Public Engagement

Beyond my academic writing I also produce pieces for news outlets and respond to consultations relating to my areas of expertise.

Most recently I have responded to the Law Commission’s consultation asking which areas of law should be reviewed in their 14th programme of law reform.

The Law Commission: 14th Programme of Law Reform

Photo by Sora Shimazaki on Pexels.com

In 2021 the Law Commission asked for contributions to shape law reform priorities for the next four years. In my written response I highlight the need for a review of the criminal offence of concealment of birth. Drawing on findings from my research, I argue that the continued existence of the law and the way it is applied to cases needs urgent investigation as:

  • The offence is predominantly used when women are suspected of killing newborn children, but there is not enough evidence to convict them of a homicide offence (murder, manslaughter, or infanticide).
  • The offence is also used as a proxy for foetal homicide laws.
  • The women who are captured under this law are incredibly vulnerable, experiencing a crisis pregnancy.
  • The offence is so broad as to allow these vulnerable women to be criminalised in instances where they abandon the dead body of the baby in a panic and out of fear.
  • As the offence can be broadly applied it places all women of reproductive age at risk for over-criminalisation. The vulnerabilities experienced by those convicted of this offence are specific to women due to their ability to become pregnant. Thus, this offence demonstrates a sex-based discrimination against women.

Read my full response here.