Criminal Justice and Human Rights

Centre for Criminal Justice and Human Rights

About us


The Centre for Criminal Justice and Human Rights is a focal point for criminal justice and criminological research at City, University of London. Reflecting its interdisciplinary approach the Centre of Law and Criminal Justice includes members from across the University including The City Law School, the School of Policy and Global Affairs, the School of Health & Psychological Sciences and Bayes Business School.


Our aim is to drive a progressive agenda for change that is grounded in multi-disciplinary research but also in the experiences of lawyers, police, prosecutors, judges and all those with lived experience of the criminal justice system. We do this through five key frameworks:

  • Analyse – through rigorous scholarship we measure the scale of the crisis and investigate its most pressing issues
  • Reform – to provide a platform for researchers, practitioners and the sector to use our co-created understanding of the issues to  advance criminal justice reform
  • Activate – to raise awareness of criminal justice issues by centring  and giving a voice to those with lived experience and knowledge of the criminal justice crisis
  • Connect – to combine a practical with a research based approach thus allowing theory to inform policy and practice
  • Communicate – to share research findings, practical perspectives and specialist knowledge whether practical or policy based through  publication, conferences, seminar series and workshops


We bring together key voices (researchers, practitioners, policy makers campaigners, citizens) from the criminal justice sector and from academia nationally and internationally.

Through cutting edge scholarship we advance national and comparative research investigating the most pressing issues in criminal justice. Our ethos is at once practical and research based – we believe that allowing theory to inform policy and practice is a route to meaningful criminal justice reform.

We organise seminars, workshops, public lectures and conferences to share research findings and promote perspectives that are at once practical and specialist.

We welcome collaboration – prospective students, visiting faculty, campaigners and concerned citizens are welcome to join us in transforming criminal justice.

Advisory board

Dr Aldo Zammit Borda (Co-Director)

Dr Aldo Zammit Borda is a Reader in Law at City, University of London. He previously served as Director of the Centre for Access to Justice and Inclusion at Anglia Ruskin University. His research focus lies in the area of International Criminal Justice.

Alexia Zimbler

Alexia Zimbler is a Senior Lecturer in Law and Assistant Dean for Student Recruitment (Postgraduate and Professional Programmes) at City Law School.She practised at the bar for 25 years, specialising in Criminal Law, Advocacy and Vulnerable Witnesses.

She started her practice on the Western Circuit at 2KBW, then to Broad Chare (now Dere Street) Chambers in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, before returning to the South-East where she continued to practice, specialising in criminal defence work at the highest level. She also practiced Family Law specialising in Public Law children cases.

Professor Andrew Choo

Andrew Choo is Professor of Law at The City Law School. His research interests include evidence and procedure, especially criminal evidence. His published work has been cited in decisions of various appellate courts, including the House of Lords, the UK Supreme Court, the Privy Council and the Supreme Court of Canada.

Dr Cassandra Wiener (Co-Director)

Dr Cassandra Wiener is an Academic in Law at The City Law School. She is passionate about domestic abuse law reform and regularly acts as advisor to the Home Office and the Domestic Abuse Commissioner's office, among others. She played a key role in the drafting of the Domestic Abuse Act 2021, successfully campaigning for a clause enhancing the criminal law protection of survivors of coercive control.

She is regularly consulted by governments and activists around the world who are considering following the UK's lead and criminalising coercive control, most recently appearing before the Parliamentary Joint Select Committee on Coercive Control in New South Wales, Australia.

Professor Emmeline Taylor

Professor Emmeline Taylor is a professor of Criminology and nd Associate Dean (Research and Enterprise) in the School of Policy and Global Affairs. nd Associate Dean (Research and Enterprise) in the School of Policy and Global Affairs. Emmeline has completed empirical research in a number of sociological and criminological areas including; surveillance and the societal impact of new technologies, armed robbery, residential burglary, retail crime, crime and security in education, and several evaluations of criminal justice initiatives in England and Australia.

Professor Eugene McLaughlin (Co-Director)

Professor Eugene McLaughlin is Professor of Criminology at City, University of London. His current research concentrates on: the policing challenges of multi-pluralist, risk societies; the news-media, crime and criminal justice policy; the politics of law and order and new developments in criminological theory

Dr Gemma Birkett (Co-Director)

Dr Gemma Birkett is a senior Lecuturer in Criminology at The City Law School. As such, she has extensive experience of working on criminal justice consultations and legislation, speech-writing and briefing on political issues. Gemma continues to undertake research and consultancy work for several criminal justice charities.

Dr Jessica Corsi

Dr Jessica Corsi is a Senior Lecturer for the School of Policy and Global Affairs at City, University of London. Jessica's work focuses on how the law can prevent and alleviate violence and foster substantive and transformative equality. Her approach spans public international, regional, and domestic law, and combines theory, data, traditional legal research methods, and social science research methods.

Dr Jonathan Ilan

Dr Jonathan Ilan is Senior Lecturer in Criminology at City, University of London. He has a strong interest in ethnographic research methods, providing advanced training internationally. He also keenly follows and contributes to debates in Cultural Criminology. He is a member of the editorial board of the British Journal of Criminology.

Professor Peter Hungerford-Welch

Professor Peter Hungerford-Welch is a Professor Law and Associate Dean at The City Law School.His teaching includes modules on the Bar Vocational Studies (BVS) and Master of Laws (LLM) programmes, and supervision of dissertations on those programmes. He is a regular contributor to the Criminal Law Review and is the Cases Editor for that journal.

PhD Network

Hannah Manzur

Hannah Manzur, Department of Sociology

PhD project: Hannah's research explores the relationship between Gender, Violence and Brexit, focusing on the impact of Brexit on rates of and responses to violence against women and girls in the UK.

Lynne T

Lynne Townley,  The City Law School

PhD project: Defining ‘Honour Crime’ in criminal justice policy and practice in England and Wales. Supervisory team: Dr Mara Malagodi and Professor Andrew Choo

Sahar Sadoughi

Sahar Sadoughi,  The City Law School

PhD project: Old Court, New Crimes: The International Court of Justice and the Adjudication of Mass Atrocity Crimes' Supervisory team: Dr Mauro Barelli and Dr Andrew Wolman

Muhammed THM

Muhammad Tanvir Hashem Munim, The City Law School

PhD project: The International Criminal Court (ICC) and Universal Jurisdiction: The role of the ICC and its complementarity regime in promoting domestic exercise of universal jurisdiction by states for core international crimes. Supervisory team: Dr Aldo Zammit Borda and Dr Andrew Wolman

 Aminah Karim

Aminah Karim, The City Law School

PhD project: Aminah’s thesis explores the atrocities committed during Bangladesh Liberation War of 1971 and why such atrocities were not identified as a formal genocide by the international community. Supervisory team:  Dr Grietje Baars and Dr Jed Odermatt


Sofoklis Giannakoulakos, Department of Criminology

PhD project: “The Feeling of being watched all the time”: Technology facilitated abuse experiences among gay and bisexual male victims of same sex intimate partner violence. Supervisory team: Professor Katrin Hohl and Dr Gemma Birkett

Francesca S

Francesca Stevens, Department of Criminology

PhD project: Online harms in the workplace: Understanding victims’ experiences of cyberbullying in the context of COVID and the rapid move to remote working. Supervisory team: Dr. Carrie Myers and Dr. Gemma Birkett.

Santosh Anand

Santosh Anand, The City Law School

PhD project: The Concept of International Crime under International Law: A Third World Approach to International Law Critique. Supervisory team: Dr Grietje Baars and Dr Mazen Masri


Upcoming Events

31st May 5-7pm

Book Launch: Cyberbullying and Online Harms Preventions and Interventions from Community to Campus

Dr Carrie-Anne Myers (City) and Professor Helen Cowie (Surrey)

More details and registration here

CLSB atrium foyer (TG27), City Law SchoolBook Launch

Past Events

17th May 2023 9-5pm

Police Misconduct and Violence Against Women and Girls: Exploring Research and Practice

A 1-day conference hosted by City University, the British Society of Criminology Policing Network, and the British Society of Criminology Women, Crime and Criminal Justice Network

More details and registration here

C303, Tait Building, City UniversityPublic conference
13th January 2023, 9:30am - 4:30pm Current Issues in Sentencing Policy and Research TLG11/Foyer The City Law School Building, Sebastian Street All day Seminar
14th March 2023 6pm

Criminal Justice in Crisis

Baroness Helena Kennedy

More details and event registration here

TLG11/Foyer The City Law School Building, Sebastian Street

Public Lecture
23rd March 2023 5:30 pm

Coercive Control and the Criminal Law

Dr Cassandra Wiener

More details and event registration here

TLG11/Foyer The City Law School Building, Sebastian StreetBook launch
24th March 2023 4pm

Investigating Gender-Based Crimes and Crimes Against Children Committed by ISIL – A field practitioner’s perspective

More details and event registration here

T603 (Boardroom), The City Law SchoolLecture


Police Misconduct and Violence Against Women and Girls conference - 17th May 2023

Last week, we were thrilled to host the well-attended Police Misconduct and Violence Against Women and Girls conference, supported by City's Department of Sociology and Criminology and the City Law School in conjunction with the British Society of Criminology and the University of Essex. Guest speakers were drawn from the police, campaign groups, academia and think tanks, and presented research findings on the most pressing issues in policing as well as considering a range of new policy initiatives.

Some key themes and concerns to emerge from the day were around the urgent need to change the culture of silence that enables perpetrators of sexual and domestic violence to continue their harmful behaviour. Speakers also highlighted that whilst reforms to vetting and misconduct are necessary, they are not enough by themselves. A broader shift in culture and attitudes is ultimately what’s needed. Other discussions flagged the challenges and opportunities posed by the expansion in policing numbers, and the massive uplift in young recruits which now requires effective leadership on the ground. Finally, discussions highlighted the need to acknowledge and address the special risks associated with elite secretive units such as firearms, covert policing, and counter-terrorism. We’d like to thank all speakers and attendees for contributing to such a generative day of conversations.

New Name: Centre for Criminal Justice and Human Rights (CJHR)

During Dame Helena Kennedy’s lecture to launch the Centre of Law and Criminal Justice, she discussed two key shifts in her thinking about criminal law, criminal justice and civil liberties. The first shift was a result of engaging with the work of feminist criminologists and the second was coming to recognise the significance of championing civil liberties and justice through the promotion of human rights. She also discussed her concerns about the perilous state of civil liberties, human rights and social justice globally. It became obvious to us that including human rights in the remit of the centre would enable us to think differently about criminal justice and to foreground the international justice and rule of law dimension of the centre’s work. In addition, it opens up the centre to interdisciplinary collaboration with colleagues who might not conceive of themselves as being interested in matters of criminal justice.

Our Centre Co-Director, Dr Cassandra Wiener launches her important book before a gathering of survivors, activists, criminal lawyers, policy makers and practitioners

The launch of Dr Cassandra Wiener’s new book, Coercive Control and the Criminal Law (Routledge) took place in the City Law School building on 23rd March 2022. The recognition of coercive control as a particularly insidious and dangerous form of domestic abuse has been relatively recent, and England and Wales have led the way by being the first jurisdiction in the world to make it a criminal offence. Dr Wiener, Senior Lecturer in The City Law School whose research expertise is in the criminalisation of coercive control, says:

“My book is a review of this important step and I wanted it to mark this as a significant moment for survivors, activists, criminal lawyers, policy makers and practitioners all of whom were well represented in the audience.”

Dr Wiener was joined by speakers Emeritus Professor Evan Stark, David Challen and documentary filmmakers Rosie Jarvis and Annie La Vespa, as well as an audience of specialists and non-specialists, voluntary sector activists and survivors, and also academics and policy makers. The evening was followed by drinks and Antonia (Amja) Lee Wilmot's art exhibition ‘Healing with Creativity’ which was beautifully laid out in the CLS building’s atrium.

Dr Wiener is hopeful that the book with be used as a resource by those who can effect change in intervening into the cycle of violence against women and girls.

Baroness Helena Kennedy as the Centre of Law and Criminal Justice Patron!

Following the Centre of Law and Criminal Justice's successful launch last month, we are both thrilled and honoured to announce that Baroness Helena Kennedy has agreed to be our Patron! With Helena’s shared enthusiasm to bring lawyers, criminologists, campaigners and practitioners together to generate substantive, cutting-edge contributions to criminal justice research, scholarship and practice, Helena has offered to formalize her support for our Centre in this way. We would like to thank Helena for her invaluable support and contribution,  and are looking forward to updating her with our developments over the coming months.

The Centre of Law and Criminal Justice is also now in the process of establishing an Advisory Board to work with the Co-Directors to develop the strategic direction for the Centre in its important work ahead. As part of this, the CLCJ will invite key people from the sector, from the judiciary, the bar and the criminal justice policy arena to serve on our advisory board for high level strategic input.

Centre of  Law and Criminal Justice Launch Event

Dame Helena Kennedy speaking at an event.

On Tuesday 14th March we were thrilled to celebrate our launch with an inaugural address by Baroness Helena Kennedy KC, one of Britain's most distinguished lawyers. After an introduction from the Dean of The City Law School, Professor Richard Ashcroft, Kennedy went on to highlight the contemporary challenges facing the criminal justice system. Kennedy raised great concerns about the devaluing of public service, the dismantling of the professions and the widening inequality gap – and pointed out how this feeds into and is important for the criminal justice reform debate. Baroness Kennedy praised the way the Centre for Law and Criminal Justice seeks to bring criminal lawyers (academics and professionals) together with criminologists because she noted that in the quest for meaningful criminal justice reform, the sum is much more effective than the parts. She also recognised that the human rights/criminal justice nexus has never been more important, or more under threat than in contemporary society, emphasising the urgency for more criminal justice activism (both nationally and internationally). We want to thank Baroness Helena Kennedy for providing such illuminating words, which in effect, form the basis of our manifesto and work as a criminal justice centre. Read more about the Centre of Law and Criminal Justice Launch

Other related news

On the 6 March 2023, our Co-Director Dr Aldo Zammit Borda, was an invited expert at a meeting  on Justice for the Daesh Atrocities: The Need for Comprehensive Responses . This event took place at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, as a side event to the 52nd session of the United Nations Human Rights Council. Read more about this event and it's outcome here