Colleges, School and Institutes
John’s research interests centre on criminal law theory, and particularly the internal structuring of offences and defences within the general part, where he has published widely.
Across a range of criminal law topics, John's research aims to bridge the divide between conceptual debate and doctrinal application; and to demonstrate how a greater theoretical understanding of the law can be translated into an effective counter to the global expansion of criminal proscriptions (ie, inappropriate or over-criminalisation). This includes work challenging whether certain wrongs are deserving of criminalisation (eg, his work on prior-fault; complicity; inchoate offences; etc), as well as defending minimum doctrinal requirements within the law from philosophical critique (eg, his work on the voluntary act requirement). John is regularly engaged in collaborative and interdisciplinary projects that allow him to gain different insights into a legal problem, as well as to produce more robust recommendations for legal reform. See 'Problem Solving in the Criminal Law'.
John has contributed to several law reform and review exercises, including:
- Law Commission consultations on Attempt; Conspiracy; Assisting and Encouraging; Intoxication; Bribery; Offences Against the Person; New Programmes of Law Reform;
- House of Common's Justice Committee - Post Legislative Scrutiny of the Serious Crime Act 2007;
- Cabinet Office - consultancy on corruption legislation.
John provides expert peer review for the Criminal Law Review; Oxford Journal of Legal Studies; Criminal Law and Philosophy; Legal Studies; Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy; and the AHRC (Peer Review College).
John has been at Birmingham since 2018. Prior to this, John held posts at Sussex Law School (2013-2018); Oxford Brookes Law School (2010-13); and the Criminal Law Team at the Law Commission for England and Wales (2007-8). John has held visiting positions at Boston University; the University of Birmingham; as well as the Max Planck Institute for Foreign and International Criminal Law in Freiburg. John is dyslexic (so please excuse the 'live' spelling), and grew up in a working-class family in Norfolk.
- PhD, University of Birmingham
- PGCert Teaching
Willingness to take PhD students
John is interested in doctoral candidates in criminal law doctrine and theory, comparative criminal law, and/or criminal law and neuroscience.
John's previous successful doctoral students include:
* Rachel Gimson, ‘Captured red handed: the impact of social media on the evolving concepts of the criminal defendant and the presumption of innocence’ - Completed in 2016;
* Stavros Demetriou, 'Anti-Social Behaviour and Civil Preventive Measures: Creating Localised Criminal Codes?' - Completed in 2017;
* Nicholas Sinclair-House, ‘Sentencing Intoxicated Defendants’ - Completed in 2018.