Research Interests
Constitutional law, comparative law, public law, international and European law, human rights, law and religion, legal pluralism

Research Area(s)
Europe (especially Ireland and the UK)
United States


Michelle Flynn is a Research Fellow in the Department of Law and Anthropology. Prior to joining the Max Planck Institute in 2018, she gained over twelve years of experience working within domestic and international courts. Flynn has held judicial support roles at national and supranational levels with members of the judiciary of Ireland, the European Court of Human Rights, and the Court of Justice of the European Union. She also has significant practical experience as a barrister and as a Consultant Legal Advisor with Irish Rule of Law International, working on judicial capacity building projects in developing countries. She is also a former academic staff member at the Faculty of Law in KU Leuven, Belgium.

Flynn holds a Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and Legal Science from the National University of Ireland, Galway; a Barrister-at-Law Degree from the Honorable Society of King’s Inns, Dublin, Ireland; and an LL.M. in International and European Public Law from KU Leuven, Belgium.

Her current research examines the jurisprudence of the superior courts in Ireland, the United Kingdom and the United States concerning religious prescriptions and religious personal laws. Since January 2019, she has been a Visiting Researcher at Yale Law School, where she is carrying out research concerning the relationship between law and religion in the US.

Why Law and Anthropology?

Religious diversity is one of the most contentious and complex issues currently facing national and supranational courts in Europe. The simultaneous increase in multiculturalism and secularism, coupled with the ongoing process of juridification, presents new challenges for our legal systems and courts in matters concerning law and religion. Law and anthropology are two distinct, yet often complementary, disciplines. As a lawyer, anthropology invites me to critically assess the legal response to multiculturalism in Europe and the US in a more nuanced manner.

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