Thom Brooks is an award winning lecturer receiving the Lecturer of the Year Award in his Faculty from Durham Students’ Union in 2014, the inaugural Law Teacher of the Year Award from Durham Law School in 2015, Durham University’s Excellence in Learning and Teaching Award in 2016, Inspiring Academic Award runner-up from Durham Students’ Union in 2015 and shortlisted for the inaugural Law Teacher of the Year Award from the Northern Law Awards in 2015.
NOTE: Thom is on research leave and a fellow at Yale Law School for 2015-16 academic year
Criminal Law. Introduction to the criminal justice system; the elements of criminal liability; modes of participation; inchoate offences; defences; and the elements of selected crimes, including murder, theft, criminal damage and sex offences.
Evidence and Criminal Process. Topics covered include how objectives of criminal process are defined and achieved, the rules governing criminal procedure and evidence and consideration of wider issues in human rights and international law. Part 1: Pre-Trial Process; Part 2: The Criminal Trial (including concept of proof, right to a fair trial, role of the jury); Part 3: Sentencing (including sentencing guidelines, influence of Model Penal Code, sentencing objectives, restorative justice and alternatives to imprisonment).
Jurisprudence. Introduction to the following topics in jurisprudence and the philosophy law: (1) theories about law, including natural law, legal positivism, the pure theory of law, legal pragmatism and legal realism; (2) practical reasoning and the law; (3) key debates about the law, including the concepts of authority, legality and rights; and (4) case studies to illustrate the relation between theory and practice drawn from current legal issues.
Legal Frontiers. Law evolves. This module explores the social foundations of legal change and effective public advocacy to understand the processes of legal change and its wider social context. General lectures will introduce students to the relationship between law, society and social science; effective public advocacy; and strategic communication. The module will provide a unique opportunity for students to become engaged with the Law School’s research centres and groups as well as to develop public advocacy and socio-legal research skills to enhance student knowledge of legal sources and develop their ability to research the law at an advanced level. READ MORE (links and resources)
‘Thom Brooks is an absolute asset to the Law School. He is unfailingly enthusiastic and always endeavours to explain what at times can be convoluted ideas in as straightforward yet in-depth a manner as possible. He is fantastic’.
‘Wonderful module led by a wonderful academic. This module is clearly taught and assessed. The quality and rate of return of feedback from assessments was outstanding and it definitely makes you feel like you were Dr Brooks’s top priority. The lectures were engaging and made you want to learn more about the area’.
‘Amazing module leader. Allowed me to question things a lot more, and reason more about law’.
‘It has been the best module I have taken during my time at Durham’.
‘This has genuinely been one of the most useful and stimulating modules of this year. I have been able to exceed my own personal academic targets and have thoroughly enjoyed learning practical oral advocacy skills that will help in my career. The best aspect of this module is Prof Brooks, who cannot do enough to help students. The guest lecturers also added an extra element of expertise and interest. A great and very different module’.
‘Dr Brooks’s use of examples and illustrations—none of the theories were taught in a void; rather he gave excellent real life examples which makde everything much more useful and relevant’.
‘You can tell Prof Brooks put a lot of work into making the module interesting and relevant, and he has achieved this’.
‘Thom is so passionate about this module, his enthusiasm really rubs off on everyone else’.
‘Thom Brooks truly has a passion for the subject and really delivers great seminars that are thought provoking and enjoyable’.
‘The way the summative assessment would be assessed could not have been made clearer. I think it is fantastic that on the law degree at Durham it is possible to study a module which is concerned with the shaping of future legal policy and I feel very privileged to have been taught by someone as capable as Professor Brooks’.
‘The feedback was not only quicker than any other module I have taken, but more detailed. Professor Brooks is regularly visited by students yet ensures that the quality of his feedback, and office hours more generally, is of a high standard. More importantly, an atmosphere of interest has been cultivated that has turned this easily into one of the best modules I have taken during my degree’.
‘The module has dramatically increased my self-confidence in public speaking and taught me a lot of useful tips’.
‘The organisation and structure of the module is unrivalled – very clear and comprehensive’.
‘The topics we studied engaged us with issues that were constantly changing throughout the course, making research an extremely enjoyable process’.
Peer observations of his teaching:
‘In 16 years of Higher Education, including six years as a student and ten years as a lecturer, this was one of the best taught sessions I have witnessed. Dr Brooks is an outstanding lecturer and possesses excellent teaching skills’.
‘Professor Brooks is an excellent lecturer—lively, engaged and very popular among the student body. This lecture was compelling, I learned a lot, and time passed very quickly’.
‘Legal Frontiers is a highly innovative course that draws on research from a range of disciplines and is also of significant practical importance to Law students. Despite the complexities inherent in such a novel module, Professor Brooks ensures both a highly effective delivery of the material and an enthusiastic student response’.