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Durham University

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Staff Profile

Professor Clare McGlynn, QC (Hon)

Personal web page

Professor in Durham Law School
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 33 42837
Fax: +44 (0) 191 33 42801
Room number: PCL118

Contact Professor Clare McGlynn (email at


Clare McGlynn is a Professor of Law with particular expertise in the legal regulation of pornography, image-based sexual abuse (including ‘revenge porn’ and 'upskirting') and sexual violence. She qualified as a solicitor with City firm Herbert Smith Freehills and in 2020 was appointed an Honorary QC in recognition of her work championing equality for women in the legal profession and shaping new criminal laws on extreme pornography and image-based sexual abuse including 'upskirting' and 'revenge porn'.

She has held a Chair in Law at Durham Univerity since 2004 and has served as Deputy Head of the Law School and Deputy Head of the Faculty of Social Sciences (Research) from 2012-2015 when she had specific responsibility for diversity & equality, research strategy and the Research Excellence Framework (REF2014). She was a member of the University’s Taskforce on Sexual Violence , a member of the University’s governing body, University Council from 2014-2018 and from 2015-2019 the Director of the University's ESRC Impact Acceleration Account which provides funding and support for research impact across the social sciences. She has been appointed to the REF2021 Law Assessment Panel.

Image-based sexual abuse: Clare’s research (with Erika Rackley) developed the concept of image-based sexual abuse which better explains the nature and extent of the harms of all forms of non-consensual taking and/or sharing of private sexual images (including ‘revenge porn’ and 'upskirting'). Her research recommends specific laws to combat this phenomenon which recognise women’s rights to privacy, dignity and sexual expression and extend to cover practices such as ‘upskirting’. Working closely with politicians, policy-makers and voluntary organisations, her research has played a key role in national debates and law reform campaigns. She gave evidence before the Scottish Justice Committee on proposed reforms in Scotland, as well as before the Women & Equalities Select Committee recommending urgent reform to laws on ‘upskirting’. She has given presentations to academics and policy-makers on these issues across Europe and Australia, and she is regularly cited in national policy debates and media. She also works with tech companies, recently being invited by Facebook to present her research findings to its Global Safety team at their HQ in San Francisco. 

Justice for Sexual Violence Survivors: Clare has investigated (with Nicole Westmarland) the possibilities of restorative justice in cases of sexual violence, as well as for domestic abuse. They have worked closely with sexual violence survivors to better understand their perspectives on justice, developing the concept of kaleidoscopic justice. Clare’s earlier work on sexual violence focused on feminist activism and strategy, particularly around the granting of anonymity to rape defendants and the definition of torture in human rights law. Her British Academy funded conference Rethinking Rape Law resulted in the publication of Rethinking Rape Law: international and comparative perspectives (co-edited with Munro).

Sexual History Evidence in Rape Trials: Clare’s research has identified the flaws with the current laws on sexual history evidence in sexual offence trials. Her blog and policy briefing set out how the law can and should be reformed.

Regulating Extreme Pornography: Clare’s research (with Erika Rackley) justifies the criminalisation of some forms of extreme pornography on the basis of its cultural harm. This research influenced law reform campaigns, including (‘ban Rape Porn’), which led to new criminal laws in England & Wales and Scotland. The impact of Clare’s research in this field was recognised as world-leading (4*) in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (read the full case study here). Her work has been widely debated including in The Guardian, the Observer, the Independent and on the BBC. Clare has discussed this research on the BBC’s Woman’s Hour and Law in Action (see also research briefing). Her research advances liberal justifications for pornography regulation and has been funded by a Leverhulme Research Fellowship.

Research Groups

Department of Sociology

Durham Law School

  • Gender & Law at Durham

Research Projects

Durham Law School

  • Grants

Research Interests

  • Image-based sexual abuse ('revenge porn')
  • Rape law and policy
  • Restorative Justice and Sexual Violence
  • Feminist Judgments and women in the legal profession
  • Legal Regulation of Pornography

Selected Publications

Authored book

  • Henry, N., McGlynn, C., Flynn, A., Johnson, K. , Powell, A. & Scott, A. (2020). Image-Based Sexual Abuse: A Study on the Causes and Consequences of Non-Consensual Nude or Sexual Imagery. Routledge.
  • McGlynn, C. M. S. (2006). Families and the European Union: law, politics and pluralism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • McGlynn, C.M.S. (1998). The Woman Lawyer - making the difference. London: Butterworths.

Edited book

  • Hunter, Rosemary. McGlynn, Clare. & Rackley, Erika. (2010). Feminist Judgments: From Theory to Practice. Oxford: Hart Publishing.
  • McGlynn, Clare. and & Munro, Vanessa. (2010). Rethinking Rape Law: international and comparative perspectives. London: Routledge.
  • McGlynn, C. (1998). Legal Feminisms: theory and practice. Ashgate.

Chapter in book

  • Vera-Gray, F. & McGlynn, C. (2020). 'Regulating pornography: Developments in evidence, theory, and law'. In Research Handbook on Gender, Sexuality, and Law. Ashford, C. & Maine, A. Edward Elgar. 471-483.
  • McGlynn, C., Downes, J. & Westmarland, N. (2017). Seeking Justice for Survivors of Sexual Violence: recognition, voice and consequences. In Restorative Responses to Sexual Violence: Legal, Social and Therapeutic Dimensions. Zinsstag, E. & Keenan, M. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge. 179-191.
  • McGlynn, C (2010). Feminist activism and rape law reform in England and Wales: a Sisyphean struggle? In Rethinking Rape Law: international and comparative perspectives. McGlynn, Clare & Munro, Vanessa London: Routledge. 139-153.
  • Hunter, Rosemary McGlynn, Clare & Rackley, Erika (2010). Feminist Judgments: An Introduction. In Feminist Judgments: From Theory to Practice. Hunter, Rosemary McGlynn, Clare & Rackley, Erika Oxford: Hart Publishing. 3-29.
  • McGlynn, C (2010). Marginalizing feminism: debating extreme pornography laws in public and policy discourse. In Everyday Pornography. Boyle, Karen London: Routledge. 190-202.
  • McGlynn, C (2010). R v A (no 2): a feminist judgment. In Feminist Judgments: from theory to practice. Hunter, R., McGlynn, C. & Rackley, E. Oxford: Hart. 211-227.
  • McGlynn, Clare (2007). Families and European Union Law. In Family Life and the Law: under one roof. Probert, R Aldershot: Ashgate.
  • McGlynn, C.M.S. (2005). Reconciling Work and Family: the EU Agenda. In (Re)Producing Work: Labour Law and the Work/Family Divide. Conaghan J & Rittich Oxford University Press.
  • McGlynn, C.M.S. (2003). Challenging the European Harmonisation of Family Law: perspectives on 'the family'. In Perspectives for the Unification and Harmonisation of Family in Europe. Boeli-Woelki K Antwerp: Intersentia. 219-238.
  • McGlynn, C.M.S. (2002). Strategies for Reforming the English Solicitors' profession: An Analysis of the Business Case for Sex Equality. In Women in the World's Legal Professions. Schultz U & Shaw G Hart.
  • McGlynn, C.M.S. (2002). The Status of Women Lawyers in the United Kingdom. In Schultz U & Shaw G Hart.
  • McGlynn, C.M.S. (2001). EC Legislation Prohibiting Age Discrimination: Towards a Europe for All Ages? In The Cambridge Yearbook of European Legal Studies. Dashwood A, Spencer J, Ward A & Hillion C Hart. 3: 279-299.
  • McGlynn, C.M.S. (2001). Pregnancy Discrimination in EU Law. In Legal Perspectives on Equal Treatment and Non-Discrimination. Numhauser-Henning A Kluwer. 205-215.
  • McGlynn, C (1996). EC Sex Equality Law: Towards a Human Rights Foundation. In Sex Equality Law in the European Union. Hervey, T & O’Keeffe, D London: John Wiley. 239-252.

Journal Article

  • McGlynn, Clare & Johnson, Kelly (Published). Criminalising cyberflashing: options for law reform. Journal of Criminal Law
  • McGlynn, Clare, Johnson, Kelly, Rackley, Erika, Henry, Nicola, Gavey, Nicola, Flynn, Asher & Powell, Anastasia (2020). ‘It’s torture for the soul’ The Harms of Image-Based Sexual Abuse. Social & Legal Studies
  • Eaton, Asia E & McGlynn, Clare (2020). The psychology of nonconsensual porn: Understanding and addressing a growing form of sexual violence. Policy Insights from the Behavioral and Brain Sciences 7(2): 190-197.
  • McGlynn, Clare & Westmarland, Nicole (2019). Kaleidoscopic Justice: Sexual Violence and Victim-Survivors’ Perceptions of Justice. Social and Legal Studies 28(2): 179-201.
  • McGlynn, Clare & Bows, Hannah (2019). Possessing Extreme Pornography: policing, prosecutions and the need for reform. Journal of Criminal Law 83(6): 473-488.
  • McGlynn, Clare (2018). Challenging the law on sexual history evidence: a response to Dent and Paul. Criminal Law Review 2018(3): 216-228.
  • McGlynn, Clare, Westmarland, Nicole & Johnson, Kelly (2018). Under the radar: the widespread use of 'Out of Court resolutions' in policing domestic violence and abuse in the United Kingdom. British journal of criminology 58(1): 1-16.
  • Westmarland, N., McGlynn, C. & Humphreys, C. (2018). Using restorative justice approaches to police domestic violence and abuse. Journal of Gender-Based Violence 2(2): 339-358.
  • McGlynn, Clare, Rackley, Erika & Houghton, Ruth (2017). Beyond 'Revenge Porn': The Continuum of Image-Based Sexual Abuse. Feminist legal studies 25(1): 25-46.
  • McGlynn, Clare & Rackley, Erika (2017). Image-Based Sexual Abuse. Oxford Journal of Legal Studies 37(3): 534-561.
  • McGlynn, Clare & Rackley, Erika (2017). More than ‘Revenge Porn’ Image-Based Sexual Abuse and the Reform of Irish Law. Irish Probation Journal 14: 38-51.
  • McGlynn, Clare (2017). Rape Trials and Sexual History Evidence: reforming the law on third party evidence. Journal of Criminal Law 81(5): 367-392.
  • Ward, Ian & McGlynn, Clare (2016). Women, Law and John Stuart Mill. Women's History Review 25(2): 227-253.
  • McGlynn, C. & Ward, I. (2014). Would John Stuart Mill have Regulated Pornography? Journal of Law and Society 41(4): 500-522.
  • Rackley, Erika & McGlynn, Clare (2013). Prosecuting the Possession of Extreme Pornography: A Misunderstood and Misused Law. Criminal Law Review (5): 400-405.
  • McGlynn, Clare, Westmarland, Nicole & Godden, Nikki (2012). "I just wanted him to hear me": sexual violence and the possibilities of restorative justice. Journal of Law and Society 39(2): 213-240.
  • McGlynn, Clare (2012). John Stuart Mill on Prostitution: Radical Sentiments, Liberal Proscriptions. Nineteenth-Century Gender Studies 8(2).
  • McGlynn, C (2011). Feminism, Rape and the Search for Justice. Oxford Journal of Legal Studies 31(4): 825-842.
  • McGlynn, C (2011). Rape, Defendant Anonymity and Human Rights: adopting a "wider perspective". Criminal Law Review (3): 199-215.
  • McGlynn, Clare. & Rackley, Erika. (2009). Criminalising Extreme Pornography: A Lost Opportunity. Criminal Law Review (4): 245-260.
  • McGlynn, Clare., Rackley, Erika. & Ward, Ian. (2009). Judging Destricted. King’s Law Journal 20(1): 53-67.
  • McGlynn, Clare. & Ward, Ian. (2009). Pornography, Pragmatism and Proscription. Journal of Law and Society 36(3): 327-351.
  • McGlynn, Clare. (2009). Rape, Torture and the European Convention on Human Rights. International and Comparative Law Quarterly 58(3): 565-595.
  • McGlynn, Clare (2008). Rape as “Torture”? Catharine MacKinnon and Questions of Feminist Strategy. Feminist Legal Studies 16(1): 71-85.
  • McGlynn, Clare & Rackley, Erika (2007). Striking a Balance: Arguments for the Criminal Regulation of Extreme Pornography. Criminal Law Review 677-690.
  • McGlynn, Clare & Rackley, Erika (2007). The Politics of Porn New Law Journal 1142-1143.
  • McGlynn, C. M. S. (2006). Families, Partnerships and Law Reform in the European Union: balancing disciplinarity and liberalisation. Modern Law Review 69(1): 92-107.
  • McGlynn C.M.S. (2005). Family Reunion and the Free Movement of Persons in European Union Law. International Law FORUM du droit international 7(3).
  • McGlynn, C.M.S. (2002). Rights for Children: the potential impact of the European Union Charter of Fundamental Rights. European Public Law 8(3): 387-400.
  • McGlynn, C.M.S. (2001). ‘European Union Family Values: Ideologies of ‘Family’ and ‘Motherhood’ in European Union Law’. Social Politics 8: 325-350.
  • McGlynn, C. M. S. (2001). Families and the European Charter of Fundamental Rights: Progressive Change or Entrenching the Status Quo? European Law Review 26(6): 582-598.
  • McGlynn, C. M. S. (2001). Reclaiming a Feminist Vision: The Reconciliation of Paid Work and Family Life in European Union Law and Policy. Columbia Journal of European Law 7(2): 241-272.
  • McGlynn, C.M.S. (2001). The Europeanisation of Family Law. Child and Family Law Quarterly 13(1): 35-49.
  • McGlynn, C.M.S. (2000). Ideologies of Motherhood in European Community Sex Equality Law. European Law Journal 6: 29-44.
  • McGlynn, C.M.S. (2000). Pregnancy, Parenthood and the Court of Justice in Abdoulaye. European Law Review 25: 654-662.
  • McGlynn, C.M.S. (2000). The Business of Equality in the Solicitors' Profession. Modern Law Review 63: 442-456.
  • McGlynn, C.M.S. (1999). Women, Representation and the Legal Academy. Legal Studies 19: 68-92.
  • McGlynn, C.M.S. (1998). An Exercise in Futility: the practical effects of the social policy opt-out. Northern Ireland Legal Quarterly 49: 60-73.
  • McGlynn, C.M.S. (1996). Equality, Maternity and Questions of Pay. European Law Review 21: 327-332.
  • McGlynn, C.M.S. (1996). Pregnancy Dismissals and the Webb Litigation. Feminist Legal Studies 4: 229-242.
  • McGlynn, C.M.S. (1995). European Works Council: Towards Industrial Democracy? Industrial Law Journal 24: 78-84.
  • McGlynn, C.M.S. (1995). Re-writing the Corporate Constitution. Journal of Business Law 858-590.
  • McGlynn, C.M.S. (1994). The Constitution of the Company: Mandatory Statutory Provisions v Private Agreements. Company Law 10: 301-307.

Newspaper/Magazine Article

  • McGlynn, C. (2018). The law must protect all victims of image-based sexual abuse, not just 'upskirting'. Huffington Post
  • McGlynn, Clare (2018). The Upskirting Bill Must Focus On Victims, Not Perpetrators' Motives. Huffington Post
  • McGlynn, C (2018). Why laws on sexual history evidence still need reform. Huffington Post
  • McGlynn, Clare & O'Donoghue, Aoife (2017). Policing Upskirting: it’s serious, not funny. Huffington Post
  • McGlynn, Clare & Rackley, Erika (2017). Why ‘upskirting’ needs to be made a sex crime. The Conversation
  • McGlynn, Clare & Rackley, Erika (2015). More than just 'revenge porn': tackling the misuse of private sexual images. Holyrood
  • McGlynn, Clare & Rackley, Erika (2015). New law on 'revenge porn' is 'unlikely'to tackle hackers distributing intimate images. Holyrood
  • McGlynn, Clare & Rackley, Erika (2015). The new law against 'revenge porn' is welcome, but no guarantee of success. The Conversation
  • McGlynn, Clare & Downes, Julia (2015). Why we need a new law to combat 'upskirting' and 'downblousing'. Inherently Human
  • McGlynn, Clare & Rackley, Erika (2014). The law must focus on consent when it tackles revenge porn. The Conversation
  • McGlynn, Clare & Rackley, Erika (2014). Why criminalise the possession of rape pornography? New Statesman
  • McGlynn, C (2009). Is big brother in the bedroom? No. The Scotsman (Sunday 18 January 2009 ).
  • McGlynn, C. (1998). A law unto themselves? Times higher educational supplement
  • McGlynn, C & Rubens, T (1998). Some way to go before we find equality. The Times
  • McGlynn, C (1997). The time is ripe for parental leave. The Times
  • McGlynn, C (1997). Where men still rule. The Times

Other (Print)

  • McGlynn, C, Rackley, E & Westmarland, N (2007). Positions on the Politics of Porn: a debate on Government plans to criminalise the possession of extreme pornography.


  • McGlynn, Clare, Rackley, Erika, Johnson, Kelly, Henry, Nicola, Flynn, Asher, Powell, Anastasia, Gavey, Nicola & Scott, Adrian (2019). Shattering Lives and Myths: A Report on Image-Based Sexual Abuse. Durham University; University of Kent.

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Media Contacts

Available for media contact about:

  • Law & Crime: rape law, regulation of pornography, violence against women, gender and criminal law