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 Mark Emerton

Mark Emerton

Research student, School of Law and Politics


I am working for a part-time PhD in ecclesiastical law, with Professor Norman Doe.

In my day job I am an Employment Judge, hearing sometimes complex employment and discrimination cases. Previously based in London, I now sit in the South West Region.

Following a first degree in Geography from Oxford University, I later studied law and was called to the Bar by Gray's Inn in 1991, where I have been elected Master of the Bench. I served as a seagoing Royal Navy officer until 2002, up to the rank of Commander, leaving to become a Commissioner at the Criminal Cases Review Commission, investigating miscarriages of justice. I then became a salaried judge in 2009, having sat since 2000 as a part-time, fee-paid, judge in the Employment Tribunal and in the Immigration and Asylum Chamber. I had previously judged naval courts-martial. I have also advised and chaired panels for the General Medical Council and General Dental Council, and supervised the management of student complaints as a Board Member of the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education.

I am involved in other academic work and research (see the "Research" page), and as a salaried judge have a significant role in judicial training. I organise the regional Employment Tribunal training, am on the national training panel, act as a cross-jurisdictional judicial tutor and am a Board Member of the UK Judicial College. I have also been appointed as a Diversity and Community Relations Judge. Internationally, I assist with judicial training for the European Judicial Training Network.


Research interests

After qualifying as a lawyer, I gained a broad background in legal practice, employment and discrimination law, human rights, public and administrative law, criminal law, professional discipline, armed forces law and public international law. I have studied the Law of Armed Conflict at the Lauterpacht Centre for International law at Cambridge University, and was a visiting scholar in Employment and Administrative Law at St John's College Oxford. In 2000 I was awarded an LLM in Business Law by Portsmouth University.

From about 2011 onwards, my main research interests have centred around law and religion: Cardiff University awarded me an LLM in Canon Law (distinction) in 2014. My dissertation related to the enforcement of religious rights in the workplace.

I was for a number of years on the Committee of the Ecclesiastical Law Society, and I teach several modules on the Cardiff Canon Law LLM. I have reviewed books for various journals, presented papers at conferences around Europe, and have been a visiting researcher at the Centre for Religion and Society at Uppsala University (Sweden) and the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology (Law and Anthropology Department) in Halle (Germany). I am currently a Visiting Fellow at Portsmouth University School of Law and am a founder-member of the Editorial Board of the Cultural and Religious Diversity (CUREDI) European legal database project, hosted by the Max Planck Institute.

My research interests in ecclesiastical law (including my part-time PhD with Professor Norman Doe) cover Anglican canon law and the internal law of religions. On law and religion more broadly, my particular interests relate to the interaction between religious identity and secular law in the UK and EU, and to religious discrimination and human rights (especially in the workplace).

I am also currently a member of the House of Laity of General Synod, the governing body of the Church of England.


Religion and the Common Law: Applying Christian Law within the Structures of the English Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction

External profiles