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Dr Michael Naughton

Dr Michael Naughton

Dr Michael Naughton
BSc, PhD(Bristol)

Reader in Sociology and Law

Office 3.26
Wills Memorial Building,
Queen's Road, Clifton BS8 1RJ
(See a map)

+44 (0) 117 954 5323



Dr Michael Naughton has researched and written extensively on the concept of "miscarriages of justice" and the wrongful conviction and imprisonment of the innocent, drawing from the social thought of Michel Foucault and Zygmunt Bauman and the zemiological approach in his work.

He is the author or editor of four books: The Innocent and the Criminal Justice System (2013); Claims of Innocence: An introduction to wrongful convictions and how they might be challenged; (2011); The Criminal Cases Review Commission: Hope for the Innocent? (Editor, 2009); and, Rethinking Miscarriages of Justice: Beyond the tip of the iceberg (2007).

In addition, he has over 50 further publications in peer-reviewed academic journals, edited book collections, professional journals, broadsheet newspapers and official reports, many of which are freely available on his personal website:

In terms of the impact of his research, Michael has been invited to consult with Members of Parliament, Parliamentary Committees and criminal justice system policy makers at home and abroad and to give presentations to a host of other specialist conferences and events. This includes giving oral evidence on his 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 papers in the United States, China, Armenia, Italy, Norway and several in Ireland.

In addition, he has also given more than 40 invited presentations on issues relating to his academic research to public, professional and third sector conferences.

On a practical front, between 2005-2015 Michael was Founder and Director of the first innocence project in the UK dedicated to investigating alleged wrongful convictions – University of Bristol Innocence Project (UoBIP).  Under his supervision, student volunteers investigated alleged wrongful convictions on a pro bono basis, with input from criminal appeal lawyers and forensic experts where appropriate. The University of Bristol Innocence Project (UoBIP) contributed to the first ever case referrals by the Criminal Cases Review Commission (R v Hall, 20110) and the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (Beck v Her Majesty’s Advocate, 2013) back to the Court of Appeal (Criminal Division) and the High Court of Justiciary, respectively, following submissions/applications by a UK innocence project.

Between 2004-2015, Michael was Founder and Director of Innocence Network UK (INUK), which saw him facilitate the setting up, and support the subsequent running, of a total of 36 Innocence Projects in the UK dedicated to investigating and overturning wrongful convictions, like those that originated in the United States. In December 2014, Dwaine George’s conviction for murder became the first case overturned by an innocence project in the UK. It followed a referral by Innocence Network UK (INUK) to a member innocence project to follow up on identified lines of further investigation.

Michael has appeared frequently (over a hundred times) in the media on a range of criminal justice issues, including for 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, The Guardian, The Independent, The Times, The Telegraph. He has also been interviewed for newspapers and appeared on television and radio programmes in Norway, Armenia, South Korea, New Zealand, Australia and Ireland.

Awards and prizes for Michael's work include:

  • Bristol Law Society Annual Pro Bono Award – Winner [2012]
  • Attorney General’s Pro Bono Awards – Highly Commended [2007]
  • University of Bristol Public Engagement Award – Winner [2007]
  • Michael Young Prize – Runner-Up [2006]
  • Radical Statistics Group Critical Essay Prize – Runner-up [2002]


  • Criminology - (U/G Law, Unit Coordinator)
  • A Sociology of Crime and Justice - (U/G Sociology. Unit Coordinator)
  • Crime, Justice and Society - (LAW, U/G)

Supervision: Dr Naughton welcomes applications from promising PhD students in any of his teaching and research areas.

Selected publications

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Recent publications

View complete publications list in the University of Bristol publications system

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