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Durham University

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Professor Clare McGlynn, QC (Hon)

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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

Research Projects

Durham Law School

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

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.

Edited book

Journal Article

Newspaper/Magazine Article

Other (Print)


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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


Selected Grants

  • 2019: The #metoo Momentum And Its Aftermath: Digital Justice Seeking And Societal And Legal Responses (£56115.45 from )
  • 2017: Revenge Pornography - The implications for law reform (£15059.74 from Australian Research Council)
  • 2016: Australian Research Council: The legal implications of 'revenge pornography'
  • 2011: Reforming Pornography Law: liberal justifications (2011, Leverhulme Research Fellowship)
  • 2011: Reforming Pornography Law: liberal justifications (Leverhulme Research Fellowship)
  • 2009: ESRC Feminist Judgments Project (with Hunter and Rackley)
  • 2008: RETHINKING RAPE LAW (£4472.00 from The British Academy)
  • 2008: THE FEMINIST JUDGMENTS PROJECT (£37480.00 from ESRC)
  • 2007: Positions on the Politics of Porn (2007, Socio-Legal Studies Association)
  • 2003: European Family Values: law, politics and pluralism (AHRC)