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Criminal Justice

Criminal law is a major subject of academic and practical importance. This has always been so in England, where the subject has a rich history and occupies a very prominent place in popular awareness of the legal system. The many questions raised by the use of criminal law as a means of social control continue to engage the attention of scholars in law and many other disciplines, to say nothing of politicians, policymakers, the judiciary, the legal profession and many other groups and individuals.

Faculty members with research interests in this area are:

Ian Dennis
Elaine Genders
Douglas Guilfoyle
Jacqueline Kinghan
Pascoe Pleasence
Jonathan Rogers
Cheryl Thomas

Our courses in the area include:

LLM Programme

Specialist Degree - Criminal Justice, Family and Social Welfare


Criminal Law
Crime and Criminal Justice

See the Centre for Criminal Law website for information

Research themes

The most exiting trend of recent times has been the growth in empirical studies to complement our theoretical and doctrinal work in the area of criminal justice. Dr Elaine Genders has continued to conduct empirical research into conditions in English prisons, and one of her current research interests is the accountability of prison officers which is particularly acute with the advent and likely extension of private prisons. Professor Cheryl Thomas's empirical findings on the workings of juries and the decision-making processes of trial judges now enables us to offer a range of LLM courses of interest to those who wish to practice in criminal justice.

On the theoretical side, Professor Ian Dennis specialises in evidence and procedure and recently completed the fourth edition of his leading textbook: I.H.Dennis, Law of Evidence (4th ed, Thomson Sweet & Maxwell, 2010). His recent works have focused on the right to confrontation and anonymous witnesses. Dr Jonathan Rogers specialises in substantive criminal law and procedure, with particular reference to prosecutorial discretion, and his recent works include the leading analysis of the House of Lords decision in Purdy (on prosecutorial guidelines in assisted suicide cases) and a forthcoming piece on the application of the substantive law in prosecutorial decision-making.

Dissemination of Research

Some, though by no means all, of the Faculty's work is published in the Criminal Law Review, the leading peer reviewed journal in the field of which Professor Dennis is the Editor. The Review reaches a wide audience of criminal law and justice specialists (judges, practitioners, academics, policymakers etc) and is an influential force in practical as well as academic debates, both here and overseas. We have also given public lectures on our research interests where they would be of greater interest to practitioners and policy makers. In recent years Cheryl Thomas has spoken on her empirical research on juries, Ian Dennis delivered a lecture on developments in the law on hearsay, and Pascoe Pleasence has delivered his findings on the avilability of legal advice at police stations, all at events hosted by the Faculty's Centre for Criminal Law (which are free to students and academics).

Research and teaching

The Faculty`s expertise enhances its teaching activities too; indeed our LLM courses are designed to some significant extent to reflect our research interests. In 2012/2013, Professor Dennis and Dr Rogers will deliver a new full course on human rights and criminal process, which we believe will be invaluable to would-be practitioners.

The Faculty welcomes applications from potential PhD students. Anyone who wishes to enquire about the feasibility of a proposed area of research may contact either the preferred member of staff directly, or in case of doubt Dr Rogers who will advise on the most appropriate supervisor.