Thom Brooks

Thom Brooks is an experienced academic, columnist and senior policy advisor. He is an award winning author and teacher that regularly appears on television, radio and in print media, including BBC One, BBC News, BBC World Service, CNN, ITV, Sky News, Al Jazeera, RT, BBC Radio 4, BBC Radio 5 Live, The Economist, all major UK newspapers and many others. His research interests are in ethics, law and public policy.

Brooks - Durham Law School

Brooks is an immigration law and policy specialist with wide-ranging expertise. He is the leading expert on the Life in the UK citizenship test and the author of the only comprehensive report examining it (brief, report, video). The report is frequently highlighted in Parliamentary debates and noted in the media worldwide.

He has developed innovative work on punishment and restorative justice, including his award winning book Punishment (2012) launched in the Houses of Parliament that develops a new theory — the “unified theory” of punishment — identified by Research Councils UK as one of the top 100 Big Ideas for the Future in British universities. Brooks has pioneered a new “punitive restoration” approach to better embed restorative justice into the criminal justice system. His is a member of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) North East Community Involvement Panel. Brooks’s work on jury trials is cited in U.S. v Polizzi (E.D.N.Y. 2008).

Brooks is active in the UK’s Labour Party and British politics. He is quoted in Labour’s recent policy commission that led to its 2015 campaign manifesto and he advises on criminal justice policy, immigration policy and other areas. Brooks leads communications for Phil Wilson MP in the Sedgefield constituency, a seat previously held by Prime Minister Tony Blair, and the Sedgefield Constituency Labour Party since 2015. He is cited successfully arguing for a change in the EU referendum question originally selected by the UK government which the Electoral Commission accepted.


Brooks is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Science, the Royal Historical Society, the Royal Society of Arts and the Higher Education Academy. He was invited for inclusion in Debrett’s People of Today for its 2016 edition. He won a Faculty Award for Outstanding Contribution to Media from Durham University in 2013 and Lecturer of the Year for his faculty from Durham University’s Student Union in 2014, Law Teacher of the Year from Durham Law School in 2015, Inspirational Academic Award from Durham Students’ Union and shortlisted for Law Teacher of the Year from the Northern Law Awards in 2015. His book Punishment was named ‘Book of the Month’ by the European Sociological Association.

Thom Brooks is Professor of Law and Government at Durham Law School and an Associate Member in Philosophy at Durham University. He has held visiting appointments at the University of Oxford, University of St Andrews and Uppsala University. Brooks will be a visiting fellow at Yale University’s Law School this autumn and taught previously at Newcastle University. Brooks writes a column on Westminster politics for The Journal newspaper and regularly contributes to LabourList. He is the founding editor of the Journal of Moral Philosophy.

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His publications cover topics including alcohol policy, behavioural economics and ‘nudges’, British politics, capabilities approach, citizenship, climate change, constitutional law, criminal law, criminal justice, democracy, international affairs, immigration, jury trial, just war theory, leadership, political strategy, restorative justice, sentencing, shame punishment and strategic communication. Brooks writes widely on philosophy, including historical figures (Plato, Kant, Hegel, British Idealism) and contemporary debates with special interests in jurisprudence and political philosophy and the work of Dworkin, Nussbaum, Rawls and Sen.

Curriculum vitae is available upon request.


Durham Law School, Durham University, Durham DH1 3LE, United Kingdom
Email: thom.brooks at
Follow on Twitter: @thom_brooks
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