Fiona initially worked across Europe and Australia in the private sector as a management consultant, before moving to semi-state and not-for-profit research and policy roles, which she did for over ten years in both Australia and Ireland. She has predominantly worked in the areas of disability and racial equality. During this time she held a number of positions including membership of Government steering and advisory groups. She was the Irish National Focal Point for the European Racism & Xenophobia Network and then the European Fundamental Rights Agency from 2005-2008. Fiona previously taught on the Masters programme at the Centre for Human Rights Education, Curtin University. She took up a lecturing position at UWA in 2016. 

Fiona's primary research areas are: international human rights law, modern slavery, pedagogy and socio-legal studies.  Fiona has previously been editor of the Australia and New Zealand journal Third Sector Review.  She has previously co-convened and is now a member of the UWA Modern Slavery Research Cluster: and has been a member of the Law Council of Australia's Business and Human Rights Committee.

Roles and responsibilities

Member of Academic Board UWA

Co-covenor UWA's Modern Slavery Research Cluster (2018-2021)

July 2017- July 2020, UWA Law School's Director of Higher Degrees (Coursework).

2016, UWA Law School's Director of the Law and Society Major.

Co-editor of journal Third Sector Review (TSR) (2018-2021).

Funding overview

National Action Plan to Combat Modern Slavery 2020-25 Grant Program funding of $177,742 for ‘Improving the Regulation of Modern Slavery and Access to Remedy. Learning from Experience’ awarded to Justine Nolan (UNSW), Shelley Marshall (RMIT), Martijn Boersma (UTS), Fiona McGaughey (UWA), Vikram Bhakoo (University of Melbourne), Keren Adams & Freya Dinshaw (Human Rights Law Centre), Peter Keegan (Baptist World Aid), Mark Zirnsak (Uniting Church) & Amy Sinclair (BHRC). 

Worldwide Universities Network (WUN) Funding with colleagues around the world for research into the effect of COVID19 on academic and student wellbeing.

Fiona and colleagues received a UWA Faculty of Arts, Business, Law and Education grant for research collaboration on 'Better business and legislative responses to modern slavery' with the University of Leeds.  They subsequently received funding from Leeds University Business School (UK)’s Challenge Fund for the project: Compliance cascades in global value chains.  

Fiona was part of an Australian Government Office of Learning and Teaching grant on social justice simulations. This was in her previous role at the Centre for Human Rights Education, Curtin University, along with partners from six other universities and led by University of Sydney.

Previous positions

  • Sessional lecturer, Centre for Human Rights Education, Curtin University.
  • Senior Policy Officer, National Disability Services, WA.
  • Director, Equal Measures (consultancy)
  • Research & Policy Officer, National Consultative Committee on Racism & Interculturalism, Ireland.
  • Project Officer, Equal Opportunity Commission, WA.
  • Manager (previously consultant) with Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, WA and Accenture, Ireland.

Industrial relevance

Fiona has extensive experience of working in and consulting to the Not-for-Profit sector. She has particular expertise in reporting to United Nations human rights bodies, both in practice and as a researcher.

Teaching overview

LAWS5226 International Human Rights Law

LAWS5225 Theory, Method and Contemporary Issues of International Law

LAWS3316 Law, Advocacy, Activism and Change


- Researching the role of NGOs in monitoring international human rights law with a comparative analysis of United Nations treaty bodies and the Human Rights Council's Universal Periodic Review.
- Researching business and human rights, including 'modern slavery'.


Fiona speaks English
French and Irish.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 1 - No Poverty
  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

External positions

WA Electrical Licensing Board

30 Jan 201930 Jan 2021

Law Council of Australia's Business and Human Rights Committee

2019 → …

Research expertise keywords

  • International Law/ Human Rights
  • Race And Ethnic Relations/ Inequality
  • The United Nations
  • Non-Governmental Organisations
  • Slavery
  • International human rights law
  • International law
  • Human rights law
  • Anti-discrimination and equality
  • United Nations
  • Disability rights
  • Modern Slavery


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