My research engages with sociological, legal and political issues and aspects of "justice" and "injustice" as those concepts centre on the workings of the criminal justice system and the stated primary aims of public protection and to protect the innocent in society by convicting those who are actually guilty of committing criminal offences. It has analysed existing, and contributed new, definitions of miscarriages of justice according to whether they were caused intentionally ("abortions of justice") or unintentionaly ("miscarriages of justice"); quantified the routine and mundane nature of miscarriages of justice as evidenced by official statistics of successful appeals against criminal conviction; distinguished the many causes (individual and structural) of injustice/miscariages of justice at the pre-trail stage (police and prosecution) and the extensive harmful consequences of wrongful convictions (social, psychological, physical and financial) to individual and secondary victims and society as a whole. It has shown the accute limitations and failings of the entire post-conviction system (appeal courts, prison and parole systems, CCRC and statutory compensation scheme) to address and/or remedy claims of factual innocence by alleged victims of wrongful conviction and imprisonment. In these analyses and critical evaluations, I have utilised the social thought of Michel Foucault and Zygmunt Bauman and the zemiological approach to frame the harmful consequences of miscarriages of justice and wrongful conviction and imprisonment.
I am currently researching alleged allegations of child sexual abuse.
I have over 50 publications in peer-reviewed academic journals, edited book collections, articles in professional journals, magazines, broadsheet newspapers and official reports.
In addition, I am the author or sole editor of four books:
The Innocent and the Criminal Justice System (2013, Palgrave Macmillan);
Claims of Innocence: An Introduction to Wrongful Convictions and How they Might be Challenged (2011, University of Bristol) (with Gabe Tan);
Many of my publications are freely avaiable on AcademiaEdu at:
To circulate my research, I have given over 20 refereed conference papers on my research at the conferences of all of the major academic associations in my field at home and abroad, including British Society of Criminology, European Society of Criminology, Socio-Legal Studies Association, Society of Legal Scholars, European Group for the Study of Deviancy and Social Control. I have also given invited presentations on my research findings at numerous other universities around the country for teaching programmes and staff seminar series.
Knowledge Transfer and Public Engagement
I have been invited to consult with Members of Parliament, Parliamentary Committees and criminal justice system policy makers domestically and internationally and to give presentations to a host of other specialist conferences and events. This includes giving oral evidence on my research to the UK Parliamentary Justice Committee, two invited presentations in the UK House of Commons, an invited presentation to the US. Department of Justice in Washington D.C., as well as several other invited consultations and conference papers in the United States, China, Armenia, Italy, Norway and several in Ireland.
In addition, I have given more than 40 invited presentations on issues relating to my work to professional, public and third sector conferences, including LawWorks (Solicitors Pro Bono Group), PILnet (Public Interest Lawyers Network), Association of Prison Lawyers, Parole Board of England and Wales, Independent Monitoring Board for Prisons, Law Society for England and Wales, South West, Law Society of Wales, Law Society of Ireland, Criminal Appeal Lawyers Association (CALA), Progressing Prisoners Maintaining Innocence (PPMI), Miscarriages of Justice Organisation (MOJO), United Against Injustice (UAI), Falsely Accused Teachers and Carers (FACT).
Impact of Research
Major impacts of my research include:
I have given over a hundred interviews to national and international newspapers television and radio programmes on issues relating to my research on the limitations and flaws of the criminal justice and criminal appeal systems and the Criminal Cases Review Commission as they relate to the causation or overturn of wrongful convictions including: The Guardian, The Independent, The Times, BBC 1, BBC Panorama, BBC Rough Justice, BBC News 24, ITV, GMTV, HTV, BBC Radio 2, BBC Radio 4, BBC Radio 5 Live, BBC World Service, and numerous local television, radio and newspaper interviews.
Awards and Prizes
I have received numerous awards and prizes for my research and wider activities including (1) Michael Young Prize, sponsored by The Young Foundation and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC); (2) Attorney General's Pro Bono Committee Award; (3) Bristol Law Society Award; (4) University of Bristol Engagement Award: and, (5) Radical Statistics Group Prize.
Reader in Sociology and Law with a split role accross the University of Bristol Law School and the School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies (SPAIS). BSc (Hons) in Sociology (First Class) (1996) and PhD in Sociology (2003) from the University of Bristol. Doctoral thesis was entitled: 'Miscarriages of Justice: Exception to the Rule?'. 2003-04, Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Sociology, University of Bristol. Appointed to a Lectureship at Bristol in 2004, progressed to Senior Lecturer in 2007 and was promoted to a Readership in 2012.
Coordinator of the following units:
I welcome proposals for PhD supervision in the general area of criminology, criminal justice and penology. I am especially interested in proposed research associated with any aspect of miscarriages of justice/wrongful conviction and imprisonment.
View complete publications list in the University of Bristol publications system
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