Dr Agata Fijalkowski, Reader

Dr Agata Fijalkowski


Originally from Chicago, Dr Agata Fijalkowski joined Leeds Law School as Reader in July 2019. She completed her PhD in Law at the University of London. She has published extensively on the abolition of the death penalty in Central and East Europe and in the field of transitional justice.

Agata’s ongoing research interest in the dispensation of justice in the aftermath of WW2 in Central, East, and Southeast Europe is distinctly interdisciplinary and draws on archival work. Her monograph, Law, Visual Culture, and the Show Trial (Routledge Books) examines the dispensation of justice during communist rule in Albania, East Germany, and Poland and its reliance on legal propaganda through photographs, making the visual a fundamental part of the legitimacy of the law.

Agata is compiling the biographies of the individual members of the legal team at the Polish war crimes trials. Her most recent writing concerns the Polish lawyer/photographer Tadeusz Cyprian. Her 2021 SLSA-funded project ‘Defence Counsel "Maestro"’ looks at the defence lawyer Stanisław Hejmowski and explores defence lawyering strategies in high profile cases.

In 2022, Agata was an IRH Honorary Fellow at the dynamic Institute for Research in the Humanities at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She also has been awarded the competitive EHRI/Conny Kristel Fellowship at the Netherlands Institute of War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies (NIOD). She is a member of the outstanding research community at the Institute for Advanced Legal Studies (IALS) as an Associate Fellow.

Agata is an enthusiastic and committed teacher. She has taught research-informed modules on topics that include genocide and war crimes.

Agata recently completed her MA in Screenwriting at Leeds Beckett University. Her final project “Hilde” is a feature film script. To date, she has written several short film scripts and collaborated on a television drama series. Her screenplays are inspired by people and themes addressed in her legal academic work. Agata produced the short, 'arty' film ‘Musine Kokalari: An Unsung Hero (2017) (on IMDb) as part of an exhibition on the Albanian writer and political dissident Musine Kokalari (1917-1983) at the National Science and Media Museum in Bradford.

Current Teaching

  • Genocide & War Crimes on the LLM International Law: Conflict, Security and Human Rights
  • LPC Independent Legal Research Project (Module Leader)
  • Public Law (UG and PGDL)
  • Tort Law (UG)

Research Interests

Agata's research is interdisciplinary. Her current work looks at photographs as a data set and source of law. Her monograph Law, Visual Culture, and the Show Trial demonstrates the power of the image and explains how the photograph informs our understanding of authoritarian regimes via three case studies: Albania, East Germany, and Poland.

Agata's research also specifically looks at the individual lawyers, such as the Polish prosecutor Tadeusz Cyprian, who were part of the legal teams involved in domestic war crimes trials in the immediate post-WW2 period. While her focus is on Poland it extends to developments in Central and Eastern Europe. This includes links to other jurisdictions, such as the Netherlands, which is the focus of her EHRI/Conny Kristel fellowship. Agata engages with the legal biography and life account of the lawyer to make connections with wider discourses about international criminal law and relevant legal principles.

Agata work connects with themes in transitional criminal justice, which concerns the way that the successor state addresses the crimes of the predecessor state, a theme on which she has published extensively, in particular the (mal) administration of justice.

Agata is one of the main writers about the death penalty in Central and Eastern Europe. Although abolished, discourses about the death penalty continue to shape key narratives in the region about the way that law and justice drive hidden political interests and agendas pertaining to quasi-judicial methods of punishment, see The Elgar Companion to Capital Punishment and Society.

PhD Supervision

Agata welcomes prospective PhD students within the following areas of research:

  • Transitional Justice
  • War crimes trials
  • Law and visual culture

If you are a prospective student who would like to speak to Agata about PhD supervision, please contact Agata by email.

Dr Agata Fijalkowski, Reader

Ask Me About

  1. War crimes trials
  2. Law and visual culture
  3. Performativity of the law
  4. Post-WW2
  5. Cold War
  6. Defence lawyering strategies
  7. Death penalty
  8. Transitional justice
  9. History
  10. Law
  11. Photography

Selected Outputs

  • Fijalkowski A (2023) European Court of Human Rights. In: Stan L; Nadelsky N ed. Encyclopedia of Transitional Justice. Cambridge University Press,

  • Fijalkowski A (2023) Court Trials for Redress. In: Stan L; Nadelsky N ed. Encyclopedia of Transitional Justice. Cambridge University Press,

  • Fijalkowski A (2020) Truth and Reconciliation Commissions. In: Simić O ed. An Introduction to Transitional Justice. Abingdon: Routledge, pp. 97-121.

  • Fijalkowski A (2020) Amnesty. In: Simić O ed. An Introduction to Transitional Justice. London: Routledge, pp. 123-148.

  • Fijalkowski AA (2018) Historical Politics and Court Redress in the Baltic States. In: Horne C; Stan L ed. Transitional Justice and the Former Soviet Union Reviewing the Past, Looking toward the Future. Cambridge University Press, pp. 216-240.

  • Fijalkowski AA; Grosescu R (2017) Retrospective justice and legal culture. In: Justice, Memory and redress in Romania: New Insights. Cambridge Scholars Publishing,

  • Fijalkowski AA (2016) Amnesty. In: Simic O ed. An Introduction to Transitional Justice. Routledge, pp. 113-136.

  • Fijalkowski AA (2016) Truth and Reconciliation Commissions. In: Simic O ed. An Introduction to Transitional Justice. Routledge, pp. 91-112.

  • Fijalkowski A (2015) Transitional Criminal Justice: The Polish Way. In: Fijalkowski A; Grosescu R ed. Transitional Criminal Justice in Post-Dictatorial and Post-Conflict Societies. Intersentia Uitgevers N V, pp. 101-122.

  • Fijalkowski A (2011) European Policy on the Death Penalty. In: Is the Death Penalty Dying?. Cambridge University Press, pp. 268-291.

  • Fijalkowski A (2021) Book review: Law, Judges and Visual Culture. Law and Humanities, 15 (2), pp. 300-305.


  • Fijalkowski A (2021) Tadeusz Cyprian: Polish War Crimes Prosecutor and Photographer. Law and Humanities


  • Fijalkowski A (2021) Book Review: Soviet Judgment at Nuremberg: A New History of the International Military Tribunal after World War II. Social & Legal Studies


  • Fijalkowski A; Valderhaug S (2017) Legal Decisions, Affective Justice, and ‘Moving On?’. Oñati Socio-Legal Series


  • Fijalkowski A (2015) Musine Kokalari and the Power of Images: Law, Aesthetics and Memory Regimes in the Albanian Experience. International Journal for the Semiotics of Law - Revue internationale de Sémiotique juridique, 28 (3), pp. 577-602.


  • Fijalkowski A (2014) The criminalisation of symbols of the past: expression, law and memory. International Journal of Law in Context, 10 (3), pp. 295-314.


  • Fijalkowski A (2014) Politics, Law, and Justice in People's Poland: the Fieldorf File. Slavic Review, 73 (01), pp. 85-107.


  • (2008) Book Reviews. Defense & Security Analysis, 24 (3), pp. 329-338.


  • Fijalkowski A (2007) The Constitution of Law: Legality in a Time of Emergency By David Dyzenhaus, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007. 266pp. ISBN 978-0-521-67795-5 £21.99, paperback ISBN 978-0-521-86075-8 £48.00, hardback. International Journal of Law in Context, 3 (4), pp. 389-395.


  • Fijalkowski A (2007) The Paradoxical Nature of Crime Control in Post-Communist Europe. European Journal of Crime, Criminal Law and Criminal Justice, 15 (2), pp. 155-172.


  • Fijalkowski A (2002) BOOK REVIEWSBOOK REVIEWSFijalkowskiAgataDrEuropa-Fellow, Europa-Universität Viadrina, Germany052002491143148M. Los; ZybertowiczA., Privatizing the Police-State: The Case of Poland, St Martin’s Press, New York 2000, 270 pp., $69.95. ISBN 0-312-23150-4.Copyright © T.M.C. Asser Press 20022002T.M.C. Asser PresspdfS0165070X00000371a.pdfdispartBook Reviews1.See HardingC., ‘The International and European Control of Crime’, in HardingC. and LimC.L., eds., Essays and Commentary on the European and Conceptual Foundations of Modern International Law (The Hague, Kluwer Law International 1999) pp. 189–219.2.See SajoA., Law and Politics Book Review, on http://www.polsci.vwu.edu/lpbr/subpages/reviews/losmaria.htm.3.PodgoreckiA., ‘Reappearance of Ex-Communist Structures as a Test for the Integrative Theory of Law. Netherlands International Law Review, 49 (01), pp. 143-143.


  • FIJALKOWSKI A (2023) Law, Visual Culture, and the Show Trial. Routledge.

  • Simic O (2016) An Introduction to Transitional Justice. Taylor & Francis.

  • eds. Fijalkowski A; Grosescu R (2015) Transitional Criminal Justice in Post-Dictatorial and Post-Conflict Societies. Intersentia Uitgevers N V.

  • Fijalkowski A (2010) From old times to new Europe: The Polish struggle for democracy and constitutionalism.