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Professor Penny Darbyshire

Professor, School of Law, Kingston University.

Professor Penny  Darbyshire Areas of expertise

Find out more about Professor Penny Darbyshire


Professor Darbyshire has a first degree in law, a master's degree in criminology and a Ph.D. in socio-legal studies. She is particularly interested in the English legal system and criminal justice, especially judges, magistrates, magistrates' clerks, juries, and plea bargaining. 

Professor Darbyshire teaches about the English legal system, legal method and criminal justice, and she is the author of two books on the subject. "Sitting in Judgement - the Working Lives of Judges" was published in September 2011. Professor Darbyshire was given unprecedented access to the whole range of courts - from magistrates' courts to the Supreme Court. She spent seven years researching the judges, accompanying them in their daily work, listening to their conversations, observing their handling of cases and the people who come before them, and asking them frank and searching questions about their lives, careers and ambitions. What emerges has been described as the most revealing and compelling picture of the modern judiciary in England and Wales ever seen.

She is also the author of "Darbyshire on the English Legal System" (10th edition), an engaging, thought-provoking and highly readable introduction to the contemporary legal system of England and Wales.





Year gained Subject
1978 Ph.D Socio-legal studies.
1975 Masters Degree, Criminology.
1974 BA, Law.

Career Highlights

Year Position held
1997 - Adjunct associate professor, University of Notre Dame, London Law Centre.
1992-1993 Visiting lecturer, University of California.
1978 - lecturer, senior lecturer and reader, Kingston University.



"Darbyshire on the English Legal System" (Sweet & Maxwell), 10th edition, September 2011.

"Sitting in Judgement - The Working Lives of Judges" (Hart Publishing), September 2011.


Darbyshire, Penny (2007) Where do English and Welsh judges come from? The Cambridge Law Journal, 66(2), pp. 365-388. ISSN (print) 0008-1973

Darbyshire, Penny (2006) Cameos from the world of district judges. Journal of Criminal Law, 70(5), pp. 443-457. ISSN (print) 0022-0183

Darbyshire, Penny (2002) Magistrates. In: McConville, Mike and Wilson, Geoffrey, (eds.) The handbook of the criminal justice process. Oxford : Oxford University Press. pp. 285-309. ISBN 0199253951

Darbyshire, Penny , Maughan, Andy and Stewart, Angus (2002) What can the English Legal System learn from jury research published up to 2001? (Other) Kingston upon Thames, Surrey, U.K. : Kingston Business School/Kingston Law School, Kingston University. 90 p.

Professional Body Membership

The Socio-Legal Studies Association.
The Society of Legal Scholars.
Liberal Democrat Lawyers Association.
The Society of Authors.

Contact us

General enquiries:

Journalists only:

  • Communications team
    Tel: +44 (0)20 8417 3034
    Email us

Contact us

General enquiries:

Journalists only:

  • Communications team
    Tel: +44 (0)20 8417 3034
    Email us