My research interests include criminal justice, human rights, gender perspectives and immigration and asylum law. In particular, I concentrate on effective reform of (1) the legal processes surrounding the law of rape and (2) the asylum process, particularly with regard to the treatment of women and children. My aim is to draw on my professional experience of working in the legal system to attempt to build bridges between academia and practice in these areas.
Criminal law - particularly feminist perspectives, penology and sexual offences
Immigration law - particularly feminist perspectives, issues relating to children and asylum issues
I currently teach Criminal law, Crime and Criminal Justice, Evidence and Immigration and Asylum law. I also have interests in prison law and human rights and have developed courses to reflect these interests. I contribute to courses on gender in the Law School and for the Part I in Women's Studies
I am currently the Director of Undergraduate Studies for the LLB and associated degrees.
The aims of my research to date have been to create bridges between academia and practice and to attempt to engage the legal community as a whole in a consideration of effective legal reform of the law on rape. I feel that I am in a unique position to do this as I have considerable experience of the operation of the law in practice. I also try to introduce feminist perspectives into mainstream legal debate. In general, I am researching criminal justice issues, including defences and consent, and the application of human rights law to life sentence prisoners and Foreign National Prisoners. My research focuses on gender issues in Criminal and Immigration law such as fairness to women defendants in relation to criminal defences, the inclusion of women in Refugee Convention definitions, sexual history evidence, and the new approach to issues such as consent in sexual offences. I have also written about children in immigration detention and have participated in workshops on this area.
Criminal law and Criminal Justice
Feminist perspectives on law
Human rights and civil liberties
Immigration law, particularly asylum, children's rights and feminist perspectives on Immigration law
Prison law and penology.
Conferences, Seminars and Papers Presented:
Personhood and Immigration Law presented at the 'Feminist Futures' conference at Brunel University in July 2011.
Participation in a workshop organised by the Richardson Institute on 'Forced Migration' on 20 October 2010.
Involvement in an AHRC funded 'The Future of Testimony' Project led by Antony Rowlands and Jane Kilby of Salford University. The paper prepared for the seminar looked at the issue of testimony in asylum appeal cases. The seminar 'Testimony and the Law' was held at the University of Lancaster on Friday 24th September 2010.
Making Difference Matter: Fitting Women into the Refugee Convention presented at the CLG conference in 2007
R v A and the Rape trial presented at the SLSA conference in 2004
Immigration law updates and prison law updates presented on occasion as a member of Garden Court North Chambers to solicitor groups for continuing professional development training.
Work in Progress:
Children and the asylum process
Foreign National Prisoners and Deportation
Women and the Refugee Convention: The use of personhood
Youth Justice and Youth imprisonment - in transition
Other relevant information:
Invited on two occasions to peer review ESRC major research grant applications in relation to projects concerning gender related aspects of asylum and immigration law and women prisoners.
Originally, I worked as a nurse in the NHS and studied law at Lancaster as a mature student. I was an Erasmus Scholar at the University of Trier, Germany and Maastricht, the Netherlands during my year abroad and was chosen to represent Lancaster University and present a paper as a student in my final year at a conference on the Future of the European Union at Uppsala University in Sweden. I graduated from the European Legal Studies Degree with First Class Honours.
I was then a Middle Temple Scholar on the BVC at the Inns of Court School of Law, London and completed pupillage at 6 King's Bench Walk and Doughty Street Chambers in London. After pupillage, I worked as a barrister at Garden Court North Chambers in Manchester from 1996. My areas of practice included criminal defence, prison law, immigration and asylumlaw and inquests.
In 2000 I returned to Lancaster part time and completed an LLM in Socio-legal studies, which was awarded with distinction. The title of my dissertation was "Policing the Boundaries: Women, Rape and the Law". Whilst working as a barrister and completing my masters, I was also a part time lecturer from 2000 on Law 101, 103 and 297. I joined Lancaster as a full time lecturer from September 2003, although I am still a member of Garden Court North Chambers and I maintain my contacts with the Bar.
I am the staff convenor of the Innocence Project at Lancaster. This is a student led project focusing on the study of wrongful criminal convictions, with a view to referral back to the Court of Appeal via the CCRC. The idea started in Cardozo Law School in the US and has spread to Canada, Australia and the UK. IPs are now established at a number of UK Universities and a national Innocence Network (INUK) has been set up in the UK. Students are involved in investigating real criminal cases. They are supervised by academics and work in conjunction with practising lawyers. Assistance is provided pro bono to prisoners who maintain their innocence and have exhausted their appeal rights.
Student education or training is the main focus of the IP and it provides the opportunity for students to gain experience in areas such as critical thinking and analysis, case management, fact finding and other skills such as collaboration, teamwork and presentation (oral and written). These skills are now in demand amongst students and increase employability as well as enhancing/building upon skills learnt on other courses. The IP also provides “unique enterprise opportunities” in the law curriculum. In common with other UK Projects, the Lancaster University Innocence Project has stimulated team working, encouraged students to ‘think outside the box’, required student liaison with legal professionals, insisted the students deal with one another in a professional manner, demanded problem solving, creativity and strategic thinking, unearthed untapped reserves of motivation, altruism and initiative, developed communication skills and persuaded the students that they can have influence, power and passion.
Research output: Contribution to conference › Conference paper