Penny Darbyshire

Penny Darbyshire

Visiting Professor and Senior Fellow
Notre Dame London Law Program

Penny Darbyshire joined the Notre Dame London Law Program in 1996. She has taught English Legal System throughout her career and authored the textbook Darbyshire on the English Legal System for many years. She has also taught criminal justice, constitutional law, EU law and criminal law.

She worked full time at Kingston University, London from 1978-2018, with a couple of breaks. She was a visiting scholar, then lecturer, at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law in 1992 and 1993, and a visiting fellow at the University of Cambridge in 2005.

Darbyshire has researched and written on judges, juries, magistrates, criminal procedure and the U.K. Supreme Court. Her most cited recent work is Sitting in Judgment: The Working Lives of Judges (2011), reporting ten years’ empirical work, closely observing judges at work, in civil, criminal and family courts, at every level of the English legal system from district judges up to the Justices of the U.K. Supreme Court. It is a unique piece of research, worldwide. With the help of the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales and many other judges, she was given unlimited access to the courts and judiciary and to case papers and information. Darbyshire is one of only two researchers in the world to have been permitted to observe and report on appellate deliberations. The book has sold in 33 countries and was republished in China, in Chinese, in 2018.

Darbyshire likes her research to make an impact on thinking and policy and much of it has been cited in official reports, as well as in textbooks and academic books and papers. For example, she is cited in Lord Justice Leveson’s Review of Efficiency in Criminal Proceedings 2015 and was the most cited academic in Lord Justice Auld’s Criminal Courts Review 2001. Among other things, she recommended that the long lists of people ineligible for or excusable from jury service be abolished and this was done in The Criminal Justice Act 2003.