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Durham Law School

Staff Profiles

Professor Lorna Fox O'Mahony, LLB, PhD, PGCHET

Professor in Durham Law School
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 33 42798
Fax: +44 (0) 191 33 42801
Room number: PCL219
Member of the Human Rights Centre

Research Students

Professor Fox O'Mahony is happy to discuss proposals with those interested in studying for an MJur or PhD in doctrinal, theoretical or socio-legal aspects of property law.  Please read the information here and feel free to contact her directly to arrange for advice on your draft proposal.

Biography

Lorna Fox O’Mahony is Professor of Law at Durham Law School. Lorna’s research applies policy-oriented, socio-legal and theoretical analyses to a range of property issues. Recent projects have included the role of cross-disciplinary and interdisciplinary research into home meanings for creditor possession actions; feminist perspectives on the meaning of home; social and moral aspects of legal regulation of unlawful occupation; the role of the legal concept of home in analysing law’s responses to the use of home equity by elderly homeowners and other financial transactions affecting the owned home; and socio-legal perspectives on the exclusion of asylum seekers and failed asylum seekers from housing and home. 

Lorna’s work on the development of a legal concept of home is often cited as laying the foundations for new approaches to the idea of home in law, including giving content to rights to housing and home. Her first book, ‘Conceptualising Home: Theories, Laws and Policies’ (2006, Hart Publishing), which applies an inter-disciplinary socio-legal analysis to re-consider law’s response to disputes between secured creditors and the occupiers of domestic property in the contexts of repossession, foreclosure and bankruptcy, was awarded First Prize in the Society of Legal Scholars’ Birks Prizes for Outstanding Legal Scholarship (2007), and was short-listed for the Socio-Legal Studies Association Book Prize (2008).  Her new monograph, 'Home Equity and Ageing Owners: Between Risk and Regulation' (http://www.hartpublishing.co.uk/books/details.asp?isbn=9781849460071) explores the growing phenomenon of home equity use by older owners from a socio-legal perspective, through the sensitising framework of risk.  Lorna is co-investigator on a 3 year (2011-2014) Leverhulme Research Programme Grant (Intergenerational Justice), entitled 'Mind the (Housing) Wealth Gap: Intergenerational Justice and Family Welfare (£732,417), with colleagues from St Andrews University and Birmingham University (RP2011-IJ-024).  Within the project, Lorna leads a workstream exploring the effect of regulation on older consumers taking out targeted equity release products.  Follow this research at http://wealthgap.wp.st-andrews.ac.uk/; like us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/WealthGap; or follow us on twitter @Wealth_Gap.

Lorna is Associate Editor-in-Chief of the seven-volume International Encyclopaedia of Housing and Home (Elsevier Publishing, 2012), co-author of Great Debates in Property Law (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012), and co-editor of The Idea of Home in Law: Displacement and Dispossession (Ashgate, Law, Property and Society series, 2010) (with JA Sweeney) and Unconscionability in European Private Financial Transactions: Protecting the Vulnerable (Cambridge University Press, 2010) (with M Kenny & J Devenney). She has interned at the United States District Court, Los Angeles, USA; been a visiting scholar at Cornell Law School, Cornell University, USA, the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies, University of Oxford, UK, and Stellenbosch University, South Africa; a consultant to the Office of Law Reform (NI); and presented expert evidence on housing rights for inner-city tenants in Belfast (www.pprproject.org) and Dublin (www.canaction.ie).  

Lorna is Chair of the Board of Directors of the Association of Law, Property and Society (http://www.alps.syr.edu/).  She is a representative of JASB (the Joint Academic Standards Board of the Law Society for England and Wales and the Bar Standards Board), an Institutional Reviewer for the QAA (Quality Assurance Agency), and a member of the Law sub-panel for REF 2014 (Research Excellence Framework).  She served a three year term from 2007 as Deputy Head of the Faculty of Social Sciences and Health, with particular responsibility for undergraduates.  Lorna is an elected member of University Senate and the Academic Electoral Assembly Standing Committee, and Chair of Collingwood College Council (http://www.dur.ac.uk/collingwood/).  She has two sons, born in 2009 and 2012. 

Teaching Areas

Land law
Trusts and Equity

Research Interests

  • Financial transactions and older people
  • Socio-legal analysis of property law
  • Legal concept of home
  • Squatters and adverse possession
  • Trusts of the family home
  • Law and the emotions
  • Creditor possession actions

Selected Publications

Books: authored

Books: edited

Edited sources

  • Smith, SJ. Elsinga, M. Fox O’Mahony, Lorna., Ong, SE. & Wachter, S. (2011). The International Encyclopedia of Housing and Home. Elsevier.

Essays in edited volumes

Journal papers: academic

Show all publications

Related Links

Supervises