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Mr James Kirby

Senior Lecturer

James Kirby


Having been to school in Portsmouth, I studied drama at Manchester University. After graduation I worked as an actor for 15 years, and was a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company. I also worked as a role-play trainer for industry and governments departments such as the NHS.

I then took the CPE at Thames Valley University, and the BVC at the Inns of Court School of Law. I was called to the Bar in 1994.

I was in independent practice until 2009, and was a member of the Chambers of Michael Mansfield QC, practising exclusively in criminal defence. I was part of the advocacy training team at Grays Inn from 2004, training pupil barristers in the art of advocacy. For Legal Network Television (part of The College of Law) I devised and produced programmes (video plus written material) on the confiscation of the proceeds of crime; on computer crime; and on motoring offences. For Oxbridge Law Tutors I tutored non-criminal practitioners who wished to apply to become Crown Court Recorders (part time Judges). I helped devise and deliver an expert witness video-based training course for the School of Law, whilst still in practice. I have also taught voluntarily at an orphanage in India, but I think I learnt more than they did.

Research Interests

My chief research interest is the direction of the prison estate: The policies and influences that have led to our prison population doubling in less than 20 years; the consequences of that, such as high levels of suicide and self-harm; and the impact of the privatisation of the prison estate on the prison regime, and on prison policy.

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