Dr Sarah Sargent

BA (cum laude, Kansas State University, USA); Juris Doctorate (University of Denver, USA); LLM (with distinction, University of Leicester); PhD (De Montfort University)

Sarah Sargent is a qualified lawyer in the United States. Licensed to practice law (Licenses inactive) Colorado, Maryland, Kansas, USA. Her legal practice concentrated on issues of children’s rights. She worked for several non-profit organisations, including work  in the capacity of Managing Attorney and Director of Legal Services. Her legal practice included extensive litigation experience, and filing briefs of amicus curiae with the state appellate court on children’s rights issues. She is also one of the founders of the non-profit organisation, Kansas Association of Counsel for Children, which is an affiliate of the national organisation, National Association of Counsel for Children, and has served as a Board member and past President of this organisation. Dr Sargent also served a member of the Kansas Judicial Council Juvenile Offender/Child in Need of Care Advisory Committee for seven years. This group was responsible for a review and revision of state laws on juvenile offenders and children in care.

Dr Sargent has previously taught as an adjunct professor at Washburn University, USA on children’s law and and Comparative Law: Method and Theory. She also taught at De Montfort University. Her on-going research interests include indigenous rights in international law, transnational legal theory, and the intersection of indigenous rights and children’s rights in both international and domestic law.

Dr Sargent joined the University of Buckingham’s Law School in 2011. She can be contacted on sarah.sargent@buckingham.ac.uk.

Dr Sargent and Dr Patricia Covarrubia co-manage TK totem, a weblog for indigenous rights.

Dr Sargent has been invited to speak at the Stanford Archaeology Centre, at Stanford University, California on 28 May 2014. She will be speaking on the topic of “The Horse Culture of the American Indians: Past, Present and Future”, considering legal aspects of preservation of intangible cultural heritage and international human rights.

Dr Sargent also writes poetry, and had a poem published in the Little Balkans Review 6.1 (Spring 2011), a regional literary magazine that features art, articles and poetry about her home state of Kansas. Her poem is entitled  “Glissando” and was written at the end of a visit home as she was preparing to head back to England—dealing with the inevitability of change.

Publications: Articles, chapters in books, edited books

(with Kudret Yelden and Jo Samanta) “Understanding the decision-making environment for people in minimally conscious state“, Neuropsychological Rehabilitation (2017). Read more in our Publication of the week section (19 April 2017).

“Truth and consequences: Law, myth and metaphor in American Indian contested adoption”, Liverpool Law Review (2017).  Read more in our Publication of the week section (3 May 2017).

(edited, with Jo Samanta) Indigenous Rights: Changes and Challenges in the 21st Century (Buckingham: University of Buckingham Press, 2017).  Read more on the UBP website.

“Rights and reparations: An assessment of the UNDRIP to American Indian land claims”, in S. Sargent & J. Samanta (eds), Indigenous Rights: Changes and Challenges in the 21st Century (Buckingham: University of Buckingham Press, 2017), 88-115.  Read more in our Publication of the week section (31 May 2017).

(with Jo Samanta and Kudret Yelden) “A grounded theory analysis of a focus group study”, SAGE Research Methods Cases Part 2 (2017).  Read more on the Sage website.

“Classical horsemanship and the dangers of the emergent intangible cultural heritage authorised discourse”, International Journal of Intangible Heritage 11 (2016), 35-53. Read more about this article in our Publication of the week section (22 August 2016).

(with Jo Samanta and Kudret Yelden) “Should people in the minimally conscious state have a (recognised) right to reassessment?”, Contemporary Issues in Law 14.1 (2016), 63-83. Read more about this article in our Publication of the week section (11 July 2016).

“Legislating to prevent forced marriage: Time to reassess the legal approach?”, Diversity & Equality in Health and Care 12.3 (2015), 93-94. Read this guest editorial.

“Transracial adoption in England: a critical race and systems theory analysis”, International Journal of Law in Context 11.4 (2015), 412-425.  Read more about this article in our Publication of the week section (7 December 2015).

(with Graham Melling) “The exercise of external self-determination by indigenous groups: An examination of the Republic of Lakotah and the inherent sovereignty of American indigenous peoples”, Sri Lanka Journal of International and Comparative Law 1 (2015), 49. Read more about this article in our Publication of the week section (22 July 2015).

“What’s in a name: The contested meaning of free, prior and informed consent in international financial law and indigenous rights”, in Valentina Vadi & Bruno de Witte (eds), Culture and International Economic Law (London: Routledge, 2015), 87-103. Read more about this chapter in our Publication of the week section (2 March 2015).

“Unfulfilled promises: Safeguarding the horse culture of American Indians”, Transnational Dispute Management TDM 2 (March 2014). Read about this article in our Publication of the week section (31 March 2014).

(with Graham Melling) “Indigenous self-determination: the root of state resistance”, Denning Law Journal 24 (2012), 117-137

Review of S. Harris-Short, Aboriginal Child Welfare, Self-Government and the Rights of Indigenous Children, British Yearbook of International Law (2012).

“Transnational networks and United Nations human rights structural change: the future of indigenous and minority rights”, International Journal of Human Rights 16.1 (2012), 123-151. Read more about this article in our Publication of the week section (9 January 2012).

“Trapped in legal discourse: transracial adoption in the United States and England”, Denning Law Journal 23 (2011), 131-162.

“Towards a constructivist approach in identifying domestic mechanisms for rights protection in an intercountry adoption setting: a Comparison of India, Guatemala and South Africa”, Essex Human Rights Review 7.1 (2010), 50-71. Read more about this article in our Publication of the week section (25 February 2011).

“Indigenous children’s rights: international law, self-determination and intercountry adoption in Guatemala”, Contemporary Issues in Law 10.1 (2010) , 1-24.

“Intercountry adoption” and “Indigenous children’s rights”, in T. Buck (ed.), International Child Law (2nd ed., London: Routledge, 2010), 243-261 and 310-330. ISBN: 978-0-415-48716-0.

“Grasping the nettle: the impact of the EU’s response to Romanian intercountry adoption during accession negotiations”, in F. Snyder (ed.), L’élargissement et la nouvelle Europe après 2004 (French/English ed., Brussels: Bruylant, 2005). ISBN: 2-8027-2129-1.

“Suspended animation: the implementation of the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption in the United States and Romania”, Texas Wesleyan Law Review 10.2 (2004), 351ff.

Conference presentations

Sarah Sargent presented a paper on “Horses and Intangible Cultural Heritage: Identity, Community and Conflict” on 11 April 2017 at the symposium on Horses, Law and Society: Past, Present and Future, hosted by De Montfort University (Leicester) and of which she was a co-convener.

On 22 April 2016 Dr Sargent was an invited presenter at the University of Lincoln’s conference on the theme of Responsibility to Protect, Evaluating the Impact of R2P—10 Years On, An Idea Whose Time Has Come and Gone?, with her paper entitled “Explaining R2P’s Ineffectiveness: International Norms and Domestic Salience”.

At the Socio-Legal Scholars Association (SLSA) conference on 5-7 April, hosted this year by Lancaster University, Dr Sargent chaired a session in the Systems Theory Thinking stream, and also presented a paper in this stream, “Time-travel and Structural Coupling: A Luhmannian Analysis of Aboriginal Land Title in the US and Australia”. She also presented a paper in the Art, Culture and Heritage stream, “The Alluring Nomad: Law, Sentiment and Heritage”, and a paper in the Law and Literature stream, “Truth and Consequences: Law, Myth and Metaphor in American Indian Contested Adoption.” She presented a paper in the Research Methodologies and Methods stream, “The Use of Focus Groups and Constructivist Grounded Theory in Medical-Legal Research,” based on a collaborative research project with Jo Samanta, Reader in Medical Law, De Montfort University, and Dr Kudret Yeldon, Consultant at the Royal Hospital for Neuro-disability, Putney. This project conducted empirical research on the question of whether patients in a minimally conscious state have a right to  formal re-assessment.

Dr Sargent presented a paper on 18 March 2016 as an invited presenter at the Heirs to Luhmann Workshops: Vulnerability Across Bodies and Systems, at the University of Westminster. Dr Sargent’s paper was titled “The Vulnerability of Native Title: A Systems Theory Analysis”.

Dr Sargent made a presentation on 3 December 2015 as part of the Aston Law Group Research Seminar Series at Aston University, Birmingham. She spoke on the subject of “What’s in a name? The contested meaning of free, prior and informed consent in international financial law and indigenous rights.” Her presentation was based on her recently published book chapter of the same name (see above).

Dr Sargent gave a presentation to the University of Buckingham Amnesty International Group on the topic of Sexual Violence Against Indigenous Women in the USA and Canada on 13 November 2013.

Dr Sargent presented a paper on the protection of the rights of minority and indigenous children in intercountry adoption at the University of London, at the UK Network on Minority Groups and Human Rights Annual Conference on 28 October 2013.

On June 20 2013 Dr Sargent gave a presentation at a conference hosted by Maastricht University on Culture and International Economic Law: “What’s in a Name? The Contested Meaning of Free, Prior and Informed Consent in International Financial Law and Indigenous Rights”.

Dr Sargent was invited to give a presentation in one of a series of seminars that are part of the David Price Memorial Seminar Series: Faith, Belief and Healthcare Law. She spoke at a seminar whose theme was The Influence of Faith and Belief on the Formulation, Content and Operation of Health Law in the United Kingdom, held 29-30 April 2013  at Nottingham Trent University. Dr Sargent’s paper “Traditions and Challenges: Healthcare for Indigenous and Minority Children in the 21st century” focused on the need for health care delivery to develop an integrative approach that is cognisant of differing cultural meanings and contexts of health and health care.

Dr Sargent was the stream convenor for the Socio-Legal Studies Association (SLSA) Indigenous and Minority Rights stream at the annual conference held in York at the end of March 2013. This is the fifth year for the stream within the SLSA conference. Dr Sargent was the originator of the stream whilst undertaking her PhD studies at De Montfort University. She chaired panel sessions and also presented a paper that focused on current indigenous social movements called “Saving Pe Sla: Sustainable Self-determination and Indigenous Activism in a post-UNDRIP World”.

Dr Sargent gave a presentation on 24 March 2013  as part of the Maastricht University seminar on Art and Heritage Dispute. She was invited to be part of the opening panel of speakers. Her presentation focused on elements of intangible cultural heritage and dispute resolution mechanisms through an examination of the horse culture of the indigenous peoples of the American Plains. She examined dispute resolution mechanisms of the Inter-American system of human rights and the UN system of human rights.

“The Republic of Lakotah: International legal personality and sovereignty after the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples”, Roundtable Conference on Indigenous RIGHTS: The Emerging Landscape of Indigenous Rights (Centre for Multicultural Studies in Law and the Family, University of Buckingham, October 2011).

“Indigenous children in international law: conflicting norms and the consequences of international legal system changes” Second Multidisciplinary Meeting on Indigenous Peoples (University of Deusto Pedro Arrupe, Institute of Human Rights, Bilbao, May 2011).

Plenary Panel Speaker: “Changing norms and international organisation structural change: the future of indigenous rights, minority rights and international law”, Workshop on Minority and Indigenous Rights: Emerging Themes and Challenges (UK Network on Minority Rights and Human Rights and the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, London, November 2010).

“Theorising rights in the new millennium: indigenous children and international human rights” Socio-Legal Studies Association Annual Conference (University of Sussex, April 2011).

“The rights of indigenous children at international law following the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples” Socio-Legal Studies Association Annual Conference (Bristol, March 2010).

“Roundtable: Indigeneity in law and society pedagogy”, Law and Society 2009 annual meeting (Denver, Colorado, May 2009).

“Cultural trauma, national identity and social exclusion in Guatemala inter-country adoption” and “Brazil as a country of origin in intercountry adoption”, Socio-Legal Studies Association Annual Conference (Leicester, April 2009).

“Cultural trauma, national identity and social exclusion in Guatemala inter-country adoption”, 12th Annual ASLCH (Association for the Study of Law, Culture and the Humanities) Conference (Boston, Massachusetts, March 2009).

”Domestic mechanisms for rights access in an intercountry adoption setting”,  Realising Children’s Rights: Comparative and Socio-Legal Perspectives Conference (University of Essex, April 2008).

“Social marginalisation of children and children’s rights: implications in an intercountry adoption setting” , Socio-Legal Studies Association Annual Conference (Manchester, March 2008).

“Adoption and the Indian Child Welfare Act,” Kansas Bar Association Super CLE Telephone Seminar (Topeka, December 2007).

“Indian Child Welfare Act in Kansas,” Kansas Appellate Courts Judicial In-House CLE Program (Topeka, November 2007) [co-presented with Aliza Organick].

“Children’s rights and parental responsibility: a general overview of the US experience”, I diritti dei figli e le responsabilità dei genitori nella crisi della famiglia: dal conflitto alla mediazione? (University of Florence, May 2007).

“The place of race and culturein childwelfare decision making,” Child Welfare League of America (CWLA) Annual Adoption Training Conference (Beverly Hills, November 2004).

“The big stick: How EU accession negotiations with Romania have impacted children’s rights,” Third International Workshop for Young Scholars, Enlargement and the New Europe After 2004 Conference (Aix-en-Provence, September 2004).

“Suspended animation: The implementation of the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption in the United States and Romania,” Socio-Legal Studies Association Annual Conference (Glasgow, April 2004).

“Report on the Topeka pilot project for foster care services,” Privatization of Child Welfare: Reflections on Change and Prospects for the Future (Washburn University School of Law, Topeka, March 2004).

“The adoption option: considerations and consequences for children in need of care,”Kansas Bar Association, Annual Family Law Institute (Topeka, February 2004).

“Suspended animation: The implementation of the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption in the United States and Romania,” Symposium on International Adoption and Cultural Transformation (Texas Wesleyan Law School, November 2003).

“Adoption 2002 – A review of the strategies to increase adoption under the US Adoption and Safe Families Act,” Association of Children’s Welfare Agencies (Sydney, September 2002).

Selected Publications

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