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Young People and Criminal Appeals (RDF20/BL/LAW/MCCARTNEY2)

  • Full or part time
    Prof C McCartney
    Prof R Arthur
  • Application Deadline
    Friday, January 24, 2020
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Project Description

This project will address the under-representation of young offenders among appellants at the Court of Appeal (Criminal) and CCRC applicants, examining the Court of Appeal processes and CCRC operations and young offender's motivations. The Court of Appeal provides no statistics on the age of appellants and there has been no prior research specifically looking at young people and appeals. Young people aged make up around 8% of the prison population, and yet the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC), estimate that between 1% - 3% of their applicants come from this age group.

This research will firstly establish how many young people are appealing their criminal convictions and/or sentences to determine whether the findings of the CCRC are indicative of a reluctance on behalf of young people to appeal their cases. The research will seek to understand what factors are acting as a barrier to young defendants when appealing their criminal conviction or sentence, and what involvement parents may have and if this involvement supports the young person in appealing. It shall also determine the extent that the court and legal or voluntary personnel can overcome any real/perceived barriers and what steps are taken to promote the young person's ability to understand their rights to appeal. It is critical, given what is already known about young people and their particularly difficulties within the criminal justice system, that this vital part of criminal process is clear and accessible to young people.

Eligibility and How to Apply

Please note eligibility requirement:

- Academic excellence of the proposed student i.e. 2:1 (or equivalent GPA from non-UK universities [preference for 1st class honours]); or a Masters (preference for Merit or above); or APEL evidence of substantial practitioner achievement.
- Appropriate IELTS score, if required.
- Applicants cannot apply for this funding if currently engaged in Doctoral study at Northumbria or elsewhere.

For further details of how to apply, entry requirements and the application form, see:

Please note: Applications that do not include a research proposal of approximately 1,000 words (not a copy of the advert), or that do not include the advert reference (e.g. RDF20/…) will not be considered.

Deadline for applications: Friday 24 January 2020.

Start Date: 1 October 2020.

Northumbria University takes pride in, and values, the quality and diversity of our staff. We welcome applications from all members of the community. The University holds an Athena SWAN Bronze award in recognition of our commitment to improving employment practices for the advancement of gender equality.

Funding Notes

The studentship is available to Students Worldwide where a full stipend, paid for three years at RCUK rates (for 2019/20, this is £15,009 pa) and full fees.


Prof McCartney is a Professor of Law & Criminal Justice in the School of Law and has written on miscarriages of justice, policing, and forensic science. She established an Innocence Project at the University of Leeds in 2005. She has written widely on miscarriages of justice, the Court of Appeal and the CCRC, and is a founding member of the international blog: She recently gave evidence to the Select Committee inquiry on the CCRC and has spoken widely about the operation of the CCRC, and the Court of Appeal.

Prof Ray Arthur is a Professor in Law and his research focuses on issues related to the delivery of justice for children and families. Recently he has published 3 books on this theme and numerous journal articles in international peer-reviewed journals such as Child and Family Law Quarterly, European Journal of Crime, Criminal Law & Criminal Justice, Family Law, Howard Journal of Criminal Justice, International Family Law, International Journal of Children’s Rights and International Journal of Sociology & Social Policy.

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