Herdis Kjerulf Thorgeirsdottir  is an Icelandic lawyer and political scientist who has developed an international reputation in promoting freedom of expression in an era of globalisation where the significance of large media conglomerates and big tech in shaping public opinion gets ever more real. Her research has in particular been directed at civil and political rights. She has done extensive research on  freedom of the press and the protection of the rights of journalists from self-censorship due due to the integration of financial and political power and her work has been published internationally. Her recent focus has been on the growing impact of oligarchs and their unconstrained power in political economies outside the constitutional framework.


Herdis Kjerulf Thorgeirsdottir is an attorney at law in Reykjavik. Professor of constitutional law and human rights at Bifrost University 2004-2012. She announced her candidacy for the office of President of Iceland on March 30, 2012. Herdis is  member of the Council of Europe Venice Commission / European Commission for Democracy through law and its First Vice President until 2019. Herdis was on the Board of Trustees of ERA (European Academy of Law) in Trier from 2012 until 2015. In 2009, she was elected President of the European Women Lawyer’s Association (EWLA) and re-elected for a second term in 2011. She is member of the EU Network of Legal Experts in gender equality (since 2003) that ensures that the European Commission is kept informed in relation to important legal developments in the field of gender equality at national level and the impact of these developments.  She is the founder of the “Network – empowering women” large conferences in Iceland since 2004 that had an impact gender equality policy and legislation. She was twice nominated for the Gender Equality Price for the Network-conferences. She has given lectures on human rights, rule of law and democracy widely.  In the 1980s and early 1990s, she was the founder, publisher and editor of Heimsmynd magazine in Iceland. Prior to that she was the founding editor of Mannlif magazine. She began her career as a journalist at Morgunbladid, a major daily newspaper in Iceland.



Herdis Thorgeirsdottir holds a Doctor Juris degree (LLD) the highest academic law degree  from the Faculty of Law at Lund University in Lund Sweden. She also has degree in Law from the University of Reykjavik and is a member of the Icelandic Bar Association. She was a guest lecturer at Oxford University in 1999. Earlier she earned the M.A.L.D. degree from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University in Boston, Massachusetts. She received the B.A. degree in Political Science from the University of Iceland. She also studied journalism on Fleet Street in London, the United Kingdom and prior to that psychology at the University of Aix-en-Provence.