Dr John Kendall

Dr John Kendall

Birmingham Law School
Visiting Scholar

Contact details

Birmingham Law School
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

John is a Birmingham Law School alumnus, Visiting Scholar and author of the recently published book. Regulating Police Detention: Voices from behind closed doors.


John holds an MA degree from the University of Oxford and a PhD degree from the University of Birmingham.


John previously worked as a commercial solicitor.  In retirement he worked as a volunteer custody visitor to police stations under the statutory Independent Custody Visiting Scheme, and found it profoundly unsatisfactory. He undertook a self-funded PhD research project about the subject, centred on an in-depth local case study and supervised by Professor Richard Young and Dr Simon Pemberton.

He obtained compelling evidence about the visiting scheme from all those involved: detainees, who have never been heard before; visitors who are not allowed an independent voice; and from police officers and defence lawyers. He found that the visitors were not independent of the police, were in fact very much in their power, and that their regulatory work was largely ineffective. He found that the detainees did not trust the visitors, and that the visitors in their turn were not respected by the police. He found that government policy for custody visiting has always been controlled by the police, to ensure that the visiting scheme causes them the least amount of trouble. Most significantly, John found that the authorities had airbrushed out the idea that the visiting scheme should act as a deterrent to police misconduct which might lead to deaths in custody.


John has taught on the LLM Criminal Justice Law Enforcement module.


John’s research interests continue to be focussed on the custody visiting scheme, the urgent need for its reform, and more effective regulation of police conduct in custody blocks.


Regulating Police Detention: Voices from behind closed doorsPolicy Press (2018).

John was also originally the sole author of a textbook about a system of commercial dispute resolution, now published as Kendall on Expert Determination (5th edition, Sweet & Maxwell, 2014).