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Non-Adversarial Criminal Practice NLS5

  • School: Nottingham Law School
  • Study mode(s): Full-time / Part-time
  • Starting: 2022
  • Funding: UK student / EU student (non-UK) / International student (non-EU) / Fully-funded


NTU's Fully-funded PhD Studentship Scheme 2022

Project ID: NLS4

Recent years have seen significant changes to the role of criminal lawyers across many common law jurisdictions. Shifts towards judicial case management, the ways in which evidence is gathered from vulnerable witnesses, and a proliferation of international standards in the area have fundamentally changed approaches to criminal advocacy. The conventional traits of the adversarial model of justice arguably sit uneasily alongside current emphasis on ‘best evidence’. These shifts have taken place against a backdrop of emerging new paradigms including restorative justice, specialised courts and therapeutic jurisprudence and changes to professional education. In light of these changes, key questions need to be addressed about the role of advocates in terms of changes to their cultures and occupational practices within the criminal process and how they are educated to fulfil them. This project provides an opportunity to further national and international discourse and to contribute to the consolidation of the fragmented field.

Indicative content may include:

  • The nature of contemporary criminal practice.
  • The impact of recent changes, including the expansion of special measures, the roll-out of Ground Rules Hearings, and recent case law from the higher courts.
  • The multi- and inter-disciplinary context of non-adversarial criminal practice, including insights from disciplines including psychology, sociology, criminology and law (including civil alternative dispute resolution).
  • Themes and concepts such as theories of practice, habitus, emotional intelligence and communities of practice.
  • Comparisons between different legal professions, including the Bar, legal executives and solicitors; between prosecution and defence or between different jurisdictions.
  • The extent to which professional education and regulation equip lawyers to demonstrate competence in non-adversarial criminal practice in this radically changing landscape. This might include, for example, the role of competence statements; vocational courses and assessments, work experience and/or continuing professional development.
  • Potential for reform of practice, education and/or regulation.

This project may lend itself to empirical and/or comparative research methods.

School strategic research priority

This project provides for cross-centre collaboration between existing areas of strength in the Centre for Rights and Justice and Centre for Legal Education and sustains cross-disciplinary activity across the Safety & Security of Citizens Research Theme.

Entry qualifications

For the eligibility criteria, visit our studentship application page.

How to apply

For guidance and to make an application, please visit our studentship application page. The application deadline is Friday 14 January 2022.

Fees and funding

This is part of NTU's 2022 fully-funded PhD Studentship Scheme.

Guidance and support

Download our full applicant guidance notes for more information.

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