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Evolving global human rights


Jon Yorke


Research into the death penalty in the Centre for American Legal Studies (CALS) has raised awareness of issues around the death penalty, and influenced related policy and practice around the world.


Research undertaken by CALS has explored the theoretical and legal frameworks of capital punishment and the death penalty, and has situated these conceptual models in their historical and contemporary contexts both nationally and internationally. The work explores the following:

  • Historical and philosophical insights into capital punishment and the death penalty: our research in this area provides important insights into the cultural understandings, values and beliefs associated with capital punishment.
  • Policy research: the generation of meaningful and applied insights into capital punishment within contemporary policy and legislative contexts.
Who benefits

CALS has advised European Commission of the European Union, and reviewed the jurisprudence of the Council of Europe's European Court of Human Rights on the death penalty. This has informed the ongoing legal project to remove capital punishment in the European regions.

In addition, researchers in the Centre have advised on Amicus Curiae Briefs (Friend of the Court) for the protection of constitutional rights the United States, and the research has also benefitted activities, processes and understandings of legal organisations in the United States.

Find out more

Download the full impact case study submitted to REF 2014

Download the flyer for this research story (PDF)

"I can commend Dr Yorke's participation in FCO initiatives, both at the advisory, report writing and social outreach levels. His scholarship and understanding of death penalty issues are contributing to the work of the FCO in its initiatives for a world without the death penalty."

UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office