UCL Faculty of Laws

Dr Mark Dsouza

Dr Mark Dsouza

Associate Professor

Faculty of Laws


Joined UCL
1st Sep 2016

Research summary

Dr Dsouza’s principal research interest is in the theory and philosophy of thecriminal law. His doctoral thesis was converted into a monograph titled Rationale-Based Defences in Criminal Law, and published by Hart Publishing in May 2017 (Reviewed in the MLR and Criminal Law & Philosophy). In it, Dr Dsouza suggests a new account of the various types of rationale-based defences in the criminal law, and offers suggestions as to how they should be understood, interpreted, and applied. He has published in peer reviewed journals on topics like the theoretical foundations of consent in the criminal law (Modern Law Review, 2022; Law & Philosophy, 2014; SSRN, 2013, re-uploaded 2020), the supposed duty to retreat before using force in self-defence (OJLS, 2015), culpability in the criminal law (King’s Law Journal, 2015), accessorial liability (UCL JLJ 2019), and corporate criminal law (Cambridge Law Journal). He won the 2020 award for the Best Paper awarded by the Society of Legal Scholars for his paper 'Beyond Acts and Omissions: Remark-able Criminal Conduct', on the theory of the act-omission distinction in the criminal law. This paper now appears in the March 2021 issue of the journal, Legal Studies, and a companion piece titled 'Against the Act/Omission Distinction' appears in the Northern Ireland Legal Quarterly (2022). Additionally, he has written case comments for the Cambridge Law Review and Archbold Review and his essays on the legitimacy of the death penalty and on artificial intelligence and substantive criminal law have appeared in collections of essays published in 2018 and 2020.  

Dr Dsouza is also keenly interested in the doctrinal law relating to inchoate and accessorial liability. He co-organised a conference in September 2016 on the Supreme Court’s judgement in R v Jogee & Ruddock (2016) and more generally, the law on accessorial liability.

In November 2018 he delivered an invited lecture to the Criminal Bar Association's Annual Seminar on 'Developments in Substantive Criminal Law Defences'. He is part of the Criminal Law Reform Now Network's team working on proposing reforms to the law of Consent and Deception.

Dr Dsouza co-organises the Assize Seminar Series in Cutting Edge Criminal Law. The inaugural seminar was held in May 2017, and the seminar has run biannually (with one exception due to the covid pandemic) ever since.

Teaching summary

Taught Modules:

Criminal Law (Course Convenor), Jurisprudence, Philosophical Foundations of the Common Law

Dr Dsouza won the UCL EXALT Award for Excellence in Law Teaching in 2019.

PhD Supervision:

Dr Dsouza welcomes approaches for supervision of PhD candidates in the theory, philosophy, and doctrine of criminal law.


University of Liverpool
Other Postgraduate qualification (including professional), Certificate in Professional Studies | 2016
University of Cambridge
Doctorate, Doctorat | 2014
University of Cambridge
Other higher degree, Master of Laws | 2009


Dr Dsouza took his undergraduate honours degree in arts and law (First Class) from the National Law School of India University, Bangalore, India, and was awarded a gold medal for legal ethics. He then worked as a commercial litigator in New Delhi for a total of almost 5 years. In 2009, he gained an LLM (First Class) from the University of Cambridge, where, although he specialized in commercial laws, he also secured a first class score in a module on the Philosophy of Criminal Law. This module provided the spark for his doctoral research proposal to study the philosophy of criminal law defences at the University of Cambridge. He was awarded a Cambridge International Scholarship for this doctoral research, which he completed in 2014.

Dr Dsouza accepted his first full-time lectureship at the University of Liverpool in 2013, and moved to UCL in 2016. He won the UCL EXALT award for Excellence in Law Teaching in 2019, and the SLS Best Paper award for 2020.