UCL Faculty of Laws

Dr Tim Causer

Dr Tim Causer

Principal Research Fellow

The Bentham Project

Faculty of Laws

Joined UCL
1st Oct 2010

Research summary

Tim’s research interests include the life and thought of Jeremy Bentham, and the histories of convict transportation, crime and punishment, and colonial Australia. He is co-editor, with Professor Philip Schofield, of Panopticon versus New South Wales and Other Writings on Australia (2022) for the Collected Works of Jeremy Bentham. In addition to hitherto unpublished material which sheds light on debates around colonialism, the punishment of criminals, the operation of government, and Bentham's unsuccessful panopticon penitentiary scheme, the volume contains Bentham's hugely influential critique of criminal transportation to New South Wales.


He is co-editor, with Professor Margot Finn and Professor Schofield, of Jeremy Bentham and Australia: Convicts, Utility, and Empire (2022),a collection of essays exploring Bentham’s writings on Australia, and the author of Memorandoms by James Martin (2017),an edition of the earliest Australian convict narrative, the original manuscript of which is in UCL’s Bentham Papers. The Memorandoms is the only first-hand account of perhaps the most famous escape from Australia by transported convicts, that led by Mary and William Bryant in March 1791.


Tim’s current projects include, with Professor Schofield and Dr Chris Riley, the preparation of the final two volumes of Bentham’s Correspondence, and of ‘Auto-Icon; or, the Farther Uses of the Dead to the Living’, Bentham’s treatise on the utility of human remains.


Tim is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, and a member of the Advisory Board of the Menzies Australia Institute, King's College London.

Teaching summary

LAWS0051/0052: Jeremy Bentham and the Utilitarian Tradition (LLM)


University of London
Doctorate, Doctor of Philosophy | 2010
University of Aberdeen
Other higher degree, Master of Letters | 2006
University of Aberdeen
Other higher degree, Master of Arts | 2004


Tim joined the Bentham Project in October 2010, and was co-ordinator of the award-winning crowdsourced transcription initiative, Transcribe Bentham, until 2016. He also worked on the European Commission-funded tranScriptorium programme, which developed solutions for the searching, indexing, and full transcription by machines of historic handwritten manuscripts. From 2016 to 2019 was the researcher the AHRC-funded project, 'Convict Australia and Utilitarianism: Jeremy Bentham's Writings on Australia'.


Tim is a graduate of the University of Aberdeen (MA2004, MLitt 2006), and carried out his doctoral research at the Menzies Centre for Australian Studies, King’s College London, in which he focused upon the notorious Norfolk Island penal station, which operated from 1825 to 1855. He appeared, as a convict extra, in the 2008 ABC/BBC television drama The Last Confession of Alexander Pearce, based upon the true story of a group of convict absconders from the Macquarie Harbour in Van Diemen’s who ate each other to survive.