Dr Samantha Fairclough

Birmingham Law School

Contact details

Birmingham Law School
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT


  • LLB (Hons) Law with Criminology (University of Manchester)
  • MRes Criminology and Socio-legal Studies (University of Manchester)
  • PhD (Birmingham)


My interests lie mainly in the areas of criminal evidence law and justice, as well as criminal law and criminology. I take a socio-legal approach to the study of law. My current research focuses on the treatment of vulnerable court users giving evidence in criminal trials and how (whether) they are assisted to do so effectively.


  • Criminal Law
  • Criminology
  • Law in Action

Doctoral research

PhD title

The role of the principle of equality in the provision of special measures to vulnerable court users

(Fully funded by the ESRC)

Professor Richard Young
Law PhD / PhD by Distance Learning / MPhil / MJur


My research explores the role of the principle of equality in the provision of special measures to vulnerable court users.

Other activities

Links to the legal profession have been facilitated by CEPLER

Public Engagement and Impact:

  • IJEP article cited in The Advocate’s Gateway Toolkit 10 (January 2017).
  • August 2015: I was invited to present my research findings to the Law Commission in relation to their review of the law on unfitness to plead. My research has been cited in the impact assessment attached to their final report.
  • June 2015: Presentation of research findings at The Advocate’s Gateway International Conference: ‘Addressing Vulnerability in Justice Systems.’ Title: ‘Defendants and Live Link.’ Attendees included practitioners, policy makers and academics.

Funding bids:

  • CAL Postgraduate Development Fund, Team bid for PGR Conference. Awarded: £597.68 (March 2015)
  • ESRC studentship. (March 2013)

Conference Papers:

  • ‘Insights from practice: defendant use of special measures.’ Midlands PGR Conference, Birmingham Law School (May 2016)
  • ‘"Well you’ve committed a serious offence – you can’t be that vulnerable.” The conceptualisation of vulnerability and defendant use of special measures.’ Socio-legal Studies Association (SLSA) Annual Conference (April 2016)
  • ‘Assistance of vulnerable defendants in criminal trials.’ Midlands PGR Conference, University of Leicester (May 2015) (Best Paper Prize)
  • ‘Should/can defendants have equal access to special measures?’ Work-in-progress seminar series, Birmingham Law School (March 2015)
  • ‘Can we justify denying, or at least limiting, defendants’ access to special measures?’ Birmingham Law School PGR Conference (June 2014)
  • ‘Unequal justice? Examining the availability of special measures to defendant and non-defendant witnesses’ Criminal Justice and Human Rights: Dignity under Challenge Conference, University College Cork, Ireland (June 2014)

Conference organisation:

  • Birmingham Law School PGR conference: ‘Law’s impact in the Real World’ (June 2015). 14 papers delivered
  • ESRC Midlands DTC Conference, University of Birmingham: ‘Research Matters’ (June 2014). 28 papers delivered
  • Birmingham Law School PGR Conference: ‘Transcending Boundaries in the Law’ (June 2014). 26 papers delivered

Student Representative:

  • 2013 – 2015: Student Representative for ESRC funded students at University of Birmingham
  • 2013 – 2015: Student Representative for PGCARMS students
  • 2013 – 2014: Postgraduate Representative on Birmingham Law School Board of Postgraduate Studies


  • Multiple delivery of University outreach programme workshop: ‘Could you give evidence in court?’ (2014-15)
  • Assisted Dr. Malkani on the launch of the pro-bono project ‘Criminal Appeals Assistance Unit’ (2014-15)


Book chapters

  • (with Dr Imogen Jones, University of Birmingham), ‘The victim in Court’ in S Walklate (ed) Handbook of Victims and Victimology (8,000 words). Forthcoming: March 2017