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Centre Updates

Latest Seminar

Previous Seminars
Previous Seminars
December 2017

Laura Smillie, PhD Candidate
‘Writing a case note’ 

October 2017

Dr. Hugh Koch
‘Brainstorming the Psychology of Law and Civil Justice’ 

September 2017

Stacey Hutchins and Dr Sarah Cooper
‘Medical Clemency in the United States: Our Study so Far’

July 2017

Nwanneka Ezechukwu
'Consumer Markets: Why regulate?'

June 2017

Friso Jansen
Sociology of law, public policy and medicine: interesting intersections and the case of medical guidelines’

April 2017

Sally Phillips (PhD Candidate) 
A New Model of Legal Claims and Judicial Decision-making in Shaken Baby Syndrome/NAHI Cases.

February 2017

Dr. Sarah Cooper
Writing a Monograph: Group Discussion/Feedback.


Collaboration between the Centre for Law, Science and Policy and Health, Education and Life Sciences faculty on realistic fitness to practice panel scenarios

Dr Friso Jansen in collaboration with Dr Sarah Cooper and academics from HELS has been awarded a small development grant to develop a range of realistic medical fitness to practice panel scenarios. This grant will be used to employ students across medicine and law to work collaboratively on creating case-files with an aim to involving students from both faculties in running an authentic fitness to practice hearing.

Centre members publish on forensic science

Centre members Amelia Shooter and Sarah Cooper have recently published an article on the impact of the National Academy of Science on the reporting on forensic science in judicial decision-making in the British Journal of American Legal Studies. This article can be read following this link: A Template for Enhancing the Impact of the National Academy of Sciences' Reporting on Forensic Science. 

Centre Director appointed Visiting Fellow at City University Hong Kong

Dr Sarah Cooper has been appointed as a 2021 Visiting Fellow at City University Hong Kong in China. Whilst in residence she will teach a module 'Introduction to American Criminal Procedure', including a focus on how forensic science is admitted and interpreted within the criminal justice system.

Professor Hugh Koch and Nkem Adeleye publish in expert witness journal

Visiting Professor in Law and Psychology, Hugh Koch, and BCU tort law expert Nkem Adeleye have published a medico-legal analysis of evidentiary issues in considering post-traumatic stress disorder. Their article can be read here.

Professor Hugh Koch works with European commission

Visiting Professor in Law and Psychology, Hugh Koch, has been appointed to act as an expert evaluator for the European Commission to adjudicate on a series of Mental Health in the Workplace research projects between April and June, 2019.

Dr Cooper presents at Governance of Emerging Technologies & Science conference in Arizona

Centre Director Dr Cooper presented the paper Promoting Interdisciplinary Thinking in UK-based Law Students at the Governance of Emerging technologies conference at Arizona State University, Arizona. This work has been developed as a result of the initiatives undertaken in the Centre, for Science, Law and Policy in engaging students of all levels in research.

Dr Cooper and Dr Jansen present at BCU research conference

Dr Cooper and Dr Jansen presented Interdisciplinary-working in the Centre for Law, Science and Policy: A Showcase of Innovative Projects at the BCU research and teaching conference in April 2019. In this presentation the development of the Centre was outlined at the interdisciplinary and creative ways in which law can work with and for the sciences was explored.

Collaboration with speech and language therapists and physiotherapists in mock fitness to practice panel scenario

Dr Jansen in collaboration with Jodie Bryant and Kiri Elliot from HELS has devised a scenario for a fitness to practice panel hearing. The aim of this scenario is to give students of physiotherapy and speech and language therapist a taste of the disciplinary process in front of the Health and Care Professions Council. To this end various students and staff members will fulfil the role of registrant, (character witness), presenting officer and panel chair. Students will be asked to observe and assess all the participants and prepare a reflection. The scenario will be played out in the Crown Court Room to make this look and feel as real as possible. This collaboration is a first step towards closer integration of students from HELS and Law with further opportunities to further deepening this collaboration in the future.

Successful West Midlands legal doctoral network event on building community and well-being

CfSLP members Laura Smillie and Dr. Jansen organised a successful event on wellbeing and building community as part of the west-midlands legal doctoral network. This event was well attended by both PhD students and staff from Coventry, Wolverhampton and Birmingham City University. An inspiring workshop on building resilience during the PhD was provided by visiting professor in Law and Psychology Hugh Koch, followed by a successful shut-up and write session.

Dr Cooper appointed Co-Site Director for Midlands 4 Cities doctoral training partnership

Dr Cooper has been appointed co-site director for the successful M4C Doctoral Training Partnership. Dr Cooper will be responsible for the assessment of M4C applications in the Midlands area and provide strategic direction to the collaboration between BCU and M4C. This strengthening of the links between the Law School and the M4C network will provide increased opportunities for PhD students to pursue project within the School of Law.

2018 News
West Midlands legal doctoral network funding for Laura Smillie and Friso Jansen

CfSLP members Laura Smillie and Dr. Jansen have received funding from the BCU Research Community Fund for a WMLDN event on wellbeing for PhD students. This event will be held at BCU and is aimed at PhD students from all members of the network.

Collaboration with BCU STEAMhouse

The Centre for Science, Law and Policy has started a collaboration with STEAMhouse phase 1 in Digbeth. STEAMhouse will provide a space for interdisciplinary and inter-faculty collaboration on innovation in the legal sphere.

Publication of study on juror certainty in assessing scientific evidence

The Centre Director Sarah Cooper in collaboration with Dr Páraic Scanlon have published the results of their research on the juror assessment of certainty about firearms identification evidence: Juror Assessment of Certainty About Firearms Identification Evidence, 40 U. Ark. Little Rock L. Rev. 95 (2017). Available via HeinOnline.

Papers accepted for the UBC Interdisciplinary Legal Studies Graduate Conference

Laura Smillie has been invited to present her paper ‘An Examination of Judicial Decision-Making in Vaccine Harm Cases in the United States’ and Alice Storey has been invited to present her paper ‘The United States’ Engagement with the UN Universal Periodic Review: A Case Study on the Death Penalty’ at the UBC Conference in Vancouver, Canada.

Papers accepted for the European Association of Physchology and Law conference

Dr Cooper and Dr Scanlon have been invited to present their paper ‘Applying Psychological Expertise to Challenges in the Legal Process: Exploring Juror Certainty for Disputed Expert Testimony’, and Dr Molloy has been invited to present a paper on ‘An Examination of Jurors’ Certainty of Guilt in Joint Enterprise Cases’, all at the EAPL conference in Finland. 

Dr Haydn Davies appointed Professor of Environmental Law

Dr. Haydn Davies a member of the Centre has been appointed professor of environmental law in recognition of his academic achievements in this field, as well as his ground-breaking work on the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015.

Outreach to public defenders office Phoenix, Arizona

Dr. Cooper was invited to address the Phoenix Public Defenders' Office in Phoenix, Arizona on February 1, 2018. Dr. Cooper provided an overview of her latest research with Dr. Paraic Scanlon, which examines - through psychological research methods - juror interpretation of expert evidence.

Case comment published in medical law review

Laura Smillie (PhD Researcher in Law at Birmingham City University); Dr. Mark Eccleston-Turner (Lecturer in Law at Keele University) and Dr. Sarah L. Cooper (Reader in Law at Birmingham City University) co-authored a case comment, which was published in November 2017, in the Medical Law Review.

The Case Comment critically considers the European Court of Justice’s decision in C-621/15 W and Others v Sanofi Pasteur MSD SNC [2017] ECR 1 in which W received an allegedly ‘defective’ Hepatitis B vaccine, manufactured by Sanofi Pasteur. W’s family initiated legal action against Sanofi Pasteur, claiming that the vaccine W received was defective, and that there was a causal relationship between the vaccine and W’s development of M.S. The authors argue that the ECJ’s decision in this case showcases a cultural conflict between law and science, and could potentially fuel growing vaccine scepticism in Europe.


Amelia Shooter invited to library of congress

PhD student, Amelia Shooter, has been invited to conduct research at the Law Library of Congress in Washington D.C. in Spring 2018. The Law Library hosts the largest common law collection in the world, and accessing the library’s wealth of resources will enhance her current research studying the impact of the National Academy of Sciences. Amelia is looking forward to participating in the research and scholarly programmes at the Library of Congress, as well as spending time collaborating with the Foreign Law Specialists.

Succesful grant application for members of the centre for law, science and policy

Jill Molloy and Paraic Scanlon have been awarded a Faculty small development grant (SDG) for a project entitled ‘Examining jurors' certainty of guilt in joint enterprise cases’. This grant will allow them to further develop this timely project building on earlier work in the Centre that dealt with the implications of the recent Supreme Court case R v Jogee which changed the law on joint enterprise.

New article by Dr Koch in expert witness

External partner, Dr Hugh Koch, has published an article ‘Impartiality of Expert Witness: Defining and measuring this construct’ in the Expert Witness Journal. This article breaks ground in the definition of neutrality of experts and lawyers by illustrating the types of bias that affect objectivity and impartiality and also offers a preliminary tool to measure expert impartiality. 

PhD student undertakes research in Ukraine

PhD student, Oleksandra Vytiaganets, has been to Kiev to collect empirical data for an article she is co-authoring with Dr Mavluda Sattorova. During the trip, Oleks interviewed public officials from legislative, executive, and judicial branches of the government. The article is related to the topic of Oleks’ PhD.

Undergraduate law student named BLSS research scholar

Third year law student, Sophie Brookes, has been selected as the BLSS Research Scholar for the School of Law in 2017/18. Sophie will work with Ms. Jill Molloy and Dr. Paraic Scanlon to investigate juror perception through a mock juror study related to in joint enterprise liability.

PhD student undertakes research in Ukraine

PhD student, Oleksandra Vytiaganets, has been to Kiev to collect empirical data for an article she is co-authoring with Dr Mavluda Sattorova. During the trip, Oleks interviewed public officials from legislative, executive, and judicial branches of the government. The article is related to the topic of Oleks’ PhD.

Centre for Law, Science and Policy appoints research associate for Medical Clemency project

The Centre for Law, Science and Policy has appointed Ms. Stacey Hutchins as a Leverhulme/ British Academy funded Research Associate to undertake research on medical clemency procedures across the USA. 

Stacey holds a LL.B (Hons) and a LL.M. in International Law: Crime, Justice and Human Rights (Distinction) from the University of Birmingham, and recently returned from working at the Texas Defender Service based in Houston, Texas.

Dr Haydn Davies elected as Vice Chair of UKELA

Dr. Haydn Davies, Head of the School of Law, and member of the Centre for Law, Science Policy, has been elected Vice Chair of the UK Environmental Law Association (UKELA). 

Professor Jon Yorke's latest research on the death penalty to be published in the Oklahoma Law Review

Professor Jon Yorke’s latest research, which critically examines the US Supreme Court’s decision in Glossip, will shortly be published in the Oklahoma Law Review. The article is build on themes Prof. Yorke discussed at his Inaugural Professorial Lecture, ‘Experimental Executions: Schrödinger’s Cat on Oklahoma's Death Row.’

The full citation for Prof. Yorke’s article is, ‘Comity, Finality, and Oklahoma’s Lethal Injection Protocol, 69 Oklahoma Law Review 4, 1-74 (2017).’

Dr. Hugh Koch publishes article in "The Expert Witness"

External Partner, Dr. Hugh Koch, has published an article ‘The Interface between Psychology and Law: Continuous Improvement in Claimant, Lawyer and Expert’s Experience’ in The Expert Witness.

The article provides an overview of avenues for future interdisciplinary research and scrutiny that could inform the civil justice system, focusing on the experiences of key stakeholders.

Dr. Hugh Koch is a clinical psychologist and has been a pioneer in civil litigation, developing the interface between psychology and law in civil cases. Dr. Koch is collaborating with the Centre for Law, Science and Policy to develop new research about the interface of law and psychology.

PhD students to present research at North East PGR Law Forum

PhD students, Amelia Shooter and Laura Smillie, have been invited to present their doctoral research at a popular PGR event at Northumbria University.

The theme of the conference is ‘Intersections between law and research: how legal research is being done and its impact.’ Amelia will be presenting a paper titled ‘Examining the Influence of the National Academy of Sciences in US Criminal Courts” and Laura a paper titled 'An examination of judicial decision making in vaccine-harm cases in the United States.'

PhD student publishes blog article in the USA

PhD candidate, Sally Phillips, has published a blog article in the USA about her doctoral research. Sally’s research focuses on the intersection of science and law in cases concerning Shaken Baby Syndrome/Abusive Head Trauma.

You can read Sally’s blog here.

Centre for Law, Science and Policy advertises Research Associate position for BA/Leverhulme project

The Centre for Law, Science and Policy is looking for a Research Associate to join the Centre to undertake a project examining medical clemency procedures in the USA.  The project is funded by the British Academy/Leverhulme.

Full details about the project and way to apply can be found on Manpower and Reed.

Postgraduates holding (at least) a 2:1 in a relevant discipline (such as law) are eligible to apply. Applicants holding a Masters and/or a PhD and who have knowledge of the US criminal justice system are particularly encouraged to apply.

Enquires can be emailed to

Centre for Law, Science and Policy awarded prestigious research grant

The Director of the Centre for Law, Science and Policy in the School of Law, Dr. Sarah Cooper, has been awarded a prestigious Research Grant by the British Academy/Leverhulme Trust for her ground-breaking research on American clemency procedures.

Her research project, ‘An Examination of Medical Clemency Procedures in the USA’ will collect data about all US state procedures that allow inmates use the clemency process in the event they are seriously or terminally ill. Dr. Cooper will write-up the project’s findings in a formal report to be shared with agencies across the USA, and which is scheduled to be launched in Arizona in 2018. The project will be supported by Katie Puzauskas, supervising attorney at Arizona State University’s Post-conviction Clinic.

Dr Cooper commented, “This is a fantastic opportunity to examine a very important issue in US criminal justice system. America has a large and aging prison population. This project ultimately aims to inform possible improvements to the legal and executive frameworks that support that population in the context of clemency.”

Mock juror study findings to be presented in Belgium

In May, 2017, Dr. Paraic Scanlon will attend the European Association of Psychology and Law Annual Conference in Belgium to present the findings of a collaborative research project between the School of Law and Department of Psychology at Birmingham City University.

The theme for the conference is ‘Breaking new grounds in Psychology & Law: Futuristic or imminent?’ Dr. Scanlon will present the findings his recent mock juror study undertaken with Dr. Sarah Cooper.

Centre director invited to Washington DC as Scholar-In-Residence

Dr. Sarah Cooper, has been invited to be a Scholar in Residence at the Law Library of Congress in Washington D.C., in 2017.

Whilst in Residence, Dr. Cooper has been undertaking research for her new book – Forensic Science in America’s Era of Innocence. The book, which is scheduled to be published in 2018, will examine how cultural tensions between the enterprises of law and science emerge when the criminal justice system uses certain forensic science disciplines to help solve crime.

The book will, in particular, discuss how the American Innocence Movement brought these tensions into sharper focus, and consider current and future initiatives for improving the relationship between law and science at this intersection. Dr. Cooper says the book will enhance the studies of many law students at Birmingham City University,

“The topic area of the book directly relates to classes students undertake on the American Legal Studies pathway on our LL.B programme. In particular, students studying American Legal Practice and American Criminal Procedure and Evidence will engage in the famous cases and legal principles examined in the book". You can read Sarah's full interview here.

Laura Smillie (PhD Candidate), ‘Writing a Case Note’