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Thom Brooks

Thom Brooks is an award-winning author, broadcaster, columnist and senior policy advisor.  He appears frequently on television, radio and in print media, including BBC One, BBC Two (‘Newsnight’), BBC News, BBC World ServiceCNN, ITV, Channel 5Sky News, Al Jazeera, ABC News 24Deutsche Welle, France 24, RT, WTNHBBC Radio 4 (with Andrew Marr), BBC 5 Live, The Economist, all major UK newspapers and many others including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post with 700+ media appearances including 210 media appearances in 2016. He has co-hosted programmes on immigration as well as British and American politics.  Brooks writes columns for Daily Telegraph, i news, Sunday ExpressFabian Review, The JournalLabourListNew Statesman, Northern Echo and others with 2017 media appearances found here. His research interests are in ethics, law and public policy.

As Head of Durham Law School, he is leading the biggest growth in the School’s 50 year history as academic staff numbers increase from 42 to 75 over the next decade – building new critical mass, improving our research capacities, reducing our staff-student ratio and retaining the tutorial and seminar teaching at the heart of our programmes delivering an excellent student experience. Durham ranked 3rd in the most recent Research Excellence Framework exercise for Law in the UK. In 2017, Durham Law School achieved 40th in QS World Rankings – the School’s best result. See details on interactive CV.

Brooks is an immigration law and policy specialist with wide-ranging expertise. He is the leading expert on Britain’s 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. His latest book is Becoming British published by Biteback.

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 research on capital punishment is quoted approvingly by the Connecticut Supreme Court in support of the watershed case State v. Santiago (Santiago II), 318 Conn. 1, 105 (2015) abolishing the death penalty in his native state of Connecticut.  Brooks 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 policy commission that led to its 2015 campaign manifesto and he advises on criminal justice policy, immigration policy and other areas. Brooks is communications lead 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.

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Brooks is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Science (FAcSS), the Royal Historical Society (FRHisS), the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA) and the Higher Education Academy (FHEA). 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, Durham University’s Excellence in Learning and Teaching Award in 2016, runner-up for the 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. Brooks is the recipient of the 2017 Distinguished Alumnus Award from Arizona State University’s School of Politics and Global Studies.

Thom Brooks is Professor of Law and Government and the Head of School at Durham Law School and an Associate Member in Department of Philosophy and Professor in School of Government and International Affairs at Durham University. He has held visiting appointments at the University of Oxford, University of St Andrews, Uppsala University and Yale Law School at Yale University. Brooks taught previously at Newcastle University.

Brooks - AJ Inside Story 21

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. His work has also been used to classify whiskey.

Curriculum vitae (interactive) is available upon request.


Prof Thom Brooks AcSS FHEA FRHisS FRSA
Head of School, Durham Law School
Durham University
Durham, DH1 3LE
United Kingdom
Email: thom.brooks at durham.ac.uk
Follow on Twitter: @thom_brooks