Faculty of Computing, Law and Psychology | School of Law

Prof Susan Edwards

Emeritus Professor

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Professor Susan EdwardsBA (CNAA), MA, PhD (Manc), LLM (Reading); Barrister (Full qualification certificate) unregistered, Member of the Expert Witness Institute (MEWI), formerly Editor Denning Law Journal 2005-2015, former Dean of Law

A well-known writer and broadcaster on feminist issues, with expertise in Family Law, Sex, Gender and Minorities in the Legal Process, Criminology / Criminal Justice, Legal Skills, Constitutional and Administrative Law. Co Founder of the Centre for Multi-Cultural Studies in Law.

Susan Edwards is a researcher and campaigner, with degrees in both law and social sciences, she has practiced in the criminal courts. She writes, researches and campaigns in the area of Women’s International Human Rights. She has lectured across the world including USA, Middle East, Australia, and Europe, Japan. She is sole author of five academic monographs , a co-author, editor of a collection and editor for Borrie and Lowe, The Law of Contempt 4th edition ISBN/ISSN: 9781405736879. She has written over 150 peer reviewed articles. She has written several opinion pages on the law for The Times, The Guardian and The Age (Australia). See “Uncovering the truth: when and why judges ask defendants to show their face” May 18 2017. She is a Door Tenant, Door tenants | Red Lion Chambers London, and Trustee for Advance

Latest News

Recent publications

RLC Blog: International Woman’s Day “Inspiring Inclusion begins with all women”, March 2024

Chapter: Coercion Elgar Encyclopedia of Crime and Criminal Justice, February 2024

Chapter: Kidnapping – Elgar Encyclopedia of Crime and Criminal Justice, February 2024

Recent media

Talk Radio: Professor Edwards with Petrie Hosken, Discussion on ‘CPS Report on Rape attitudes‘, 31 January 2024

June 2023: Susan Edwards ‘Radicalisation: antithetical jurisdictions of protection and punishmentFamily Law vol 53 p. 684-692.

September 2023: Susan Edwards ‘Legally male: The householder defence, duress and the continuing exclusion of women’ p. 95-111 in McPherson (ed) Women who kill: Criminal Law and Domestic abuse. Routledge.

April 12 2023: Susan Edwards, ‘Sexualizing the Killing of Women: The Rise of the “Rough Sex” Defence in Anglo-American Jurisdictions’, International Annals of Criminology

April 6 2023: Susan Edwards and Jennifer Koshan, ‘Women Who Kill Abusive Men: The Limitations of Loss of Control, Provocation and Self-Defence in England and Wales and Canada’

March 23 2023: Edited by Susan Edwards, David Malone, and Gillian Jones KC,  Blackstone’s Guide to the Domestic Abuse Act 2021 Oxford University Press

Professor Edwards plea on IWD23 for solidarity with the wives, sisters, and daughters of Gunatanamo detainees: The Bar Council

Have the media and court of public opinion had a centrifugal role in shaping Executive decision-making about Shamima Begum’s right to return? Professor Susan Edwards investigates: COUNSEL.

Professor Edwards presents her monograph: The Political Appropriation of the Muslim Body: Islamophobia, Counter-Terrorism Law and Gender. At the Centre for Criminal Law and Criminal Justice (CCLCJ) seminar, 3 February 2022, 5-6:30 pm. The Political Appropriation of the Muslim Body – Professor Susan Edwards – YouTube

Published in February’s Criminal Law Review out now Issue 2 2022 ‘“Demasculinising” the Defences of Self-Defence, the “Householder” defence and Duress’ p 111-129.

Professor Edwards spoke to David Lammy MP on LBC radio on 30.12.21 following the Ghislane Maxwell sex trafficking trial.

Professor Edwards interviewed about her latest book ‘The Political Appropriation of the Muslim Body: Islamophobia, Counter Terrorism Law and Gender.  Listen to the podcast.

Professional External Activities

Legal – Expert Witness

Instructed by defence and prosecution is several cases since 1991 on the effects of domestic violence in family and criminal proceedings.

Expert witness report for Prosecution in criminal case instructed by CPS Portsmouth Crown Court April 2004. R v Maguinness

Expert witness in ancillary relief instructed by Bircham, Dyson, Bell

Expert in criminal – duress defence  (R v Kanyemera (Jemimah) (2012) Court of Appeal, Criminal Division [2012] EWCA Crim 2721.

Expert in religious dress (niqab) case: The Queen v D (R), R v D (R) – [2014] 1 LRC 629

Expert in R v A [2012] EWCA Crim 434 (rape case and retraction)

Expert in RT v (1) First-tier Tribunal (Social Entitlement Chamber), (2) Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority [2016] UKUT 0306 (AAC) appeal against reduction of award (cited at paras 30, 31) Upper Tribunal (Administrative Appeals Chamber)

Member of Committees/Trusts:

Door Tenant, Red Lion Chambers, London, EC4A 3EB

Member – Bar Human Rights Committee 2010 – present

and co-authored a report on their behalf with WHRIN: “Witchcraft Accusation and Persecution in Nepal”, Country Report Launched at National Women’s Commission in Kathmandu, Nepal, 2014 (read report)

Member – Metropolitan Police Working Party on Domestic Violence 1984-1986 cited in the Metropolitan Police Force Order 1987

Member -Metropolitan Police Working Party on Domestic Violence 1991-1992

Trustee member – to the Sara Charlton Charitable Trust 2012-2014

Trustee member – Pornography and Violence Research Trust 1992-2002

Trustee – Management Committee of CAST – an organisation for education and training of female ex-offenders, 1992- 1996

Member, Committee of Heads of University Law Schools, 2007-2011, 2014-2018.

Member Editorial Board:

Journal of Criminal Law 2004 – present

International Review of Victimology 2000 – present

Crime Prevention and Community Safety 2002- present

External Research related activities

Adviser – Domestic Violence for Council of Europe (2003) with Jeff Hearn: Working against Men’s “Domestic Violence”: Priority policies and practices for men in intervention, prevention and societal change (Strasbourg: Council of Europe, 2005).Edwards, S.S.M., Gender Based Violence in the UK (for AIDOS and Focus European Commission Tacis Programme, 2003)

Trainer – human rights for the Bulgarian Gender Research Foundation 2003-2004

Consultant – for the Crown Prosecution Service (2002-3) on Expert witnesses. Published “Prosecuting Domestic Violence – Using Expert Evidence and Expert Witnesses” (2002)

Project Developer – Home Office as part of their Violence against Women Initiative 2000-2002

Consultant – Home Office funding for projects under the Crime Reduction Programme Violence against Women Initiative 1999, resulting in development of projects, briefing notes and publications

Conducted research for Hammersmith and Fulham Council (1997- 1998).Edwards, S., Is change possible? An exploration of the applicability of Duluth principles of inter-agency coordination to the crime of domestic violence (1998)

Conducted research for Barnardos (1997-1998). Whose Daughter Next? Children abused through prostitution.

Director of Research – Pornography and Violence Research Trust 1992-2002.

Research Grants –selected only

ESRC – 1985 Policing Domestic Violence

Nuffield Foundation – 1987 Prostitution

Police Foundation – 1988 Evaluating the Impact of the New Police policy on Domestic Violence

Home Office Police Research Awards Scheme – 1989 Adult Cautioning

Safer Cities Home Office – 1991 Prostitution and Policing

Pornography and Violence Research Trust – 1992-2002, Adult pornography, Child pornography

Membership of Professional Organisations

Member of Alumni Association University of Manchester 2016 –present

Member of the Board of the ISC (International Society of Criminology from 2016 – present

Member MEWI Expert Witness Institute 2007 – present

Member Criminal Bar Association 2011 present

Member of Bar Human Rights Committee 2010 present

Member of Bar of England and Wales Called July 2004 – Full Practising Certificate present

Member of Inner Temple 2004 present

Member of Expert Witness Institute, London 2006 present

Member of Society of Legal Scholars 1990   present

Member (some time) of British Society of Criminology (Ethics committee Chair 1992-1995)

Member (some time) of the British Sociological Association


Recent Interviews only

Radio New Zealand,  June 24th 2020, “Rough sex defence” (interviewed by Kathyrn Ryan). https://www.rnz.co.nz/audio/player?audio_id=2018751998

BBC Radio 3,  March  20th 2020,  “Millane murder sentencing” (interviewed by Georgia Sawyer).

BBC Radio 5 live, March 17th 2020, “Millane murder sentencing” (interviewed by Mick Turner).

BBC Breakfast – November 18th 2018   “Two year Degrees”

BBC Radio Five live – November 18th 2018 “Two Year Degrees”

Sky news – April 2nd 2018 Interviewed on Alison Saunders DPP stepping down and her achievements and failings of non-disclosure and funding

Sky news – Dec 16th 2017 on Rape non-disclosure

Sky News – sexual consent classes and raising awareness of sexual harassment on university campuses, 8 October 2016

Sky News – The Debate, about “Student Consent Classes”, 19 September 2016; click here to see the poster

BBC Radio 4 contributor to Unreliable Evidence with Clive Anderson on reforming the law on violence, 7 September 2016; click here for the programme on BBC iPlayer

Sky News,-International Women’s Day for The Debate, 8 March 2016; click here to see the interview


Battle of Ideas – 14th October 2018-“Consent classes: from school to parliament and beyond”

Battle of Ideas – 13th October 2018 -“Creating new crimes the trivialisation of legislation”

Battle of Ideas 2015 on “Rape Culture: Myth or Menace” click here to watch the debate

Video on “Islam and Feminism” 2015 for Maslaha https://www.maslaha.org/; click here to watch the video.

International academic – Fellow

Visiting Scholar at the Law School, Australian National University (spring 2000)

Visiting Fellow at the University of Maine, Portland, USA, spring 1996

Visiting Researcher, Portland Police Department, Maine, USA –Domestic Violence, spring 1996


Books sole authored

The Political Appropriation of the Muslim Body – Islamophobia, Counter-Terrorism Law and Gender (Palgrave Macmillan, April 2021), ISBN 978-3-030-68896-7

Female Sexuality and the Law (Oxford: Martin Robertson, Law in Society Series, 1981), ISBN 9780855203856 / 0855203854

Women on Trial (Manchester University Press, 1984; nominated for American Society of Criminology award) ISBN-10: 0719009952

ISBN-13: 978-0719009952

Policing Domestic Violence (Sage, 1989) ISBN-10: 0803980337

ISBN-13: 978-0803980334

Sex and Gender in the Legal Process (1996; 4th ed. 2013 Blackwell’s). ISBN-10: 1854315072 ISBN-13: 978-1854315076


(With others) Borrie and Lowe: The Law of Contempt Fourth edition (Part of the Butterworths Common Law Series) 2010 “Civil contempt”, ch.6, pp.123-253.ISBN/ISSN: 9781405736879 (The leading authority in its field, Borrie and Lowe is a comprehensive statement of the law relating to criminal and civil contempt of court.)
Read more about this article in our Publications Finder (18 October 2010)

(With Mary Welstead) Family Law (Oxford University Press Core Texts Series, 2006, 4th ed. 2013). (22 July 2013).ISBN-10: 9780199664207, ISBN-13: 978 0199664207, ASIN: 019966420X

Selected recent Chapters in edited collections

“‘Loss of self-control’ – the  cultural lag of sexual infidelity and the transformative promise of the fear defence” in Homicide in Criminal Law: A Research Companion’ edited by Alan Reed, Michael Bohlander, Nicola Wake, Emma Engleby and Verity Adams, Taylor & Francis Routledge imprint. doi.org/10.4324/9781351016315, 386 pages ISBN 9781351016308 (2018)

“Domestic Violence landmarks”- Landmark 48 Davis v Johnson (1978) p. 341-347, in Women’s Legal Landmarks –Editor(s): Erika Rackley, Rosemary Auchmuty .ISBN: 9781782259794. Imprint: Hart Publishing. RRP Bloomsbury Professional (2018)

“Cyber-grooming young women for terrorist activity: Dominant and subjugated explanatory narratives”, in E. Viano (ed.), Cybercrime, Organised Crime, and Societal Responses (Springer 2017), 23-47.  ISBN 978-3-319-44499-4
Read more in our Publication of the week section (1 February 2017)

“Targeting Muslim women through dress…..” in Women, Law and Culture Conformity, Contradiction and Conflict, Scutt, Jocelynne A. (Ed.) (2017) Palgrave DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-44938-8

“Assault, strangulation and murder – challenging the sexual libido consent defence narrative”, in A. Reed & M. Bohlander with N. Wake & E. Smith (eds), Consent: Domestic and Comparative Perspectives (Abingdon: Routledge, 2016), https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315573472 ch.6.Read more about this chapter in our Publication of the week section (2 November 2016)

“The claims of necessity: Good and harm, excuses and justifications and the moral narratives of necessity”, in Alan Reed & Michael Bohlander (eds), General Defences in Criminal Law (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2014), ch.6. ISBN 9781472433367 147243336X 9781472433374 1472433378 132256549X 9781322565491. Read about this chapter in our Publication of the week section (26 January 2015)

“Proscribing unveiling – law: a chimera and an instrument in the political agenda”, in E. Brems (ed.), The Experiences of Face Veil Wearers in Europe and the Law (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014), 278-296. ISBN: 978-1-107-05830-9
Read about this chapter in our Publication of the week section (1 December 2014)

“‘The straw woman’ at law’s precipice: an unwilling party”, in A. Reed & M. Bohlander (eds), Participation in Crime – Domestic and Comparative Perspectives (Aldershot: Ashgate 2013), 59-78. ISBN 9781409453451

“Loss of self-control: when his anger is worth more than her fear”, in A. Reed & M. Bohlander (eds), Loss of Control and Diminished Responsibility: Domestic, Comparative and International Perspectives (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2011), 79-96. ISBN 9781409431756. (16 January 2012)

R v Zoora (Ghulam) Shah – commentary” and “Attorney-General for Jersey v Holley – judgment”, in R. Hunter, C. McGlynn & E. Rackley (eds), Feminist Judgments from Theory to Practice (Oxford: Hart, 2010), 273-277 & 292-307. ISBN-10: 1849460531 ISBN-13: 978-1849460538. Read about these articles in our Publications Finder (22 November 2010)

“Defacing Muslim women: dialectical meanings of dress in the body politic”, in R. Banaker (ed.), Rights in Context (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2010), 127-147. ISBN 9781409407393 140940739X 9781409407416 1409407411 1282785818 9781282785816 1409407403 9781409407409 Read about this article in our Publications Finder (8 November 2010)

Selected recent Journal articles

Susan S. M. Edwards “THE DOMESTIC ABUSE ACT 2021” Comment and Analysis Blackstone’s Briefing Issue No 4 Summer/Autumn 2021 pp 10-13.

“Women who kill abusive partners: reviewing the impact of section 55(3) ‘fear of serious violence’ manslaughter – some empirical findings” Susan S M Edwards. Northern Ireland Legal Quarterly Summer Vol. 72 No. 2 (2021) 245–270 Article DOI: 10.53386/nilq.v72i2.877 Northern Ireland Legal Quarterly (qub.ac.uk)

Susan SM Edwards and Heather Douglas  “The Criminalisation of a Dangerous Form of Coercive Control: Non-Fatal Strangulation in England and Wales and Australia”  Journal of International and Comparative Law Vol 8 :1 June 2021 pp 87-120.

Susan Edwards and  Kris Gledhill “Strangulation and false narratives of consent” 23 February 2021  Counsel Magazine.

Susan Edwards “Consent and the ‘Rough Sex’ Defence in Rape, Murder, Manslaughter and Gross Negligence”  Journal of Criminal Law,  publication due date August (2020) pp 1-19.

Susan EdwardsRecognising the Role of the Emotion of Fear in Offences and Defences”

Journal of Criminal Law December (2019) pp 1-23 .First Published September 29, (2019) https://doi.org/10.1177/0022018319877784

 “‘Unconnecting worlds’: negotiating faith, culture and gender in J v B and The Child AB”, Fam Law 56 (January 2018) ISBN/ISSN: 00147281

“Protecting children and vulnerable adults from witchcraft and spirit possession: related violence, victimisation and other harms”, International Family Law, Policy and Practice 4.3 (Winter 2016), 31-40.Read more in our Publication of the week section (7 August 2017)

Coercion and compulsion – re-imagining crimes and defences”, Criminal Law Review Crim L.R. [2016], 12, 876-899.ISSN 0011-135X

Read more about this article in our Publication of the week section (16 November 2016)

“The strangulation of female partners”, Criminal Law Review Crim.L.R. [2015], 12, 949-966.Read more about this article in our Publication of the week section (21 December 2015)

“Farewell to Schengen: Europe with borders”, Family Law 45.11 Update Extra (2015), 1413-1415.  Read article (Jordan Publishing)

(With Martin Downes) “Brides and martyrs: Protecting children from violent extremism”, Family Law (Sep 2015), 1073-1078.
Read more about this article in our Publication of the week section (12 October 2015)

“Protecting schoolgirls from terrorism grooming”, International Journal of Family Law (2015), 3.236-248. ISBN/ISSN: Z000050712975
Read more about this article in our Publication of the week section (24 August 2015)

“‘Ethnicity’ matters in adoption and child custody”, Part 1: “Some conceptual considerations” and Part 2: “‘Ethnicity’ legally constructed“, Family Law Jan (2015), 52-58 and Feb (2015), 158-1

“The claims of culture: The Occident and the Orient in child custody”, Journal of Comparative Law  JCL 9.1 (2014), 271-295.
Read about this article in our Publication of the week section (20 October 2014)

“The genocide and terror of witchcraft accusation, persecution and related violence: an emergency situation for international human rights and domestic law”, International Journal of Family Law (December 2013), 322-330

“In defence of the defence of marital coercion”, Family Law (August 2013), 996-1002. Read abstract

“The crime of retracting a truthful statement. R v A [2012] EWCA Crim 434”, Denning Law Journal 24 (2012), 141-151.

“Silent Witness – Violence and law’s framing of silence: ‘Have you nothing to say?’”, in B. Wijma, C. Tucker & U. Engdahl (eds), Violences and silences: Shaming, blaming – and intervening (Linköping University: GEXcel Work in Progress Report vol.XIII,(2012)), 59-73. ISSN 1650-9056

“For her own good! Criming the niqab”, International Journal of Family Law (June 2012), 203-8

“The duplicity of protection – prosecuting frightened victims: an act of gender-based violence”, Journal of Criminal Law (2012) 76 JCL 29-52

“Adolescent minors: protest and perish”, Family Law (January 2012), 45-51. (9 February 2012)

“Domestic violence: not a term of art but a state of consciousness”, Family Law (November 2011), 1244-1250.
(5 December 2011)

“Anger and fear as justifiable preludes for loss of self-control”, Journal of Criminal Law 74.3 (2010), 223-241

Read more about this article in our Publications Finder (2 August 2010)

“Justice Devlin’s legacy: Duffy – a battered woman ‘caught’ in time”, Criminal Law Review [2009].12, 851-869.

“Child protection: trapped in the middle of the edge”, Family Law 39 (March 2009), 220-225

“The self-incrimination privilege in care proceedings and the criminal trial and ‘shall not be admissible in evidence’ “, Journal of Criminal Law (2009) 73 JCL 48-68

“A gap in the ring fence?” New Law Journal 158, Issue 7303 (11 January 2008), 51-54

“Shenfield, Barbara”, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography online, January (2008)

“Descent into murder – provocation’s stricture – the prognosis for women who kill men who abuse them”, Journal of Criminal Law 71.4 (August 2007), 342-361

“Imagining Islam … of meaning and metaphor symbolising the jilbab – R (Begum) v Headteacher and Governors of Denbigh High School”, Child & Family Law Quarterly 19.2 (June 2007), 247-268. ISBN/ISSN: Z000050712886

“Disclosure: sacrificing the privilege of self-incrimination for the greater good of child protection?” Family Law 37 (2007), 510-516.

“Sealing one’s own fate – disclosure of documents in care proceedings – on the trail to the abrogation of a fair trial”, Child and Family Law Quarterly 16.2 (April 2005). ISBN/ISSN: Z000050712886

“Division of assets and fairness – ‘Brick Lane’ – gender, culture and ancillary relief on divorce”, Family Law (November 2004), 809-814

“Abolishing provocation and reframing self-defence – the Law Commission’s options for reform”, Criminal Law Review (March 2004), 181-197


Check out “‘We do not consent to die’: Stop this sadistic ‘defence’ by misogynists with Susan Edwards (18 May 2020)” from British Sociological Association on Vimeo. The video is available for your viewing pleasure at https://vimeo.com/425940586

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