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The University of Southampton
Southampton Law School
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Professor David Gurnham LLB (Lancaster), PhD (Warwick)

Professor of Criminal Law and Interdisciplinary Legal Studies

Professor David Gurnham's photo

David Gurnham is a Professor of Criminal Law and Interdisciplinary Legal Studies within Southampton Law School at the University of Southampton. He came to Southampton as a Reader (Associate Professor) in 2012, having previously been a Lecturer in Healthcare Law and Ethics at the University of Manchester (2005 - 2012), and a Lecturer in Law at the University of Reading (2003 – 2005). His research and teaching reflect a primary interest in law in its contexts, and looks beyond law’s traditional boundaries in order to forge new critical and methodological possibilities.

Research interests

  • Criminal law
  • Law and Literature
  • Critical and theoretical approaches to law (including psychoanalysis and feminism)
PhD supervision

I am in principle available to supervise on any topic within my research expertise. I have recently finished supervising Hector Olivas (with Mark Telford) on the legitimacy of prisons privatization in Mexico and the UK, James Thornton (with Mark Telford) on reforms to criminal procedure and fees structures in England and Wales, both of whom passed subject to modest corrections. I am currently supervising Ana Fuentes (with Harry Annison) on public bodies’ responses to human trafficking.

PhD research

PhD (Warwick) 2004: ‘Judicial Rhetoric and Ethical Dilemma: The Role of Liberal Principle in Legal Language’.

Research projects

‘Young People's Perceptions of Sexual Consent: Exploring the implications for policy and practice’. (with Dr Harry Annison and Mr Mark Telford).

We have been awarded funds from the ESRC (Impact Acceleration Account) and the Public Engagement with Research unit to conduct a research and public engagement project on the subject of sexual consent. The project uses qualitative empirical research methods to explore how young people understand consent and gender. We debated our initial findings at a stakeholder roundtable in Southampton with representatives of Hampshire Police, the criminal bar, young people’s and victims’ charities, academics and students in December 2017. Findings from follow-on research will be debated in Winter 2018/19 (see publications tab for links to briefing papers 1 and 2). We plan to publish our findings and analysis in legal academic press in 2019.

Relatedly, my article on Ched Evans, rape myths and ‘the gaze’ will appear soon in the International Journal of Law in Context (see publications tab).


  • Director of Research, School of Law
  • Editor in Chief (with Professor Gary Watt, Warwick Law School) of Law and Humanities (Taylor & Francis)
  • Member of the Editorial Advisory Board of the ‘International Journal of Law in Context’ (CUP)
  • Member of Centre for Law, Policy and Society (CLPS), and an Associate Member of Health Ethics and Law (HEAL).
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Guest Editor: Journal of Law and Society Vol 43(1) Law's Metaphors: Interrogating Languages of Law, Justice, and Legitimacy

Editor: Special theme in Sexually Transmitted Infections

Edition: 'Criminalizing Contagion' special theme in Sexually Transmitted Infections Vol.89(4)
Editorial: Criminalising contagion: ethical, legal and clinical challenges of prosecuting the spread of disease and sexually transmitted infections

Editor: Special issue of Medical Law International

Edition: 'Best Interests in an Age of Human Rights' special issue of Medical Law International Vol 13(1)
Editorial: 'Best interests in an age of human rights'

Guest Co-Editor: New Criminal Law Review: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal

Edition: New Criminal Law Review: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal, Vol 17(1) 
(Guest-edited with Imogen Jones)



Book Chapters


Working Papers

  • Co-module lead (with Mark Telford), and lecturer for Criminal Law (LAWS1014).
  • Module convenor and teacher for all classes for ‘Violence and Sex in Law, Literature and Culture’ (LAWS3098)
Professor David Gurnham
Southampton Law School, Building 4 University of Southampton Highfield Southampton SO17 1BJ UK

Room Number: 4/3059

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