I am a Associate Professor of Law at the University of the West of England, Bristol and project lead for the Economic and Social Research Council transformative funded project Rethinking Child Protection Strategy. My research derives from an interest in the legal relationship between the state and individuals, in particular the balance between state powers and private rights.
After qualifying at the Bar in 1998 I developed an interest in the reasons why laws intended to protect citizens and communities could also cause harm. I returned to academia to investigate these questions, and what should be done about unintended or oppressive consequences of state welfare laws and policies. As an adoptee I am particularly interested in the ‘lived actuality’ of legal decisions in relation to welfare as well as the intended outcomes, and who bears the consequences when welfare decisions fail or cause harm. As a Barrister I am also interested in process and rules. I wasn’t sure how, or if, the two worked together in relation to developing research around questions of state power and private rights, so following M. Phil in child protection and adoption law, I completed an M.A. in research methods and then a doctorate at the University of Birmingham.
I am still asking questions and seeking answers. My current research focuses on the issues and tensions surrounding non-consensual state interventions with a particular interest in child protection & safeguarding law and processes; state responses to allegations and miscarriages of justice and expert evidence. I write about child protection, safeguarding and social welfare and have a particular interest in adoption.
My forthcoming book The limits of State Power & Private Rights: Exploring Child Protection & Safeguarding Referrals & Assessments will be published by Routledge in December 2016.
My University profile can be accessed here.
Orcid ID: http://orcid.org/0000-0002-6049-7421