St. Thomas University Professor Dr. Shannonbrooke Murphy Appointed to the New Brunswick Human Rights Commission

Picture of Dr. Shannonbrooke Murphy in the study hall

Dr. Shannonbrooke Murphy, the Endowed Chair in Human Rights at St. Thomas University, has been appointed to the New Brunswick Human Rights Commission for a three-year term.   


As a Commissioner, she will be part of the quasi-judicial decision-making body that determines   

if a human rights complaint should be dismissed or referred for a formal hearing before the Labour and Employment Board. Members of the Commission are appointed through an open, merit-based competitive process.  


Dr. Murphy has two decades of experience in human rights legislative, policy, and constitutional reform work, and she specializes in teaching human rights advocacy. She holds a PhD in Law from Middlesex University, a Masters in Law in International Human Rights from University of Galway, and a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Peace and Conflict Studies from the University of Toronto. She joined STU in 2019 as the Endowed Chair in Human Rights and Assistant Professor in the Department of Human Rights.   


“I’m immensely proud to serve the peoples of New Brunswick in this capacity. I look forward to sharing with my students the insights I will gain into this aspect of human rights enforcement in our province,” said Murphy. 


Next semester, Dr. Murphy will be teaching HMRT 1003-Introduction to Human Rights which introduces students to the study of human rights through an overview of the basic instruments, institutions, and ideas relevant to human rights. In addition to thesis and internship courses, she will be teaching HMRT 3013-Discrimination and the Law which will focus on domestic human rights codes and commissions with attention on the NB Human Rights Act and Commission.   


She has worked as an advisor to elected representatives in Ireland on equality and human rights protections in domestic law, constitutional law, European Law, and under international treaty obligations. Her scholarly research focuses on human rights enforcement—in particular extra-judicial enforcement by citizens and the right to resist—and she has made numerous conference presentations as well as several scholarly publications on the subject. Her research monograph The Human Right to Resist in International and Constitutional Law is forthcoming from Cambridge University Press (2023-2024). 


In her new role with the Commission, Murphy will be working with STU alumna Emilia Gutierrez, BA’21 who is an Education Officer for the Commission. 


Human Rights Program at STU   

The Human Rights Program at St. Thomas is the only one of its kind in Atlantic Canada and the only stand-alone program in the country where students can complete an honours thesis. STU also offers the only for-credit undergraduate Moot Court program in Canada, which allows students to compete against law schools.