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Dr Roxanna Dehaghani

Dr Roxanna Dehaghani

Senior Lecturer in Law

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Media commentator
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Available for postgraduate supervision

Overview

I joined Cardiff Law in September 2017 and was recently appointed School Director of Impact and Engagement. I am currently External Examiner at York Law School and Editorial Board Member of the Howard Journal of Crime and Justice and the Journal of Adult Protection. I am also a Governor, Member of the Corporation Board, and Member of the Resources Committee for Coleg y Cymoedd (a further education college in Wales).

I have been a Visiting Scholar/Fellow at Emory (USA), KU-Leuven (Belgium), and Queen’s University, Belfast (Northern Ireland) and I am a Global Affiliate of the Vulnerability and Human Condition Initiative at Emory University (since 2018).

My work is socio-legal and interdisciplinary; I have particular expertise in drawing diverse and multidisciplinary insights into dialogue with the law, particularly from psychology and forensics. As a legal academic, I also use doctrinal and comparative approaches. I am principally a qualitative researcher, although I also have experience using quantitative methods. My research coalesces around the vulnerability of the accused in the criminal process, particularly how law, policy and practice can create, exacerbate, and respond to the vulnerable position of the accused.

First, my research concerns the implementation and operation of safeguards for vulnerable suspects pre-trial. This work has been published in leading generalist journals such as Oxford Journal of Legal Studies, in leading specialist journals such as the Howard Journal of Crime and Justice, Journal of Social Welfare and Family Law, and the Criminal Law Review, and as a monograph with Routledge ‘Vulnerability in Police Custody’. Comparative and cross-jurisdictional research in this area has been published in the New Journal of European Criminal Law and as an edited collection with Routledge entitled ‘Vulnerability, the Accused, and the Criminal Justice System: Multijurisdictional Perspectives’. My research on the implementation and operation of the appropriate adult safeguard, submitted to REF 2021 as an Impact Case Study, has resulted in significant changes to policy and practice following my appointment as a member of the Home Office Working Group on Vulnerable Adults (2016-17) and my development of an evidence base and the establishment of new and improved standards for the National Appropriate Adult Network's (NAAN) revised National Standards (2018). I have also worked with the Independent Custody Visiting Association and the Independent Office for Police Conduct on improving uptake of the appropriate adult safeguard for vulnerable adult suspects. I am currently working with NAAN on training resources on vulnerability and the appropriate adult safeguard for healthcare and police staff in police custody.

Second, my research concerns experiences of, participation in, and the operation of safeguards available during the criminal process, particularly pre-trial. Research on the experiences of criminal justice in Wales (and England), with a particular focus on legally aided criminal defence, has been published in leading generalist journals Legal Studies and leading specialist journal the International Journal of the Legal Profession, in addition to a monograph with Bristol University Press ‘Experiences of Criminal Justice’ , and an article on guilty plea decision-making in leading generalist journal the Modern Law Review. I have presented this work to the Criminal Legal Aid Review, the Future of Legal Aid Review, and the Justice in Wales Commission. 

Third, my research concerns conditions of detention, particularly in police custody. I have analysed the coercive nature of police custody and the authorisation of detention, in leading generalist journal Social and Legal Studies and in leading specialist journal the Criminal Law Review. I have conducted commissioned work on detention conditions in Wales funded by the Equality and Human Rights Commission, and I am currently co-investigator on a 1.4-million-euro European Research Council funded project on the regulation of criminal justice detention.

I have also worked with colleagues in Social Sciences on safeguarding reviews (funded by the National Independent Safeguarding Board), including an award-winning article on adult death reviews.

I am Co-Chair and Co-Founder of the Vulnerability Research Network (2019-) and the founder of ‘The Vulnerable Accused’ work-in-progress sessions. I was previously a Board Member of the Socio-Legal Studies Association (2018-21), Organising Committee Member of the Cardiff 2021 Socio-Legal Studies Association conference (2019-21), Co-Convenor of the British Society of Criminology Wales Branch (2019-21), Co-organiser of Mental Diversity Law Network's Criminal Law/Justice events (funded by the Wellcome Trust) (2020-22), Deputy Director for the Centre for Crime, Law and Justice (2020/21), and Chair of Research Ethics (2019-22).

I regularly review for leading specialist and generalist journals and publishers such as Modern Law Review, International Journal of Law in Context, and Oxford Journal of Legal Studies, and Routledge, and for funders such as the ESRC and the Independent Social Research Foundation. I serve and have served on a number of Research Advisory Boards including on healthcare equivalence in police custody (ESRC), young suspects experiences of police custody in England and Wales (Nuffield), and children's experiences of their rights during police questioning in Ireland (Policing Authority).

Alongside my research, I teach Criminal Law and have previously taught Miscarriages of Justice. I supervise research at UG, PGT, and PGR levels and regularly provide training on research methods and research ethics to PGRs. I currently supervise three PGRs - Riedel (Vulnerability to Radicalisation under the PREVENT strategy), O'Shea (defining sex work in law), and Macdonald (the ‘appropriateness’ of the appropriate adult). If you are a passionate, determined, and intellectually curious individual who wishes to pursue a PhD in any of my areas of expertise, please get in touch.

I tweet (@roxanna_law) fairly sporadically on academia, higher education, and criminal justice.

Biography

Education

  • 2014-18 - Ph.D. in Law - Leicester Law School, University of Leicester
  • 2011-12 - L.L.M., Forensics, Criminology & Administration of Justice, cum laude - Faculty of Law, Maastricht University
  • 2007-10 - L.L.B. (Hons.), Law, Second Class, First Division - School of Law, Queen’s University Belfast

Honours and awards

  • European Research Council - RECEDE: Regulating Criminal Justice Detention (with Tomczak PI) - (€1.3 million) (2022-)
  • National Independent Safeguarding Board Wales - Thematic Review of Adult Practice Reviews - (with Rees PI, Swann, and Slater) (£24,991) (2020-21)
  • Equality and Human Rights Commission – ‘Conditions of Detention in Wales’ (with Jones and Series) (£1500) (2019-20)
  • Economic and Social Research Council (Impact Acceleration Account) – Training Independent Custody Visitors (PI) (£4000) (2019-21)
  • National Independent Safeguarding Board - Thematic Review of Child Practice Reviews - Wales (with Rees PI, Swann, Slater, and Robinson) (£26,000) (2019-20)
  • British Academy – Suspect and Defendant Experiences of the Criminal Process (PI, with Newman) (£8543) (2018-20)
  • Cardiff University Research Opportunities Placement (CUROP) - The experiences of the suspect and defendant in the criminal process (with Newman PI) (£2100) (2018-19)
  • National Independent Safeguarding Board - Thematic Review of Domestic Homicide, Mental Health Homicide, and Adult Practice Reviews (with Robinson PI and Rees) (£20,000) (2018-19)
  • University of Leicester- REF-Research Impact Development Fund (£3623.60) (2016-17)

  • University of Leicester - Graduate Teaching Assistantship (Fully funded PhD) – (£57,204) (2014-18)
  • Postgraduate Bursaries – British Society of Criminology 2016; 10th North-South Irish Criminology Conference 2016; Socio-Legal Studies Association 2016
  • Postgraduate Development Fund – College of Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities, University of Leicester, 2016 (£500); College of Arts, Humanities and Law, University of Leicester, 2016 (£500)
  • Top 3% Scholarship – Faculty of Law, Maastricht University, 2012 (Full tuition fee for L.L.M.)

Professional memberships

  • Editorial Board Member - Howard Journal of Crime and Justice (05/2021-)
  • Editorial Board Member - Journal of Adult Protection (09/2021-)
  • Founder and Organiser - Work in Progress - The Vulnerable Accused (05/2020-)
  • Global Affiliate - Vulnerability and the Human Condition Initiative (06/2018-)
  • Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (2017-)
  • Co-Chair and Founder - Vulnerability Research Network, British Society of Criminology (12/2019-)
  • Co-Convenor - Wales Branch, British Society of Criminology (02/2019-09/2021)
  • Board Member of the Socio-Legal Studies Association (04/2018-04/2021)
  • Publisher Liaison - SLSA (05/2019-04/2021)
  • Seminar Committee Member - SLSA (05/2019-04/2021)
  • Ethics Working Group Member and Chair - SLSA (05/2019-04/2021)
  • National Appropriate Adult Network – Academic Lead on National Standards (05/2017-03/2018)
  • Home Office Working Group on Vulnerable Adults (11/2016-11/2017)
  • British Society of Criminology Postgraduate Committee – Events Manager (07/2016-07/2017)
  • Member of Criminal Justice Research Centre (Nottingham)
  • Member of the British Society of Criminology
  • Member of the European Group for the Study of Deviance and Social Control
  • Member of the Socio-Legal Studies Association
  • Member of the Early Career Academic Network – Howard League for Penal Reform

Academic positions

  • 2017-20 - Lecturer in Law - Cardiff University
  • 2019 - Visiting Scholar - KU-Leuven
  • 2018 - Visiting Scholar - Vulnerability and the Human Condition Initiative, Emory University
  • 2016-17 - Lecturer in Law - University of Leicester
  • 2014-16 - Graduate Teaching Assistant - University of Leicester
  • 2016 - Visiting Scholar - Queen's University Belfast
  • 2015-16 - Teaching Associate - University of Birmingham

Speaking engagements

  • 'Intellectual Disability, Vulnerability and the Appropriate Adult Safeguard', RCPsych International Congress, Edinburgh (2022)
  • 'Neurodiverse Suspects and the Appropriate Adult Safeguard', Neurodiversity and the Legal System, University College Dubline (2022)
  • 'Neurodiversity, Vulnerability and the Appropriate Adult Safeguard' Gerald Gordon Seminar, Glasgow University (2022)
  • 'Interpreting and Reframing the Appropriate Adult Safeguard', SLSA Cardiff (2021)
  • ‘Conceptualising vulnerability’ – Faculty of Law, Maastricht University (Maastricht, 2021 (forthcoming))
  • ‘Vulnerability and criminal justice practitioners’ – Workshop on Vulnerability and the Organisation of Academic Labour (Nottingham, 2019)
  • ‘Vulnerability in police custody: police decision-making and the appropriate adult safeguard’ – Centre for Crime, Law and Justice (Cardiff, 2019)
  • ‘Vulnerability in police custody: the English and Welsh perspective’ – Faculty of Law, Maastricht University (Maastricht, 2019)
  • ‘The Experiences of criminal justice in Wales’ – Criminal Law, Criminal Justice and Criminology, Leicester Law School (Leicester, 2019)
  • ‘The experiences of criminal justice in south Wales’ – LSA (Washington, 2019); ESC (Ghent, 2019)
  • ‘European perspectives on vulnerability in criminal proceedings: vulnerability in England and Wales’ – ESC (Ghent, 2019)
  • ‘The experiences of criminal justice in Wales’ – LSA (Washington, 2019)
  • ‘Vulnerability and access to justice: lawyers and legal aid in south Wales’ – SLSA (Leeds, 2019)
  • ‘Experiences of Criminal Justice in South Wales’ – SLSA (Leeds, 2019)
  • ‘Vulnerability and the Subjects and Objects of Law’ (Roundtable discussion) – LSA (Washington, 2019)
    ‘Housing and the responses to domestic violence: a review of Domestic Homicide Reviews’ – Making a Stand Cymru (Cardiff, 2019)
  • ‘Conceptualising vulnerability in police custody’ – Criminal Justice Research Centre (Nottingham, 2019)
  • ‘Young People and Police Custody’ – School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work, QUB (Belfast, 2019)
  • ‘Roundtable – Quality of Criminal Defence’ – Transform Justice (London, 2019)
  • ‘Thematic Roundtable – Mental Health’ – Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) (London, 2019)
  • ‘Implementing Vulnerability Theory in Legislative or Judicial Contexts’ (Roundtable discussion) – A Workshop on Vulnerability Theory and the Human Condition: Celebrating a Decade of Innovation (Leeds, 2018)
  • ‘Interrogating vulnerability: conceptualising and reconceptualising vulnerability under Code C to the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984’ – Law Staff Seminar (Cardiff, 2018)
  • ‘Vulnerability in police custody: police decision-making and the appropriate adult safeguard’ – Centre for Crime, Law and Justice (Cardiff, 2018)
  • ‘Is the law still failing ‘vulnerable’ suspects?’ – PublicUni, Cardiff University (Cardiff, 2018)
  • ‘Who – and what – is the ‘appropriate’ appropriate adult?’ – Centre for Crime, Law and Justice (Cardiff, 2018)
  • 'Constructing the case for the defence: ineffective lawyering, police impropriety and the efficacy of legal protections’ - LSA (Toronto, 2018)
  • ‘Professionalism and ethics’ (Roundtable discussion) – Workshop on Vulnerability and the Social Reproduction of Resilient Societies (Atlanta, 2018)
  • ‘Interrogating vulnerability: conceptualising and reconceptualising vulnerability under Code C to the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984’ - Workshop on Vulnerability and the Social Reproduction of Resilient Societies (Atlanta, 2018)
  • ‘Vulnerability in police custody: reflections from the field’ – Independent Office for Police Conduct (London, 2018)
  • ‘What is known about the experiences of vulnerable court users?’ – ESRC-HMCTS workshop on vulnerable court users (London, 2018)
  • 'Who is the 'vulnerable adult'?: reflections on the Home Office's proposed changes to Code C to the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984’ - SLSA (Bristol, 2018)
  • 'The appropriate adult safeguard: exploring the descriptive and the normative' - SLSA (Bristol, 2018)
  • 'PACE, suspects’ rights and the case for the defence: ineffective lawyering, police impropriety and the efficacy of legal protections’ – Howard League for Penal Reform (Oxford, 2018)
  • 'Professional Vulnerability in the Context of the Criminal Justice Process in England and Wales' - Workshop on Professionalism and Vulnerability (Leeds, 2017)
  • ‘Invisibility of disability in the Criminal Justice System: vulnerability and the appropriate adult safeguard’ – LSESU Penal Reform Society (Panel Contribution) (London, 2017)
  • ‘Barriers to implementing the appropriate adult safeguard’– National Appropriate Adult Network (NAAN) Professional Development Day (Bristol, 2017)
  • ‘Can practitioners and institutions be ‘vulnerable’?: examining the effect of neo-liberalism and austerity on police custody and criminal legal aid’ – British Society of Criminology Annual Conference (Sheffield, 2017)
  • ‘Constructions of ‘mental disorder’ and ‘mental vulnerability’ in police custody: more than just ‘understanding’ and ‘capacity’?’ – Mental Disability PGR and ECR Conference (Nottingham, 2017)
  • ‘Conceptualising practitioners and institutions as ‘vulnerable’: examining Fineman’s vulnerability thesis in the context of the criminal justice system’ – DMU-Leicester-Modena Conference: A Dialogue on Law and Rights (Modena, 2017)
  • ‘“We’re vulnerable too”: an (alternative) analysis of vulnerability within criminal legal aid and police custody’ – SLSA (Newcastle, 2017)
  • ‘Vulnerable by law but not by nature: exploring child and youth vulnerability in the context of police custody’ - Third Leicester-Modena Conference: A Dialogue on Law and Rights (Leicester, 2016); 10th North-South Irish Criminology Conference (Maynooth, 2016); British Society of Criminology Annual Conference (Nottingham, 2016); European Society of Criminology (Muenster, Germany, 2016)
  • ‘Vulnerability in police custody:  custody officers’ constructions of ‘vulnerability’ for the appropriate adult safeguard’ - Inaugural UK Mental Disability Law Conference (Nottingham, 2016)
  • ‘Automatic authorisation: assessing necessity to detain under PACE 1984’ – SLSA (Lancaster, 2016)
  • ‘Interrogating Vulnerability: a critical analysis of vulnerability under Code C to the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984’ - SLSA (Lancaster, 2016); Human Rights Centre (Belfast, 2016); Socio-Legal Seminar (Leicester, 2016)
  • ‘Automatic authorisation: an exploration of the decision to detain in police custody’ – Criminal Law, Criminal Justice and Criminology Seminar (Leicester, 2016)
  • ‘Identifying and defining vulnerability in police custody: assessing impact’ - Annual Summer PGR Conference (Birmingham, 2015)
  • ‘Implementing the appropriate adult safeguard – custody officers’ responses’ - Midlands Postgraduate Conference in Law (Leicester, 2015)
  • ‘Identifying Vulnerability and Risk in Police Custody: An Exploration of Themes’ - SLSA (Warwick, 2015)
  • ‘A Miscarriage of Justice at the Custody Suite?’ - Miscarriages of Justice Project (Leicester, 2015)
  • ‘The appropriate adult safeguard in police custody’ - Miscarriages of Justice Project (Leicester, 2014)

Committees and reviewing

  • Research Advisory Group: The Impact of PACE on Young Suspects (funded by Nuffield Foundation) (2020-) (PI: Dr Vicky Kemp); Young Suspects and Policing (funded by Policing Authority Ireland) (2019-21) (PI: Prof Ursula Kilkelly, UCC)
  • Article reviewer: Modern Law Review (2021); International Journal of Law in Context (2021); Howard Journal of Crime and Justice (2021); European Journal on Criminal Policy and Research (2021); European Journal on Criminal Policy and Research (2020), Oñati Socio-Legal Series (2020); Journal of Law and Society (2020); Howard Journal of Crime and Justice (2018; 2020 - three times); Oxford Journal of Legal Studies (2019)
  • Textbook reviewer: Oxford University Press (2018; 2020)
  • Monograph reviewer: Palgrave Macmillan (2020 - twice); Policy Press (2017; 2020 - twice); Routledge (2020 - three times)
  • Grant reviewer: Independent Social Research Foundation (2020); Economic and Social Research Council - Research Centre and Standard;
  • Seminar grants reviewer: SLSA (2020-21)

Publications

2022

2021

2020

2019

2018

2017

2016

I am incredibly grateful for financial support for my research and impact and engagement activities from British Academy, the Economic and Social Research Council, the European Research Council, the Equality and Human Rights Commission, and the National Independent Safeguarding Board. These various bodies have funded my work on procedural safeguards for the accused, particularly my work on appropriate adults, criminal justice detention, and criminal justice in Wales.

My work is socio-legal and (somewhat) interdisciplinary in nature; I am a qualitative researcher by background (but use quantitative methods where necessary). For my doctoral studies, I conducted an ethnography in police custody (detention), examining the myriad barriers to the implementation of the appropriate adult safeguard. This culminated in my first monograph (deemed a 'major contribution to the field' by Prof Emeritus Gisli Gudjonsson CBE) and a sole-authored Impact Case Study for REF2021. I have written on topics such as the vulnerability of suspects, the appropriate adult safeguard, criminal defence, criminal legal aid, experiences of criminal justice in crisis in (England and) Wales, and guilty plea decision-making. The backdrop of austerity and neo-liberalism also represent major themes in my research, as does the call for a responsive state (drawing upon Fineman's vulnerability theory). My particular interest is in how rules are interpreted, implemented, and/or ignored, and what this means for the criminal accused. I am also interested the factors influencing criminal justice decision-making and experiences (policy-makers, practitioners, and those with lived experience). A number of these issues emerge in my forthcoming monograph on criminal justice in Wales. Whilst I am a legal academic, I am interested in and have studied legal psychology. sociology, and criminology, and I draw on concepts and frameworks from those disciplines in my work. Being an academic magpie of sorts, I am also interested in disability studies (as it interacts with criminal justice), youth justice, and the interaction (or lack thereof) between different areas of the law (family, social care, mental health and capacity, criminal, immigration, etc). My expertise relates to the vulnerable accused, specifically vulnerable suspects, police custody, the appropriate adult safeguard, criminal legal aid/defence.

Supervision

I am interested in supervising PhD students in the areas of:

  • Mental health, disability, and vulnerability in criminal process
  • (Barriers to) the accused's participation in the criminal process
  • Vulnerability theory
  • Suspect/defendant rights and procedural safeguards, such as, but not limited to, the right to legal advice and representation and the right to silence
  • Austerity, neoliberalism, managerialism, securitisation and risk in the criminal process

Past projects