A mock court scene at UWE Bristol

Criminal Justice Research Unit

The Criminal Justice Research Unit (CJRU) is a forum for research into criminal justice law, policy, practice and reform.

Engaging with the world outside academia is vital to our work. Our members are involved in consultancy or liaison work with the police and the judicial system, offering training and evaluation of their working practices. We host seminars and conferences where some of criminal justice's leading players are brought together. Our members are frequently called upon by government, charities and the media for their expertise on a broad range of important issues.

Our members work across an array of subjects with regional, national and international significance, from the rights of criminal defendants, and human trafficking, to sexual violence and victim support. Our research informs teaching across UWE Bristol's courses, and students are also engaged in our research. For example, in 2016 a number of undergraduate students helped prepare a review of law and research for Somerset & Avon Rape & Sexual Abuse Support.

One example of our work’s real-world impact comes from research carried out by UWE Bristol's Professor Ed Cape and Dr Tom Smith. Their findings about pre-trial detention led to changes at a European level, allowing defendants and their representatives more time to work on their cases before trials.

Transnational organised crime (TOC) is seen as a threat to global security, and another area where our research makes us a leading player. One aspect of Dr Mary Young's work, that sees tax evasion as organised crime, has seen her attend UN conferences and discuss the matter on the BBC and in the Wall Street Journal. We are also running a project to evaluate the US' efforts to combat TOC since the late 1990s.

Through Professor Phil Rumney, we have evaluated Avon and Somerset Constabulary's victim and witness care service, and co-organised (with Dr Kieran McCartan) training days and public engagement events for the police, lawyers, social workers, probation officers and the voluntary sector.

The CJRU is also home to the Sexual Violence Research Network (SVRN), which provides an educational resource for professionals, charities, support groups, scholars and students with an interest in the criminal justice process, and specifically, the victims and perpetrators of sexual violence.

Everything we do is tailored towards practical, real-world experience that benefits both the Unit and our partners outside education.

Read our Criminal Procedure Rules case study

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