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Last week in Copenhagen Arina Melse, doctoral fellow of the joint programme of Riga Graduate School of Law and the University of Copenhagen, successfully defended her PhD in public international law. Her dissertation, titled Inherent Powers of the European Court of Human Rights: Part of the Judicial Function of an International Public Authority, focused on the complex issue of how international judicial bodies emerge as an international public authority and expand their mandates to fulfil their evolving judicial function. In this context, the thesis examined the potential of the inherent powers doctrine to address the legal legitimacy challenges of the expansion of the incidental competences of international judicial bodies, with a special focus on the European Court of Human Rights.
Following her PhD defense, Arina remain connected to the Centre of Excellence for International Courts at the University of Copenhagen as an affiliated researcher. She is also continuing teaching International Human Rights Law at RGSL.
The RGSL Doctoral Programme is implemented in cooperation with the Law Faculty of the University of Copenhagen. The programme started in 2012 and leads to a joint doctoral degree in law.
Professor George Ulrich who oversees the Doctoral Programme highlights: ‘It’s a big accomplishment for both the programme and the scholar. Arina was one of the first to enrol in the programme that was created to boost RGSL’s academic capacity and foster academic cooperation with a prestigious and very resourceful Scandinavian academic institution.’ He adds: ’It is fascinating to see how RGSL has developed from offering only masters studies to a more complete academic portfolio of bachelor, masters and doctoral programmes.’
Reflecting on her successful defence, Arina underlines the importance of cooperation: ‘I wish to thank the University of Copenhagen and the Riga Graduate School of Law for providing such a wonderful and productive platform for conducting research in the form of the joint Doctoral Programme and for giving me the opportunity to participate in it. My work has immensely benefited from the guidance of highly esteemed academics in the field and exposure to diverse research environments made possible by the joint programme.’
Asked about Arina’s academic contribution, her PhD thesis supervisor Professor Ineta Ziemele emphasises that: ‘Arina’s research brings a significant contribution to legal discourse in Europe. Her chosen area of research has previously received limited academic attention. I believe that her dissertation will gain the attention of the European Court of Human Rights.’
The RGSL Doctoral Programme requires that scholars comply with both Latvian and Danish academic requirements and traditions, which adds extra value to the degree obtained. Arina’s assessment committee included highly regarded academics and legal practitioners: Professor George Ulrich from Riga Graduate School of Law, Professor Mikael Rask Madsen from the University of Copenhagen, and former Judge and Vice-President of the European Court of Human Rights Françoise Tulkens, who currently serves as a Member of the Kosovo Human Rights Advisory Panel.












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