Professor Carol Jones (nee Boyle)

Professor Carol Jones (nee Boyle)

Birmingham Law School

Contact details

Birmingham Law School
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Professor Jones’ areas of expertise lie in (i) law and society in Hong Kong and China; (ii) socio-legal studies; (iii) the history of UK criminal justice; and (iv) law and colonialism.


Professor Jones gained her undergraduate and Masters’ qualifications from the University of Cambridge. She  began her PhD under the supervision of Anthony Giddens at the Department of Social & Political Sciences, Cambridge, but completed it under the supervision of Dr. Doreen McBarnet  at the Centre of Socio-Legal Studies, Oxford.  

After  a spell teaching in various state comprehensive schools, Professor Jones returned to academia as a Research Fellow at the University of Edinburgh, Faculty of Law, where she taught the Masters in Criminology, and  the undergraduate Legal Process course. At the same time, she undertook a number of funded research  projects for the Scottish Government, the Scottish Consumer Council, and the Scottish Council for Civil Liberties.  Professor Jones  has since worked at a number of institutions, including the University of Hong Kong, the University of Cardiff, the City University Hong Kong, the Australian National University, and the American Bar Foundation.

At the University of Hong Kong Professor Jones developed a Masters in Public Order and taught on the Master’s course in Criminology, whilst also advising on a number of empirical research projects. These included the issue of court delay as well as a ‘paths to justice’ Hong Kong study. Her path-breaking work on  the  male-only ‘small houses’ policy in the New Territories formed an important part of the Hong Kong Council of Women’s submission to the UN on women’s rights in the territory,  leading to heated social mobilisation around this issue.

Whilst in Hong Kong, Professor Jones also undertook research for Save the Children Fund (on female infanticide in China). She was one of the first academics to study the post-Mao development of the legal profession in China. She has continued to undertake empirical research in China on the legal profession and the Chinese criminal justice system.  At the City University of Hong Kong, she chaired a Committee on the Reform of Legal Education in Hong Kong and presented evidence on the issue to the Hong Kong Legislative Council. 


Professor Jones’ current research looks at Detention without Trial in the Cold War Era in Hong Kong (utilising materials from the Hong Kong Public Records Office and the National Archives at Kew, UK), as well as  the rule of law in China and Hong Kong. She has also prepared research proposals for socio-legal empirical projects on Litigants in Person in Hong Kong, and Criminal Justice in China (with Mike McConville et al). 

Other activities

Professor Jones is on the editorial board of Law & Policy, having previously been a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Law & Society. She was invited to act as a Trustee of the American  Law & Society Association,  and has helped to develop the East Asian wing of the Association, which held its inaugural conference at the University of Hong Kong. She has participated in international seminars at the Onati Institute, the Asian Studies Association, the ABF in Chicago, and the East Asian Studies Institute at the University of Madison at Wisconsin. She is a member of the Socio-Legal Studies Association (where she has developed a stream on Law and Colonialism), the British Society of Criminology, and various East Asia-focussed research groups. 


Professor Jones’ first book (Expert Witnesses: Science, Medicine and the Practice of Law (1994 Clarendon), was  the joint winner of the Hart-SLSA book prize. She has a number of subsequent publications including:  ‘Law, Patriarchies and State Formation in England and Post-Colonial Hong Kong’ (2001, Journal of Law & Society); ‘Capitalism Globalization and the Rule of Law: An Alternative Trajectory of Legal Change in China’  (1994 Social and Legal Studies);  ‘Crime and Criminal Justice in China 1949-99’ in Wardak & Sheptyki Transnational & Comparative Criminology  2012 (Routledge); Criminal Justice in Hong Kong (2007, Routledge);  Lost in China? Law, Culture and Identity in post-1997 Hong Kong (2015 Cambridge University Press).

View all publications in research portal


Hong Kong: Legal System, Society & Culture in Colonial and Post-1997 Hong Kong; relations with Mainland China; crime and criminal justice in Hong Kong & China; legal professions in Hong Kong & China;

Media experience

News commentary and participant in documentaries and tv panels. Former Prisons Spokesperson for Scottish Council for Civil Liberties (ITN, BBC, Scottish Television; The Scotsman); Hong Kong Council of Women, spokeperson on women's rights (RTHK - tv and radio; Commercial Radio; South China Morning Post);



Law and society in Hong Kong and China

Hong Kong/China law and policy since 1997

Law, criminal justice and crime in Hong Kong & China

Socio-legal studies

The history of UK criminal justice

Law and colonialism

Policy experience

Reports on criminals trials, serious fraud - Scottish Office; Report on social security appeal tribunals, children's panels and magistracy in Scotland for Scottish Consumer Council; Report on women's rights in Hong Kong to UN under CEDAW on behalf of the Hong Kong Council of Women (an NGO); Foreign Office talk on Hong Kong/ China on the 20th anniversary of the 1997 handover.

Other information

Appearance before Hong Kong Legislative Council on reform of legal education in Hong Kong; engagement with workshop on the training of the judiciary in China