Samantha Fairclough

Colleges, School and Institutes


Samantha graduated from the University of Manchester with a first class honours degree in Law with Criminology and a Research Masters in Criminology and Socio-legal Studies. She came to the University of Birmingham in September 2013 to complete a fully funded PhD. She was supervised by Professor Richard Young and Dr Imogen Jones (Leeds). Her doctoral thesis explored the role of equality in the provision of special measures to vulnerable and/or intimidated court users in Crown Court trials. As part of this project, Samantha conducted interviews with a sample of solicitors and barristers practising in Crown Courts. From these interviews, Samantha has the only data providing an insight into the use of live link and screens by defendants in criminal trials.

Samantha won the ‘Michael K O.Rourke Best PhD Publication Prize’ at the University of Birmingham in June 2017 for her article on defendants and the live link.

Samantha was made Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy in 2016.

Research interests

Samantha’s published work from her doctoral thesis has been cited by the Law Commission in their report on unfitness to plead, and in The Advocate’s Gateway toolkits on best practice for dealing with vulnerable participants in court. These toolkits have been endorsed by the Lord Chief Justice.

Samantha’s next project will look at the admissibility of bad character evidence in criminal trials for the prosecution and defence. This will draw on empirical data from interviews with members of the legal profession. She also plans to conduct further empirical research into the use of special measures in criminal trials and the attitudes of practitioners surrounding this.