Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences Lecture: Children, Evil and the Law
About the speaker, Professor Claire McDiarmid
Professor Claire McDiarmid was educated at Dunoon Grammar School and graduated, with an LLB (1st class honours) from Glasgow University in 1988. She completed the Diploma in Professional Legal Practice, also at Glasgow, in 1989 and worked, in Edinburgh, for Dundas and Wilson CS, then the largest legal practice in Scotland between 1989 and 1993, latterly specialising in Commercial Property. She was admitted as a solicitor by the Law Society of Scotland in 1991.
Funded by a Commonwealth scholarship, she completed an LLM degree in Comparative Law at McGill University, Montreal, Canada, graduating in 1995. She completed her PhD at Glasgow University in 2004, with a thesis entitled The Sleep of Reason: Childhood and Criminal Capacity which considered the response of the criminal law and the legal system to children who commit serious crimes.
She was employed as a lecturer on the Law Group at the University of Paisley (now UWS) from 1997 until 1999 when she joined the University of Strathclyde Law School, becoming a senior lecturer in 2006, Reader in 2013 and Professor in March 2019.
From 1996 until 2006 she was a member of the Children’s Panel for the City of Glasgow.
Her areas of research expertise are children who offend and Scots criminal law generally, particularly the law of Homicide. She was seconded to the Scottish Law Commission from September to December 2018 to provide expert assistance on its project on Homicide. She has published widely in these areas and is the author of three books (Childhood and Crime (2007); (with Professor Pamela Ferguson) Scots Criminal Law: A Critical Analysis (2nd ed, 2014); and Scottish Criminal Law Essentials (3rd ed 2018). She has recently completed funded research projects on the Role of the Safeguarder in the Scottish Children’s Hearings System (Scottish Government) and on The Public Interest and the Child’s Best Interests: Jointly Reported Children in Scotland (Carnegie Trust).
She is currently the Head of the Law School at Strathclyde. She is also a member of the Executive Governance Group of the Centre for Youth and Criminal Justice based at Strathclyde. She is the chair of the Law Society of Scotland’s Board of Examiners (for its alternative route to qualification as a Scottish solicitor and for qualifying into Scotland) and she is also the Criminal Law examiner. She is a member of the Arts and Humanities Research Council’s Peer Review College and she is also a peer reviewer for the Carnegie Trust. She chairs the Scottish Graduate School for the Arts and Humanities Law Catalyst, seeking to provide the highest quality discipline-specific training for Law PhD students in the Arts and Humanities across Scotland. She is the assistant editor of the Juridical Review (the journal of the Scottish Universities’ Law faculties) and has recently joined the editorial board of the Journal of Criminal Law.
Professor Douglas Brodie, Associate Principal & Executive Dean, invites all students and staff to attend the Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences Lecture: Children, Evil and the Law, to be delivered by Professor Claire McDiarmid, Professor of Law and Head of School of Law, University of Strathclyde.
This lecture will consider the way in which serious crimes committed by children are often embedded in a narrative of evil in terms of how they are reported and talked about. Using examples such as the Bulger case from 1993, it will interrogate the way in which the concept of evil interacts with that of childhood in the context of the criminal justice system. Might the criminal process, for example, be seen as a way of neutralising evil by containing it within clearly defined parameters, ending in a sentence? Evil is sometimes characterised as all-consuming, permeating the whole character of a perpetrator.
By contrast, the status of child pulls in the opposite direction pointing to malleability of character and rehabilitation. This paradox will also be explored. Overall, children, evil and the law, as concepts, all tend to pull in opposing directions. The lecture will look at how they come together.
- Refreshments served from 5.30pm
- Lecture starts at 6pm
- Networking reception to follow
Please note that the event may be recorded.