Ragnhildur Helgad├│ttir

School:School of Social Sciences 

Curriculum Vitae


2004:            S.J.D. University of Virginia. The dissertation is titled " 'Not so in North America' - The Influence of American Theories on Judicial Review in Nordic Constitutional Law." 

1999:            LL.M. University of Virginia.

1997:            Cand. jur. University of Iceland.


Reykjavik University, Professor, April 2006 to date Assistant Professor, May 2002 to 2006
Chairperson of negotion team on Justice and Home Affairs and member of negotiation committee. Iceland’s application for membership of the EU. Nov. 2009 to present.

National expert, EU 7th Framework Programme, Social Sciences and Humanities.

National editor of “Retfærd”, autumn 2007 to present.

VariVarious advisory roles to Althingi and the government regarding matters of constitutional and administrative law as well as the the Special Investigation Report of April 2010.

Member of the Reykjavík University Research Council, sept. 2008 to Sept. 2011. Chairperson (and thus a member of the University’s Executive Council), Aug. 2010 to Sept. 2011.

Visiting professor (professeure invitée) at the Université de Montréal (spring 2005) and University of Ottawa (spring 2007 and spring 2009). Course taught in Ottawa: “Comparative Constitutional Law”.

Parliamentary Ombudsman for Iceland, Lawyer, May 1997-July 1998.




RU teaching record

2018-3L-102-STSRConstitutional Law

Teaching outside RU

Comparative Constitutional Law (a full course) at the University of Ottawa, Jan. 2007 and Jan. 2009.

A few hours at the University of Iceland (dept. of history) Fall 2007; University of Akureyri (law faculty) Fall 2003 and 2004; Bifröst University 2011.

The John Molson School of Business (Concordia University) Montreal, Spring 2005.

A few hours at the University of Helsinki spring 2012.



Þingræði á Íslandi í 100 ár [Parliamentarism in Iceland for 100 years]. ( chief and author of 2 chapters). Forlagið. 2011.

Almannatryggingar og félagsleg aðstoð [Social Security and Social Aid]. Co-authored with Guðmundur Sigurðsson. JPV útgáfa. 2007.

The Influence of American Theories on Judicial Review in Nordic Constitutional Law. Martinus Nijhoff. 2005.


Selected articles and book chapters:

Hvordan skabes en (islandsk) grundlov? Grundlovsændringer, sædvaneret og praksis 1874-2011. [How is a (Icelandic) Constitution made? Constitutional Amendments, Customs and Practice 1872-2011]. In Grunnlova mellom tolking og endring [The Constitution between Interpretation and Change]. In print. Pax Forlag. Oslo 2013.  

Nødret i Island og betydningen af Den Europæiske Menneskerettighedskonventions artikel 15. [Emergency Law in Iceland and the Importance of art. 15 of the European Convention on Human Rights]. In Unntakstilstand og forfatning [State of Emergency and the Constitution]. In print. Pax Forlag. Oslo 2013.

 Stjórnskipunin og meðferð á fé lífeyrissjóða [The Constitution and the Use of Pension Funds]. Stjórnmál og stjórnsýslaIcelandic Review of Politics and Administration, Vol. 9:1 2013.

Economic Crises and Emergency Powers in Europe. Forthcoming in Harvard Business Law Review Online, March 2012.

Non-problematic Judicial Review – A Case Study. ICON –International Journal of Constitutional Law (2011) 9 (2): 532-554. Sept. 2011.

Staters beføjelser til indgreb under finanskriser: Statsstøtte eller nødret [States‘ Possibilities to Step in During Financial Crises: State Aid or State of Emergency]. Accepted for publication in Forhandlingerne ved det 39. Nordiske Juristmøde. 2011.

Þingræðisreglan og staða hennar í stjórnskipuninni [Parliamentarism and its Status in the Constitutional Order], Þingræði á Íslandi í 100 ár [Parliamentarism in Iceland for 100 years]. Forlagið. 2011.

Framkvæmd þingræðisreglunnar [The Practice of Parliamentarism], Þingræði á Íslandi í 100 ár [Parliamentarism for 100 years]. Forlagið. 2011.

Pólitísk ábyrgð ráðherra – Samspil þingræðisreglu og þingeftirlits [The Political Responsibility of Cabinet Ministers – The Border between Parliamentarism and Parliamentary Control]. Tímarit lögfræðinga, 3.h. 59.árg. 2009.

Status Presens- Judicial Review in Iceland. Nordisk Tidsskrift for Menneskerettigheter / Nordic Journal of Human Rights 2:2009.

The UN Convention in Nordic domestic law - Lessons Learned from Other Treaties, in The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities: European and Scandinavian Perspectives (Arnardóttir and Gerrard, eds), Martinus Nijhoff Publishers. 2009.

Ragnhildur Helgadóttir & Margrét Vala Kristjánsdóttir: Inntak og beiting 15. gr. stjórnarskrárinnar [The Substance and Application of Art. 15 of the Constitution], Tímarit Lögréttu. April 2009.

Book Review, European Law Journal, 14:3 2008. (Review of Nordic and Other European Constitutional Traditions. (Nergelius, ed.). Martinus Nijhoff publishers. 2006.

Stjórnsýsla almannatrygginga og sjónarmið um réttaröryggi [The Administration of the Social Security System and the Rule of Law] Tímarit lögfræðinga, 2.h. 56. árg. 2006.

Slysatryggingar almannatrygginga: Opinber réttur, einkaréttarleg sjónarmið [The Social Security Accident Insurance: Public Law, Private Law Influences], co-authored with Guðmundur Sigurðsson, Guðrúnarbók – Guðrún Erlendsdóttir sjötug [Liber Amicorum for Guðrún Erlendsdóttir], Hið íslenzka bókmenntafélag 2006, pp. 201-249.



Eftirlit Alþingis með framkvæmdarvaldinu [Parliamentary Control of the Executive].  The Report of a Group Appointed by Althingi‘s Presidium to Review Legislation Regarding Parliamentary Control and to Assess whether Amendments are Necessary. Alþingi 2009. Along with Bryndís Hlöðversdóttir, Andri Árnason and Ásmundur Helgason. 

Ábyrgð aðila sem standa fyrir félags- og tómstundastarfi fyrir börn og unglinga [The Responsibility of those who offer Recreational or Social Activity for Children and Youth]. Menntamálaráðuneytið 2010 and 2nd ed. 2012 (in print). 

Also lectures on various subjects, including lectures at conferences or lecture series organized by the Nordic Administrative Association, the Icelandic Bar Association, The Icelandic Legal Society, The Society of Historians and The Judges’ Association of Iceland, the University of Akureyri and Concordia University in Montreal, Canada as well as at meetings of the Nordforsk networks „REUNA“ and „Beyond Nordic Legal Modernity“ and at seminars or workshops at the University of Bergen and University of Oslo.



Participation in two sub-projects of „Nye Perspektiver på Grunnloven“ [New Perspectives on the Constitution], financed by Norges forskningsråd. The sub-projects are: Grunnloven mellem tolking og endring [The Constitution between Interpretation and Amendment] and Forfatning og Unntakstilstand [Constitution and Exceptional Circumstances]. Both sub-projects are expected to yield books in late 2013.



Honours and grants


Research grants from the Icelandic Research Fund:


1999-2000. Project: "A comparison of judicial review in Western Scandinavia and in the U.S."


2005-2007. Project: "Social security: Its role and interaction with other benefits.


Seed money grant from Nordforsk, 2008.


Travel grant from Letterstedtska Fonden 2007.


Two grants from the RU Development Fund 2007.


Bjarni Benediktsson grant 2007.


Thor Thors grant (American Scandinavian Foundation) 1998.


Subject field

Constitutional Law and Theory, Administrative Law, in particular social secury legislation, Legal History and Human Rights Law

Business relations

Various councelling jobs for Alþingi and ministries.

2009- to date:  Member of EU Negotiation Committee

2013 - Alternate member of Board of Directors of MP Bank

2011 and 2013- Chair ad hoc of committee on judicial functions in 3 cases.

2013 - Chair of committee evaluating applicants to be nominated as Icelandic judges of the European Court of Human Rights.

2010 Special counselor to Althingi (parliament) regarding constitutional issues that are expected to arise out of the report of Althingi´s specially appointed investigating committee. (committee charged with investigating the reason for the economic collapse of 2008)

2008-2009 Various jobs for Althingi, concerning primarily the economic collapse.

2007- Assistance in the drafting of new social security legislation

2006 appointed judge ad hoc in one constitutional case.



Within RU:

Chairperson of the University Research Council,2010-2011 and thus part of RU┬┤s executive Council. Member of URC 2008-2011 and Jan-Aug. 2012.

Chairperson of the Law School´s Research Council 2002-2005, 2008-2010 and Jan-Aug. 2012.

Chairperson of Law Review´s Reviewing Board, 2004-2005, 2009-2012.

Member of two ad hoc groups on research activity and evaluation.


Outside RU:

Member of three evaluation committees for the University of Copenhagen.

Member of Steering group of European Humanities University in Vilnius until 2008.

External examiner, Ph.D. University of Iceland, Nov. 2011.

National expert, FP7.

National editor of Retfærd.

Various peer-reviewing.



See research, above.

Other websites