Elizabeth Bruch

Affiliated Faculty
University of British Columbia
University of Wisconsin
Valparaiso University

My research, education and professional experience all center on international law and policy, particularly human rights.  I began my career as a lawyer, working first in general civil practice, in diverse settings from New York to Alaska.  Then I followed my interest into international human rights work. I worked for two years in post-conflict Bosnia as the Executive Officer of the Human Rights Chamber, a human rights court created by the Dayton Peace Agreement, and I have done human rights fact-finding in Haiti, Namibia, Tanzania, Kosovo, Romania, and elsewhere.


After completing my Ph.D. at the University of British Columbia (UBC), I joined the School of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences at the University of Washington Tacoma in 2014. Before coming to UWT, I taught at UBC, American University’s Washington College of Law, Arizona State University College of Law, and Valparaiso University School of Law.  My research addresses a range of international legal issues, including humanitarian intervention, human rights, the use of international standards in domestic law, gender in international law, human trafficking, and immigration reform. 

Current Research

My scholarship adopts a socio-legal approach to issues of international law and policy, especially human rights and humanitarian law. For example, my recent book, Human Rights and Humanitarian Intervention: Law and Practice in the Field (Routledge, 2016), uses an institutional ethnographic approach to explore an important and still-emerging practice of global governance, the work of ‘international’ human rights experts in United Nations and other inter-governmental organization field missions. 


My current projects continue my focus on global governance and the intersections of human rights with other legal regimes.  One project examines R2P (the developing doctrine of a ‘responsibility to protect’) in the context of human rights and refugee protection, and a second project considers the role of human rights in international responses to climate change. I am also interested in issues of critical methodology, feminist theory, transnationalism and post-colonial studies, and law and society. My work seeks to foster dialogue between the disciplines of sociology and law regarding issues of legality, expertise and global human rights.


I am currently teaching:


TPOLS 230 International Human Rights (formerly TPOLS 311)

TLAW 215 Introduction to International Organizations (formerly TPOLS 328)

TLAW 422 International Humanitarian Law (formerly TPOLS 422)

TLAW 423 International Law (formerly TPOLS 423)

TLAW 424 International Human Rights Law and Politics (formerly TPOLS 368)


In addition to Washington, I have taught in Arizona, the District of Columbia, Indiana, and British Columbia and in international programs in South America (Chile and Argentina) and Eastern Europe (Romania and Slovakia).  I have previously taught undergraduate courses in criminal law, crime and justice, women in politics, women and the law, the Canadian legal system, and qualitative methods.  At the graduate and law school level, I have taught: public international law, international human rights law, immigration law, torts, property, lawyering skills and advocacy.



Director and Advisory Partner, International Women’s Rights Project (Canada)

Law and Society Association

Canadian Law and Society Association

International Law Association, American Branch

American Society of International Law

Member of the Bar, New York

Member of the Bar, Wisconsin


CV or Resume
PDF icon Bruch CV169.12 KB