Professor Richard Young

Professor Richard Young

Birmingham Law School
Emeritus Professor of Law and Policy

Contact details

Birmingham Law School
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Before retiring in 2021, Richard Young specialised in empirical research, especially into criminal justice. He was co-author of the first four editions of a leading textbook on that subject, and co-authored two monographs, Judging Social Security and Child Support in Action. He also co-edited four collections of essays, Access to Criminal JusticeNew Visions of Crime VictimsRegulating Policing, and The Futures of Legal Education and the Legal Profession. His main teaching interests lay in the fields of criminal law and justice, and socio-legal studies.


  • LLB , Birmingham
  • PhD, Birmingham


Richard spent the first 14 years of his legal life at Birmingham, taking a first class Honours degree in law in 1985 and a PhD in 1989, before holding the posts successively of Research Fellow, Lecturer and Senior Lecturer. In 1997 he moved to the University of Oxford as Fellow in Law at Pembroke College and Lecturer in Criminology at the Centre for Criminological Research. He later became Assistant Director of the Centre and Reader in Criminal Justice. In 2006, he moved to a chair in Law and Policy Research at the University of Bristol, before returning to the University of Birmingham as Professor of Law and Policy in 2013. He has also been Visiting Professor at the University of South Carolina (1996) and at the University of Missouri at Kansas City (1999). 

His research projects have been funded by the Nuffield Foundation, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, the Home Office, the Legal Services Commission, the Northern Ireland Court Service, the Legal Aid Board and the SLSA. Having spent seven years studying restorative justice, his most recent empirical projects have concerned legal aid decision-making and judicial review of magistrates' decisions. Richard retired on 18 September 2021 and is now Emeritus Professor.


Professor Young’s main research interest lies in understanding the way the criminal justice system operates.  To that end he has conducted empirical studies of:

  • Mediation and reparation schemes
  • Restorative Justice
  • The Police Complaints System
  • Police Cautioning
  • Legal aid decision-making in the magistrates’ courts of England, Wales and Northern Ireland
  • Judicial review of magistrates' decisions 

In recent work he has been exploring issues relating to courtroom workgroups, judicial review of magistrates' decisions, and police accountability.

Other activities

  • Deputy Research Director (Funding): 2013-2017
  • Law School Executive Group: 2013-2015
  • Research Funding Lead: 2017-2021


Selected recent publications:


  • Sanders, A., Young, R. & Burton, M. (2010) Criminal Justice, 4th edn, Oxford University Press.
  • Sommerlad, H.,  Harris-Short, S., Vaughan, S. and Young, R. (eds) (2015) The Futures of Legal Education and the Legal Profession Hart Publishing. 


  • Prateeppornnarong D and Young R, ‘A Critique of the Internal Police Complaints System of the Thai Police’ (Published online 25 July 2017) Policing & Society, 1-18.
  • Young, R. (2012) ‘Managing the List in the Lower Criminal Courts: Judgecraft or Crafty Judges?’. Common Law World Review, vol 41(1), pp. 29 – 58.
  • Young, R. (2013) ‘Exploring the Boundaries of the Criminal Courtroom Workgroup’, Common Law World Review, vol 42(3), pp. 203-239. 


  • Young R, ‘Access to Criminal Justice: Changing Legal Aid Decision-Making in the Lower Courts’ pp 87-108 in Bosworth M, Hoyle C and Zedner L (eds), The Changing Contours of Criminal Justice, Oxford: OUP, 2016
  • Young, R. (2010) ‘Ethnic Profiling and Summary Justice - An Ominous Silence’, in: K. Sveinsson (ed.) Ethnic Profiling: The Use of 'Race' in UK Law Enforcement, Runnymede Trust, pp. 43 – 49.
  • Sanders, A. & Young, R. (2012) ‘From Suspect to Trial’. in: M. Maguire, R. Morgan & R. Reiner (eds.) Oxford Handbook of Criminology, 5th edn, Oxford University Press, pp 953-989.
  • Young, R. (2016) ‘The Rise and Fall of “Stop and Account”: Lessons for Police Accountability’, in: Lister, S. and Rowe, M. (eds), Accountability of Policing, Routledge, pp. 18-48.

View all publications in research portal