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Durham Law School

Staff Profiles

Mr David O'Mahony, MPhil, MA, B.Soc.Sc.

Telephone: +44 (0) 191 33 42815
Fax: +44 (0) 191 33 42801
Room number: PCL217
Member of the Human Rights Centre


David O'Mahony is Reader at Durham Law School and Director of the Centre for Criminal Law and Criminal Justice. His research focuses on the meaning of ‘justice’ in the context of criminal justice systems, with particular sensitivity to the rights of young people; and the use of restorative justice and alternative ways of responding to crime, based on analyses of the needs of victims, communities and offenders. David’s research has applied a range of empirical methods to explore concepts of justice, rights and participation in criminal justice. This work has informed his development of a distinctive critical theory of restorative justice and its application in criminal justice systems. He is co-author of the monograph Restorative Justice and Criminal Justice: Theory, Law and Practice (Hart Publishing, forthcoming 2013), and current projects include research applying restorative justice perspectives to the criminalisation of squatting in England and Wales and theorising the role of restorative justice within criminal justice.

David has published widely in the areas of criminal justice, youth justice, restorative justice and transitional justice. This research has directly impacted on the reform of criminal justice in several jurisdictions. He has conducted a national evaluation of the youth justice system in England and Wales for the Home Office, and was commissioned by the Criminal Justice Review Group, set up after the ‘Good Friday/Belfast’ Agreement, to conduct a fundamental review of Juvenile Justice in Northern Ireland. This research was published as ‘Juvenile Crime and Justice’ (Criminal Justice Review Group Research Report 17, London: HMSO, 2000) and led to the enactment of the Justice (NI) Act 2002, which established the first mainstreamed restorative youth conferencing system in Europe. His study of the use of restorative practices for dealing with young offenders, using a large-scale quantitative analysis and qualitative observations of police practice, led to the adoption of new police cautioning procedures.

David has been successful in securing funding from a wide range of sources, including the Northern Ireland Office, the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform (Ireland), the British Council, the Criminal Justice Review Group, the Police Authority for Northern Ireland, the Probation Board, the National Commission on Restorative Justice and the Home Office.

David started his academic career at the Institute of Criminology, Cambridge University, and has taught at University College London, Birkbeck, the Open University and Queen’s University, Belfast. He has held a fully funded visiting research fellowship at Cornell Law School, USA under the ‘Gender, Sexuality and the Family: Expanding International Human Rights Norms’ programme. He is a member of the editorial board for the journal 'Youth Justice', and a member of the Northern Ireland Crime Prevention Panel and the Restorative Justice Working Group. His teaching interests include the legal regulation of young people, restorative justice, crime and social control, and legal and social research methods. He is module convener of Crime and Social Control, and Legal Skills. David has held several major administrative posts within the Law School, including Director of Education, and is currently Director of Undergraduate Studies in Law.

Research Supervision

Ms Elizabeth McClory (PhD Student)

Mr Adeniyi O Olayode (PhD Student)

Ms Kelly Stockdale (PhD Student)

Teaching Areas

Legal Skills
Crime and Social Control

Research Interests

  • Criminology and Criminal Justice
  • Legal Regulation of Young People
  • Restorative Justice and Transitional Justice
  • Legal and Social Research Methods

Selected Publications

Books: authored

Books: edited

Books: sections

Journal papers: academic

Reports: official

Show all publications