Research projects Law and Criminology Research Group

Our research teams possess a range of legal and criminological expertise which they apply to the research they undertake.

Staff members are currently working on a range projects across the law and criminology field.

Click above to see what we have been up to

Current Research

Gender and Violence

Dr Stacy Banwell is currently writing a monograph on Gender and the Violence(s) of war with Emerald Publishers. Drawing on historical and contemporary case studies, the violence(s) of war and armed conflict are explored through a gendered lens. Gender-based violence (GBV), committed by and against both sexes, within and beyond the conflict zone, are examined. The book explores the context in which war/armed conflict takes place, paying particular attention to: pre-war gender relations and local histories; gender and (sexualized) wartime violence; gender and the consequences of war/armed conflict, and gender and the global processes/polices that inform war/ armed conflict.

Disrupting Rape Culture

Alexandra Fanghanel's project offers a way of thinking about how to disrupt contemporary rape culture.  Transforming rape culture is not easy; it necessitates an overhaul in the ethics of the way in which we think and act in public spaces, including attending to the exclusions that everyone, in part, is complicit in enacting.

Recent publications on this theme suggest a praxis which opens up generative ideas about transgression and revolt and advances a transformative politics of the possibilities of living without rape culture. Themes of sexual harassment, sexualized pregnancy, sexualized protest and kinky sexual practice act as case studies.

Ghost Criminology

Michael Fiddler, alongside Travis Linnemann (Eastern Kentucky University) and Theo Kindynis (Goldsmiths University), is co-editing a collection entitled 'Ghost Criminology'. The text, currently due for publication in 2020, will see academics from across the discipline engage with the spectral, hauntological and necrotic aspects of crime, criminality and punishment. This draws upon Michael's on-going research project examining the gothic and uncanny within representations of the prison and beyond.

Protecting Education from Attack in Armed Conflict

Professor Steven Haines is legal consultant to the Global Coalition for the Protection of Education from Attack (GCPEA).  The Coalition consists of several Non-Governmental Organisations and United Nations agencies, including Human Rights Watch (HRW), Protect Education in Insecurity and Conflict (PEIC), Save the Children, UNICEF, UNESCO, and UNHCR.  He was the author of International Guidelines for the Military Use of Schools in Conflict that have been endorsed by over 80 states, launched at a diplomatic conference hosted by the Norwegian Government in Oslo in 2015. Importantly, the Guidelines have also been endorsed by a number of Armed Non-State Actors through the good auspices of the Swiss-based NGO Geneva Call. The Guidelines are already being reported as having an effect on military behaviour in conflict zones and the full impact to date will be assessed in a Review Conference to be hosted by the Spanish Government in Madrid in May of 2019. As a result of this work and other activities, Professor Haines joined Save the Children International's Civil-Military Advisory Board in 2017 and became its Chair in 2018.

Ocean Governance and Human Rights at Sea

Professor Haines is focusing the bulk of his research effort on aspects of Ocean Governance, with a particular focus on security and the maintenance of law and order at sea.  He is currently writing a monograph dealing with the development of Ocean Governance from the early-16th century onwards and into the 21st century, and is also editing a major Handbook on Ocean Governance.  Of particular interest to him is the enforcement of Human Rights Law on the oceans. There are roughly 40 million people at sea at any time, including professional mariners, fishers, workers on offshore installations, passengers embarked in cruise ships, as well as those involved in illegal activity, including the trafficking of people and economic migrants.  The Human Rights issues of most concern are those to do with people being trafficked and those employed in slave labour conditions, especially within the illegal fishing industry. Professor Haines is a Trustee of the NGO Human Rights at Sea ( www.humanrightsatsea.org). 

Disabled Witness Project

Louise Hewitt is currently leading the Disabled Witness Project which is seeking to demonstrate the need for a change in legislation for an offence of disability hate crime, and investigative strategies for effective policing of disability hate crime, with a view to creating recommendations for an inspection framework for police forces in England and Wales.

Louise is due to complete her PhD in December 2018, which examines the extent to which UN Security Council Resolution 1373 has altered the relationship between domestic and international law in the context of a developing legal framework to suppress and prevent acts of terrorism.

Corporate Criminal Careers: Environmental Offending

Ben Hunter is currently engaged on the research project Corporate Criminal Careers: Environmental Offending by Organisations. Funded by the Leverhulme Trust, and due to conclude in 2021, this project explores violations of environmental legislation in England between 2005 and 2015, where the violator is a company. One of the objectives of the project is to consider the utility of identifying longitudinal patterns of offending by organisations, the characteristics associated with repeat corporate offending, and whether it is appropriate to think in terms of organisations having a criminal career.

Ben Hunter's wider research interests include corporate crime, white-collar crime and desistance from crime.

Status' Dogs, media and public reactions

Dr Maria Kaspersson is researching different aspects of ownership of so called 'status' dogs and the Dangerous Dogs Act. One part of this project is called 'Dangerous Dogs or Dangerous News? Dog Bite Fatalities in the News' which investigates how dog bite fatalities are reported and how the reporting frame is providing very little relevant information by paying too little attention to context and focusing too much attention on breed. The second part of the project is called 'The Message of the Muzzle: A Study in Labelling' and considers the public's response to muzzled dogs and the powerful message of 'dangerousness' that the muzzle sends out.

Assessing Criminal Threats through Machine Learning

Dr Sarah Kilbane is currently heading a project to examine the effectiveness of predicting action from criminal threats using machine learning techniques. In the first instance the focus is on product contamination threats, with the scope to expand this to other threatening communications. This project involves collaboration between Dr Kilbane and her colleagues in the School of Computing and Mathematical Sciences, Professor Choi-Hong Lai and Kokulan Natkunam. The work has received internal funding from the University of Greenwich, with preliminary results having been presented at the European Association of Psychology and Law conference in 2018. Initial publications are expected in 2018-2019.

Possessory Titles and Adverse Possession

"Adverse Possession and the Transmissibility of Possessory Rights - The Dark Side of Land Registration?", Conveyancer and Property Lawyer, (2017), Vol. 81, pp. 116-131.

The article suggests the existence of a dark market in possessory titles which are kept off the land register because of the provisions of the Land Registration Act 2002 which discourage successful applications for registration of title based on adverse possession. The writer's thesis was tested by means of an empirical study of 200 conveyancing solicitors in England and Wales which confirmed the existence of a dark market in possessory estates.  In view of the findings, various recommendations for amendment to the 2002 Act were put forward which, given the Law Commission's current Consultative Document examining possible changes to the land registration system, would have a significant impact on future practices. The article also provided a detailed analysis of the current law on the doctrine of relativity of title and the transmission of possessory estates in land.

Landlord's Choice of Remedies on Tenant Abandonment

Professor Mark Pawlowski is currently conducting research into the choice of remedies available to a landlord whose tenant has informed him that he intends to vacate and stop paying rent despite his lease still having some time left to run. What options does the landlord have in these circumstances? Is he obliged to treat the lease as at and end? Must he now seek to re-let the premises regardless of the state of the rental market?  Can he accede to the tenant's demand and claim for loss of rent during the remainder of the term?  If so, is he under any obligation to mitigate his loss by taking appropriate steps to find a new tenant?  Mark Pawlowski's research involves summarising the current English law before examining the position in other Commonwealth jurisdictions which have favoured a different approach to the landlord's choice of remedies on tenant abandonment.  He also intends to obtain the views of a sample cohort of practising solicitors in England and Wales (specialising in commercial and residential landlord and tenant law) with a view to proposing some measure of reform of English law on the issues of tenant abandonment and repudiation

Critical Prison Pedagogies

The Inside Out Prison Exchange Programme: a formative process evaluation of prison education

Dr Camille Stengel and Dr Giulia Zampini will conduct a process evaluation of student experience of the Inside Out Prison Exchange Programme, the first of its kind in the UK. Known as Inside Out, this unique programme involves 15 undergraduate students learning alongside 15 incarcerated students in a prison setting. The project involves two prison-university partnerships: The University of Greenwich and HMP Downview, and the University of Kent and HMP Swaleside. The Greenwich evaluation at Swaleside is funded by the Peter Harris Trust. Contingent on funding, Kent will simultaneously conduct a process evaluation of Inside Out at Downview.

People and Dancefloors: narratives of drug-taking

Based on a participatory action research methodology, this project involves knowledge co-creation with two research partners, a film-maker and an activist, and with project participants, who will be invited to share their stories of drug-taking in social and music spaces. The project aims to provide a channel to voice drug users' experiences as a step towards opening the drug policy debate in the direction of a key affected community. The co-production of multimedia platforms including a film, a website and blog, and written academic outputs, will make it participatory and accessible beyond academia.

Early Career Researchers and Research Students

  • Francesca Gaunt, 'There's no place like home: crime, space and the domestic' (supervised by Michael Fiddler and Alexandra Fanghanel)'.
  • Victoria Mitchell, 'Maritime Security Cooperation in the Gulf of Guinea'.
  • Lamine Siari, 'Exclusive Flag State Jurisdiction on the High Seas and the Conduct of Maritime Security Operations'.

Law and Criminology Research Group is part of the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences, University of Greenwich.