- Member, The Pro-Bono Lawyers Human Rights Panel, Consular Assistance Department, Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office (FCDO), 2014-present
- Member, The Death Penalty Expert Group (a sub-group of the Foreign Secretary’s Advisory Group on Human Rights), Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), 2011-2016
- Founding Member, REPECAP: International Academic Network for the Abolition of the Death Penalty and Cruel Punishment, Madrid, Spain, 2009-present
- Consultant, Sudanese Human Rights Initiative, Khartoum, Sudan, 2015-present
- Trustee, Amicus, UK Death Penalty Charity, London, 2014
- Teaching Team Member: International Law and the Death Penalty, Amicus, 2006-present
- Journal Editor, Amicus Journal, 2004-7
- Editorial Committee, Amicus Journal, 2007-present
- Member, Society of Legal Scholars, 2018-present
- Fellow, Higher Education Academy, 2011-present
- Fellow, Centre for Criminology, University of Oxford, March 2019
- Honorary Research Fellow in Law, Birmingham Law School, University of Birmingham, June-September, 2008.
- External Member, Surrey European Law Unit, School of Law, University of Surrey, 2008-2015
- Founding Member and the Director, Centre for Human Rights, School of Law, Birmingham City University,
- Founding Member, Centre for American Legal Studies, School of Law, Birmingham City University
- Founding Member, Centre for Brexit Studies, Birmingham City University
Professor Yorke’s research and scholarship has been used to inform human rights regions, governments and nongovernmental organisations. He was a founding member of REPECAP (Network for the Abolition of the Death Penalty and Cruel Punishment https://www.academicsforabolition.net/en/), and his scholarship was translated into Spanish for the use of the team of advisors for the Spanish government’s death penalty abolitionist policies during the presidency of the European Union and in the government’s statements in the UN General Assembly in 2008 and in the Human Rights Council in 2010.
During the early formation of the policies for the European External Action Service (EEAS) and the mandate on the abolition of the death penalty for the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Vice President of the European Commission, Professor Yorke was identified as an expert in European law and the death penalty and he was appointed as a member of the panel which drafted the policies to strengthen the EU instruments against the death penalty. Following this in 2013, Professor Yorke and Dr. Christian Behrmann, Policy Officer for Global and Multilateral Issues of the EEAS, co-authored a leading article on the EU and the abolition of the death penalty.
In 2017, Professor Yorke’s scholarship on international law was recognised during his advice to the Myanmar National Human Rights Commission and his work on lethal injection in Oklahoma has been included in the Death Penalty Information Center’s resources on execution methods.
Since 2019 his research has informed the numerous Stakeholder Reports that the UPR Project at BCU has filed in different member state’s review in the UN Human Rights Council. His forthcoming research outputs will focus on how the theory of utopia can inform the modalities of the UPR.
Professor Yorke has advised human rights regions, governments, civil society organisations, and filed amicus curiae briefs on behalf of defendants in human rights cases.
As a member of the Pro-Bono Lawyers Human Rights Panel, the British government instructed Professor Yorke to compile the drafting teams for submission of the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland on behalf of the British National Linda Anita Carty, who was sentenced to death in Texas in 2002. He led the drafting of the UK government’s briefs in the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals (2014) and the Supreme Court of the United States (2017).
Within the Centre for Human Rights, numerous amicus curiae briefs have been filed in state and federal death penalty cases in the United States, and various constitutional issues have been engaged with including juvenile executions, methods of execution, fair trial standards, and the impact of Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder upon the moral culpability of a defendant. He was the international law advisor to the Sudanese Human Rights Initiative for the litigation in Sudanese courts and in the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights in the defence of the capital charges against Meriam Ibrahim in 2014.
Professor Yorke has advised National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs). In 2017, he was invited by the Myanmar National Human Rights Commission and the Asia Pacific Forum of National Human Rights Institutions to be the International Law Advisor and member of an Expert Group to draft a submission to the Myanmar government on the initiation of an official moratorium on the death penalty with a view to complete abolition. From 2020, Professor Yorke has been advising the Gambia Human Rights Commission on developing human rights initiatives for access to justice. This is a continuing project.
Within the BCU Centre for Human Rights, Professor Yorke has utilised Stakeholder Reports to provide continued assessment of human rights issues in the Universal Periodic Review. Selected examples include in 2016 and 2021 on Sudan’s application of the death penalty, access to justice, freedom of religion, and women’s rights, and in 2020 recommending Myanmar reinforce the initiatives that were put into place for the country to remove the death penalty. In 2021 a Stakeholder Report was filed in Papua New Guinea’s UPR focusing on the deficiencies of the state’s capital judicial process and the overall inhumanity of the punishment. This included those convicting of murdering people for the perception of witchcraft and the practice of sorcery. In 2022 the PNG government has announced that it intends to abolish the death penalty and this policy will be reviewed in the forthcoming UPR. For more information on The UPR Project at BCU please click here.
Professor Yorke has also utilised this expertise in the UN in the Human Rights Committee when in 2017 he submitted (with Dr Amna Nazir) an Expert Submission on the Draft General Comment on Article 6 on the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, on the right to life. In 2021 he submitted an Expert Submission to Ms. Mama Fatima Singhateh, UN Special Rapporteur on the sale and sexual exploitation of children, for her Call for Input for the report to the Human Rights Council in 2022. The submission focused upon the development of domestic and international legal strategies for combatting the human rights violations associated with forced, early and child marriage (CEFM).