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Dr Robin Hickey

Senior Lecturer

Contact Details

Email address r.hickey@qub.ac.uk
Telephone Direct Line (+44) 028 9097 3468
Room 29.104, 29 University Square



MA (Oxon)



Fellow of the Higher Education Academy



Robin re-joined the School of Law in July 2013, having been previously a senior lecturer at Durham Law School, and a lecturer in law at Queen’s.

Robin’s research focuses on property, particularly on foundational concepts of property like “ownership” and “possession”, and how these interact with civil and criminal rules protecting property. He is currently working on a book exploring these themes which is due to be published in 2016 (Possession and Entitlement, Hart Publishing).

Robin has special expertise in the law relating to lost and found things. His first book, Property and the Law of Finders (Hart Publishing, 2010) is the first full-length account of the legal position of finders, and was one of two books shortlisted for the Inner Temple Book Prize 2011 (New Authors' Category).

In another major current project, Robin seeks to apply common law perspectives on property to the problem of modern slavery. He was a founding member of the Research Network on the Legal Parameters of Slavery, which conducted research, funded by the AHRC, on Slavery as the Powers Attaching to the Right of Ownership. This Network brought together international academics and practitioners on slavery and property issues, with the aim of clarifying the modern definition of slavery in international law, and produced the Bellagio-Harvard Guidelines on the Legal Parameters of Slavery. To date the Network has held two conferences at the Rockefeller Centre Bellagio and Harvard Law School, and published its findings in J. Allain (ed) The Legal Understanding of Slavery: From the Historical to the Contemporary(OUP, 2012). In addition to his published writing on the definition of modern slavery, Robin has presented widely on the issue nationally and internationally, including a plenary panel at the Association of Law, Property and Society Annual Meeting at Georgetown Law School in 2012.

External collaboration is an important feature of Robin’s work. In addition to the slavery project, he is currently co-convening two sets of workshops and essay collections, one on Landmark Cases on Property (with Simon Douglas and Emma Waring), and one on the criminalisation of squatting (with Lorna Fox-O’Mahony and David O’Mahony). Robin has also spent time as a visiting scholar at Harvard Law School, and an International Research Visitor at Melbourne Law School. Currently he is working on a project with Matthew Harding of the Melbourne Law School on a project concerning the values which animate Equity’s response to gifts.

Robin also has general interests in legal theory and history. He serves on the editorial board of the journal Jurisprudence (Hart Publishing), and the Council and Publications Committee of the Irish Legal History Society.

Robin teaches property and obligations at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. He is always pleased to hear from prospective research students, and welcomes enquiries about projects relating to these fields.





Land Law

Contemporary Issues in Property




Property (JD)

Contract (JD)

Philosophy of Law (LLM)





Property, obligations, common law reasoning and values, legal history; modern slavery, trafficking, human exploitation



Selected Publications

Property and the Law of Finders (Oxford: Hart Publishing, 2010). 196 pp. Finalist, Inner Temple Book Prize 2011 (New Authors’ Category)


‘Possession Taken by Theft and the Original Acquisition of Personal Property Rights’, Ch 18 in N. Hopkins (ed) Modern Studies in Property Law, vol 7 (Oxford: Hart Publishing, 2013)


with Jean Allain, ‘Property and the Definition of Slavery’, International and Comparative Law Quarterly, Vol 61, 2012, pp. 915-938


‘Seeking to Understand the Definition of Slavery’, Ch 12 in J. Allain (ed) The Legal Understanding of Slavery: From the Historical to the Contemporary (OUP, 2012)


with Matthew Harding, ‘Bijural Ambiguity and Values in Land Registration Systems’, Ch 14 in S. Bright (ed) Modern Studies in Property Law, vol 6 (Oxford: Hart Publishing, 2011)


‘Wrongs and the Protection of Personal Property’, Conveyancer, vol 75, 2011, pp. 48-57


‘Stealing Abandoned Goods: Possessory Title in Proceedings for Theft’, Legal Studies, vol 26, 2006, 584-601


‘Dazed and Confused: Accidental Mixtures of Goods and the Theory of Acquisition of Title’, Modern Law Review, vol 66, 2003, pp 368-383





MLegSc Programme Co-ordinator, Sep 2013 - present