SOAS University of London

School of Law

Ms Margaret O'Brien

LLB Law (City of London), MSc Public Policy (University of London)
  • Overview
  • Teaching
  • Research


Maggie O'Brien
School of Law

Graduate Teaching Assistant

Ms Margaret O'Brien
Email address:
Paul Webley Wing (Senate House)
Office No:
Academic Support Hours:
Thursday 12.00 - 13.00
Thesis title:
Law, power and land in the Chittagong Hill Tracts - An analysis of the emancipatory potential of the human rights system in the customary legal system of the Jumma people of Bangladesh
Year of Study:
Internal Supervisors


I’ve joined SOAS for a change of direction, after an earlier career in British local government and management consultancy. My interest in Bangladesh developed while on a Voluntary Service Overseas placement as Management Advisor to the Raja of Khagrachari in the Chittagong Hill Tracts.

PhD Research

My research project considers the possibilities generated by human rights norms as ‘enabling’ and, constraining’ forces insofar as the life conditions of the indigenous communities of the Hill Tracts are concerned. These communities have emerged from a prolonged period of oppression, only to encounter state indifference and continued economic marginalisation. They have, however, also become active participants in the global indigenous peoples social movement. I wish to explore how the social and political change of the last decade has changed attitudes to and experiences of law for the subaltern communities of the Hill Tracts.



My research interest is a continuation of my MSc research, I hope to examine in more detail the development of a human rights discourse in the indigenous communities of the Chittagong Hill Tracts, drawing on legal theory, political philosophy and anthropology. I am particularly interested in the relationship between State identity, community identitiy and law in the Hill Tracts.