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Criminal Law and Evidence

Criminal law and evidence research at Edinburgh Law School explores a range of criminal law and criminal justice areas.

Criminal Law image - Police tape

Members of the criminal law and evidence research area teach a number of courses across all levels of the undergraduate and postgraduate curricula, including:

  • Criminal Law (Ordinary); Evidence Law (Ordinary);
  • Criminal Law A: Harm, Offence and Criminalisation (Honours);
  • Criminal Law B: Doctrine and Theory (Honours);
  • Crime and Punishment in Enlightenment Scotland (Honours);
  • General Principles of Criminal Law (LLM);
  • Sexual Offending and the Law (LLM); and
  • Current Issues in Criminal Law (LLM).

Members of the research area also supervise a wide range of undergraduate and postgraduate dissertations, and doctoral theses. The research area delivers a specialist taught Masters (LLM) programme in Criminal Law and Criminal Justice, which focuses on concepts and theories underpinning criminal law and criminal justice, and how these operate in practice.

The team has particular areas of research expertise across a range of criminal law and criminal justice areas including: criminalisation and the parameters of the criminal law (Cornford); feminist perspectives on sex, gender and the criminal law, particularly sexual offences (Cowan); the relationship between criminal law, legal theory and legal history (Kennedy); intersection of criminal law and criminal process, and evidence (Maher); and the ethics of criminal justice, sentencing, and punishment (Watson).

We welcome applications from prospective doctoral students wishing to study in these areas.

Current research projects include: The Scottish Feminist Judgments Project (Cowan and Kennedy); Identity Deception: A Critical History (Kennedy); The impact of law on trans people (Cowan), The Use of Sexual History Evidence and ‘Private Data’ in Scottish Sexual Offence Trials (Cowan); Trans Inclusive Guidance for UK Museums and Galleries (Cowan); Justice and Wellbeing in the Criminal Court (Watson); Police Misconduct and Sentence Mitigation (Watson).

Grant Barclay, Early Career Fellow in Evidence and Criminal Law

Andrew Cornford, Senior Lecturer in Criminal Law

Sharon Cowan, Professor of Feminist and Queer Legal Studies

Chloë Kennedy, Senior Lecturer in Criminal Law

Khomotso Moshikaro, Early Career Fellow in Criminal Law and the Law of Evidence

Veronica Ruiz Abou-Nigm, Senior Lecturer in International Private Law

Gabrielle Watson, Chancellor’s Fellow

Victoria Gorton, Research Fellow in Criminology

Book Chapters

Andrew Ashworth, Principles of Criminal Law (1991)
Cornford, Andrew. Leading Works in Criminal Law. ed. / Chloë Kennedy; Lindsay Farmer. 1. ed. London: Routledge, 2023. p. 192-219 (Analysing Leading Works in Law). View chapter

Susan Estrich, Real Rape (1987)
Cowan, Sharon. Leading Works in Criminal Law. Ed, C Kennedy and L Farmer. London: Routledge, 2023. View chapter

Mind the Gap: Implementing ‘rape shield’ laws in Scottish sexual offences trials
Cowan, Sharon. New Directions In Sexual Violence Scholarship. Ed, K Gleeson and Y Russell. Taylor and Francis Group, 2023. p. 151-172. View chapter

The guilty plea and self-respect
Watson, Gabrielle. Sentencing the Self-Convicted: The Ethics of Pleading Guilty. Ed, Julian V Roberts; Jesper Ryberg. Oxford: Hart Publishing, 2023. p. 111-126. View Chapter

Feminist Jurisprudence, Administrative Justice and Asylum
Cowan, Sharon and Halliday, Simon. A Research Agenda for Social Welfare Law, Policy, Practice And Impact. Ed, Michael Adler. Edward Elgar Publishing, 2022. p. 213-228 View chapter

Edited collections 

Leading Works in Criminal Law
Kennedy, Chloë (Editor); Farmer, Lindsay (Editor). 1st ed. Routledge, 2023. 284 p. (Analysing Leading Works in Law). View collection

Journal articles

Sentencing Members of Minority Groups: Problems and Prospects for Improvement in Four Countries
Roberts, Julian V; Watson, Gabrielle, and Hester, Rhys. In: Crime and Justice. Online First. View article

Queer conflicts, concept capture and category co-option : The importance of context in the state collection and recording of sex/gender data
Collier, Ben; Cowan, Sharon. In: Social and Legal Studies, Vol. 31, No. 5, 01.10.2022, p. 746-772. View article

Beyond fair labelling: Offence differentiation in criminal law
Cornford, A. In: Oxford Journal of Legal Studies 28.05.2022 View article

Should ‘Gender Critical’ Views about Trans People Be Protected as Philosophical Beliefs in the Workplace? Lessons for the Future
Cowan, Sharon and Morris, Sean. In Forstater, Mackereth and Higgs, Industrial Law Journal, 51(1), 1–37, p.1-37. View article

Scottish Feminist Judgments Project
The Scottish Feminist Judgments Project re-imagines the processes and outcomes of judging from feminist perspectives.
Visit the Scottish Feminist Judgments Project website

Core Concepts in Criminal Law and Justice
A project on the foundation principles and concepts of Anglo-German Criminal Law and Justice, co-funded by the Göttingen Association for Comparative and International Criminal Law and Criminal Justice and the Fritz Thyssen Foundation.
Visit the Core Concepts in Criminal Law and Justice website

Centre for Legal History
The Centre for Legal History encourages the study of legal history with particular attention to Roman law and the broader civilian context.
Visit the Centre for Legal History website

Crime, Justice and Society Seminars
The Crime, Justice and Society seminars are a venue for research presentations and discussions on a broad range of topics, and takes up the remit of the former Centre for Law and Society for socio-legal scholarship.
View the upcoming Crime, Justice and Society Seminars 

Edinburgh Centre for Legal Theory
The Centre for Legal Theory combines an openness to diverse areas and styles of theoretical research with a deeply collegiate atmosphere.
Visit the Edinburgh Centre for Legal Theory website

Empirical Legal Research Network
The Empirical Legal Research Network serves as a nexus for those interested in empirical research and the study of law in society.
Visit the Empirical Legal Research Network website

GenderED is a virtual space to showcase excellence in teaching, research, and knowledge exchange and impact in gender and sexuality studies at University of Edinburgh, and to promote connectivity and interdisciplinarity.
Visit the GenderEd website

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