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 the criminal 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 (Law & Philosophy, 2014; SSRN, 2013), 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). His latest paper, on the theory of the act-omission distinction in the criminal law won the 2020 award for the Best Paper awarded by the Society of Legal Scholars, and will appear in the journal, Legal Studies in March 2021. 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 which brought together judges of the Supreme Court, representatives of the Law Commission, representatives of the CPS, members of the bar, legal and criminological academic, representatives from the police, campaign groups, and students, to discuss 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 at Oxford University in May 2017, and further seminars were held at UCL in November 2017, Cambridge in April 2018; Oxford in November 2018; at the Criminal Cases Review Commission in Birmingham in May 2019; UCL in November 2019, and Cambridge in November 2020.

Teaching summary

Taught Modules:

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

PhD Supervision:

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

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


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.